St. Collen

ByS offers two versions of Collen’s pedigree as shown in columns 2 and 3:

Gen. ByS 52 ByS G 34 ByS G 35 B. Collen
3 St. Collen St. Collen
2 St. Collen Gwennog Ethni Wyddeles Gwennog Ethni Wyddeles
1 Pedrwn Coleddog St. Melangell Coleddog Matholwch
0 Coleddog Cawrdaf [Rhicwlff] Ethni (Wyddeles) Cawrdaf
-1 Gwyn Caradog Freichfras Tudwal Tudclyd Caradog Freichfras Margred
-2 Llŷr Marini Cedig Llŷr Marini Earl of Rhydychen
-3 Einion Yrth Dyfnwal Hen
-4 Cunedda Wledig Ednyfed
-5 Macsen Wledig
-6 Llywelyn

Bartrum stated that the earlier one, shown in column 2, was probably more accurate. He reasoned that Ethni Wyddeles, the mother of Collen according to the later version, is in reality the mother of St. Melangell as indicated by ByS G 35 and ByS 53 (not shown above). Note, although Rhicwlff, the father of Melangell, was lost in ByS G 35 he is shown in ByS 53.

In fact, the later pedigree is the correct one and the B. Collen agrees with that version. The mistake that Bartrum made was to accept that the two instances of the name Ethni referred to the same person as was wrongly suggested only by the ByS G version . Evidence that they were not is provided by the Latin life. In it Melangell is said to be contemporary with Brochwel Ysgithrog, king of Powys. Bartum stated this was impossible but column 6 shows she was of gen. 1 and so the story, which explains why she became the patroness of hares, is chronologically correct.

The earlier version has confused Coleddog ap Cawdraf with Coleddog ap Gwyn who, according to triad 74, was an anheol, i.e. one who could not be expelled, of Arthur’s Court. This suggests  he may have been an earlier Coleddog than the individual in Collen’s ancestry and we may speculate that ByS 52 is referring to St. Colan of Cornwall.

The B. Collen relates a story of Collen as abbot of Glastonbury interacting with Gwyn ap Nudd. These two individuals were seperated in time by three generations which explains why the story is legendary in nature. It may be a symbolic reference to Collen removing vestiges of pagan belief from the Glastonbury area.

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