Congar of Congresbury

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Congar
Abbot & Bishop
Born ca. 470
Llanwngar in Pembrokeshire
Died ca. 520
Jerusalem
Honored in Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion
Major shrine Congresbury, Somerset (destroyed)
Feast 27 November

Saint Congar (also Cumgar or Cungar; Welsh: Cyngar; Latin: Concarius) (c. 470–27 November 520), was a Welsh abbot and supposed bishop in Somerset, now in England.

He grew up in Pembrokeshire and travelled across the Bristol Channel to found a monastery on Cadbury Hill at Congresbury in Somerset. He gave his name to this village and to the parish church at Badgworth. This supposedly became the centre of a bishopric which preceded the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Legend has it that his staff took root when he thrust it into the ground and the resulting yew tree can be seen to this day. He later returned to Wales, but died on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The parish of Congresbury claimed to have enshrined his body during the Middle Ages, and mentioned it in several pilgrim guides. There appear to have been no rival claimants for his relics. Congresbury itself is first mentioned in Asser's Life of Alfred as a derelict Celtic monastery, probably related to Congar. Though a minor saint, he is mentioned in a litany of Winchester in about 1060, and his feast day was recorded in most medieval Somerset calendars.1

Churches dedicated to him may also be found in Brittany and Cornwall, where he is said to have been a hermit at St Ingunger, in the parish of Lanivet.2

References

  1. ^ Farmer, David Hugh (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints (4. ed. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-19-280058-2. 
  2. ^ Doble, G. H. (1970) The Saints of Cornwall: part 5. Truro: Dean and Chapter; pp. 3-29