Visionary and missionary, Illtud established a monastery, mission centre and school on the banks of the Ogney Brook , in the fertile Vale of Glamorgan, about the year 500.

Britain’s oldest centre of learning

Illtud’s school became famous throughout Britain, and attracted students from far and wide. The oldest centre of learning in the country, it has been described as ‘The University of the Celtic Saints’. Countless legends surround the life of Saint Illtud, but what we know for certain is that his early teachings played a significant part in helping to bring Christianity to Britain.

Close up of 'Iltu' incription on back face of Samson Cross

The oldest reference to Saint Illtud is to be found on the reverse face of the Samson Cross. On the left a rudimentary cross has been inscribed and what remains of the word ‘ILTU’ (the Latin word for Illtud).

Illtud the most learned of all the Britons

Illtud was said to be learned in the Old and New Testaments, philosophy, grammar, poetry and arithmetic, and presumably these would be taught in his school. A fascinating insight into the life of St.Illtud was provided in two lectures given by Reverend Canon Dr Patrick Thomas in May 2000 a link to the text of which is provided here.

Llanilltud – Cradle of ‘Celtic’ Christianity.