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Dafydd ab Owain , Cistercian abbot and bishop of St Asaph

Died: February 1513   

While the date of Dafydd's profession as a Cistercian monk is not now known, he was seemingly abbot of Strata Marcella from c.1480, provisor of St Bernard's College, Oxford c. 1494, abbot of Strata Florida from c.1495 and of Aberconwy from c. 1490 although perhaps not until 1501. The chronology of Dafydd's appointment to the various abbacies is, as David Williams explains, problematic, for while National Library of Wales, Peniarth MS 100, 456 claims that Dafydd was advanced from Strata Florida to Strata Marcella and continued to preside over both houses when elevated to the abbacy of Aberconwy (Maenan), it is likely that he acted as supervisor over these other houses.
On 18 December 1503 Pope Julian II (1503-13) provided Dafydd to the bishopric of St Asaph but conceded that he might retain the abbacy of Aberconwy in commendam.

Twenty-three poems by thirteen different poets are known to have been addressed to Dafydd. Nine of these were composed by Tudur Aled. Wiliam Egwad wrote of Dafydd, at that time abbot of Strata Marcella, that he was a fine preacher and Latinist, a charitable man of stature and not least, had a rich cellar of foreign wines which made Aberconwy famous for its fine wines. Indeed the poets generally paid tribute to Dafydd's generous hospitality, his learning and chiefly the building work he accomplished at Aberconwy. More than eight 'cywyddau gofyn' survive requesting gifts of horses from Dafydd as abbot of Aberconwy.

Sites associated with this person

Maenan Abbey, Conwy (abbot)

Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion (abbot)

Strata Marcella Abbey, Powys (abbot)

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

Cartwright, Jane, Feminine Sanctity and Spirituality in Medieval Wales (University of Wales Press: Cardiff, 2008) p. 274

Web links (open in new window)

Williams, David. H., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online - Dafydd ab Owain (View website) (Subscription reqd.)