Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Daniel (d.584?)

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DANIEL, Saint, more correctly Deiniol (d. 584?), bishop of Bangor, is a Welsh saint. No contemporary account of him has descended to us, and the chronological difficulties attending the traditional mediæval account of him are exceptionally great. The tenth-century ‘Annales Cambriæ’ place his death in 584 and testify to his connection with Bangor, of which monastery he is traditionally reputed the founder, and whose church has always been dedicated to him. Other churches named after him are to be found, widely scattered throughout Wales, at Llanddeiniol in northern Cardiganshire; Llanddeiniol, or Itton, Monmouthshire; Hawarden, Flintshire; Llanuwchllyn, Merionethshire, and the chapels of Worthenbury, formerly subject to Bangor Iscoed, Flintshire, and St. Daniel's, Monktown, Pembrokeshire. The hagiographers, whose story is very doubtful, make him the son of Dunawd Vawr, the son of Pabo Post Prydain, by Deuer, daughter of Lleinawg (‘Achau y Saint’ in Cambro-British Saints, p. 266). Like very many Welsh saints he is said to have come from Ceredigion, but the great scene of his operations was in Gwynedd. He first joined his father in founding the abbey of Bangor Iscoed, and afterwards founded the Bangor Vawr on the shores of Menai, of which he was bishop and abbot. Maelgwn Gwynedd, the famous king, founded the see; Dubricius, or, as some say, David, consecrated him a bishop. He was closely associated with Dubricius and David, and along with the former persuaded the latter to quit his monastic seclusion at Tyddewi for the more arduous task of confuting the Pelagians at the famous synod of Llanddewi Brefi. He was a bard. He died in 544 and was buried at Bardsey. His festival was on 10 Dec. Many of his kinsfolk also were saints. He was one of the ‘seven happy cousins,’ who included Beino, Cawrdav, Seiriol, Danwyn, Cybi, and David himself. He was one of the ‘three holy bachelors of the isle of Britain.’ Some of his kinsfolk lived near Llanddewi Brefi under David's patronage. Cynwyl, his brother, is the reputed patron saint and founder of Cynwyl Caio, between Lampeter and Llandovery, and Cynwyl in Elvet, between Lampeter and Carmarthen, and also of Aberporth on the Cardiganshire coast. His uncle Sawyl's name is preserved in Llansawel, the parish adjoining Cynwyl Caio on the south.

Of this history it is enough to say that Dunawd, Daniel's reputed father, was flourishing after 603, the approximate date of the conference of Augustine with the British bishops (Bede, Hist. Eccles. ii. 2). Daniel cannot therefore have died in 544, and the story of the foundation of Bangor Iscoed thirty years earlier is impossible. The date of the ‘Annales Cambriæ’ (584) lessens but does not remove the difficulty. If Daniel ‘episcopus Cinngarad,’ who is said to have died in 660 (Annals of Ulster in Skene, Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 349), be the same person, the date of the Ulster chronicler would be almost as much too late as that of the Welsh writer too early.

[Ussher's Britannicarum Eccles. Antiquitates; Cressy's Church History of Britain, x. 7; W. J. Rees's Lives of Cambro-British Saints, Welsh MSS. Society, pp. 20, 111, 266, 271; Annales Cambriæ, s. a. 584; Chron. Picts and Scots; Giraldi Cambrensis Itinerarium Kambriæ in Opera, vi. 124, 170, Rolls Ser.; and especially Rice Rees's Essay on the Welsh Saints, pp. 258–260, and Dict. of Christian Biography, i. 802, which gives copious references to authorities.]

T. F. T.