Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/52

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42 The European Sky -God.

NV^INTI, i.e. NV[d]inti. With this he compares the Breton name Nodent attested several times in De Cour- son's Cartidaire de Redon} The inference is that among the Bretons, as well as among the Welsh, persons of local importance bore a name that had come down to . them from the cult of the god Nodons. Equally remark- able is the fact that a Bishop of Llandafif in the ninth century A.D. was called Nud.^

So far we have obtained evidence of Nuada and his eponymous vicegerent from all the principal sections of the Insular Celts with one exception, viz. Cornwall. It is a priori improbable that here alone Nuada divine and Nuada human were entirely wanting. On the contrary, it might reasonably be supposed that, as the Northern Dumnonii had their Nudos Liberalis, a king who per- sonated the god, so the Southern Dumnonii, occupying Cornwall, Devon, and part of Somerset, could boast a priestly king of like repute. I incline to believe that behind St. Neot, the chief Cornish saint, lurks a man-god corresponding to Nuada. The name Neot may be merely the Anglo-Saxon spelling of an older Cornish form ; for at St. Neot's in Huntingdonshire, whither the body of the saint was transferred from Cornwall, it is pronounced Neede^ or Need^ — a pronunciation that points to an

1 Cartulaire de I'abbaye de Redon en Bretagne public par M. Aurelien de Courson Paris 1863 pp. 14, 99, 129. Nodefit appears among the'hames of witnesses to documents dating circ. 834, Apr. i 821, and 797 to 814 a.d.

^W. H. Stevenson Asser's Life of King Alfred Oxford 1904 p. 317.

^W. Camden Britannia ed. R. Gough London 1789 ii. 153.

^G. C. Gorham The History and Antiquities of Eynesbury and St. Neofs in Huntingdonshire ; and of St. Neot's in the County of Cornwall London 1820 p. 340 cites an inscription found over the cenotaph of St. Neot in the Cornish church by some workmen in Oct. 1795 : the inscription says of the town in Huntingdonshire —

' The vulgar call it no7v St. Need's.' Tokens struck for the town in the reign of Charles II have the following spellings of its name : s NEOTS, s^ NEOTES, saint neotts, saint needs (Gorham ib. p. 144 ff.).