Saints of the Day – Gundleus of Newport, Hermit

holy card of Saint Gladys and Saint Gundleus, artist unknown; thanks Father EugeneArticle

(also known as Gwynllyw, Woolo, Woollos)

Died c.500. Gundleus (Latin for Gwynllyw, which is Anglicized as Woolo) was a Welsh chieftain (who became Catholic so that others could pronounce his name?). Although he was the eldest, when his father died, Gundleus divided his inheritance among his six brothers. According to legend, he desired to marry Gwladys, daughter of Saint Brychan of Brecknock. When Brychan refused his daughter’s hand, Gundleus kidnapped and married her. (One aspect of the legend has King Arthur helping to defeat the pursuing Brychan and being dissuaded from capturing Gwladys for himself by two of his knights.)

Nevertheless, Gundleus and Gwladys led a riotous life, engaging in violence and banditry until their first son, Saint Cadoc, convinced them to adopt and follow a religious life together at Stow Hill near Newport (Gwent), Monmouthshire. Later he had them separate and live as hermits.

Gundleus spent his last years completely retired from the world in a solitary little dwelling near a church which he had built. He wore sackcloth, ate barley-bread strewn with ashes, and drank water. To constant prayer and contemplation he added the work of his hands. On his deathbed, Gundleus was visited by Saint Dyfrig and his own son Cadoc, who provided him with the Last Rites of the Church. There is a church dedicated to him at Newport (Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Husenbeth).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 May 2020. Web. 22 September 2021. <>