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David of Wales

This article is about the monk and patron saint of Wales. For the Old Testament ruler, see David.

c.520-589. Ascetic monk and patron saint of Wales. Of a southern Welsh princely family, he was a great founder of monasteries, including one at Mynyw in Pembrokeshire at which he lived and built up a fine library destroyed later by Scandinavian raiders. The Council of Brefi chose him as primate of Wales, but he accepted only on condition that the seat was moved from Caerleon to St. Davids. In order to strengthen his argument that the see of St. Davids was independent of Canterbury's authority, an eleventh century biographer, Rhygyfarch, fabricated the story that David then went to Jerusalem to receive episcopal consecration from the patriarch. In religious art David is depicted standing on a mound with a dove on his shoulder, a reference to the tradition that when he was speaking at the Council of Brefi a white dove rested on his shoulder and the ground below his feet rose to form a hill so that everyone could hear him speak. His connection with the leek is unknown. He was a popular saint in South Wales, Devon, Cornwall, and Brittany.