Infobox Saint
name= Saint Winwaloe
death_date=3 March, 532
feast_day= 3 March
venerated_in= Roman Catholic Church

imagesize= 250px
death_place=Landévennec Abbey
patronage=invoked for fertility

Saint Winwaloe (in French, Saint Guénolé or Guennolé; Latin, Winwallus or Winwaloeus) (d. 3 March 532) was the founder and first Abbot of Landévennec Abbey, literally Lann of Venec, or Monastery of Winwaloe. It was just south of Brest in Brittany, now part of France.


Winwaloe was the son of Fracan, a prince of Dumnonia, and his wife, Gwen Teirbron (or 'Gwen the Triple-Breasted'), who had fled to Brittany to avoid the plague. ["Vita Sancti Wingualoei" (9th century) in Gilbert H. Doble's "The Saints of Cornwall"] He was born about 460, apparently at Plouguin [] , near Saint-Pabu [] , where his supposed place of birth, a feudal hillock, can still be seen. Winaloe grew up in Ploufragan [] near Saint-Brieuc with his brothers, Wethnoc and Jacut. They were later joined by a sister, Saint Creirwe. He was educated by Saint Budoc on the Île Lavret, in the Bréhat archipelago, near Paimpol.

As a young man, it is said that Winwaloe conceived a wish to visit Ireland to see the remains of Saint Patrick, who had just died. However, the saint appeared to him in a dream to say that it would be better to remain in Brittany and found an abbey. So, with eleven of Budoc's other disciples, he set up a small monastery on the island of Tibidy [] , on the River Faou. However, it was so inhospitable that after three years, he miraculously opened a passage through the sea to found another abbey on the opposite bank of the Landévennec estuary. The saint appears in the story of the mythical sunken city of Ys, in which the legendary King Gradlon of Cornuaille is his patron. Winwaloe died at his monastery on 3 March 532.


Winwaloe was venerated as a saint at Landévennec until Viking invasions in 914 forced the monks to flee, with his body, to Château-du-Loir and then Montreuil-sur-Mer. His relics were often taken on procession through the town. Winwaloe's shrine was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1793. He apparently acquired a priapic reputation through confusion of his name with the word, "gignere" (Fr. engendrer, 'to beget') and was thus a patron of fertility as one of the phallic saints. [ [ The Minor Themes ] ]

In his Cornish homeland, Winwaloe is the patron of the churches at Tremaine, Landewednack and Gunwalloe, as well as East Portlemouth in Devon and two lost chapels in Wales. The churches of St Twynnells, Pembrokeshire and Wonastow, Monmouthshire may have been originally dedicated to him [Bowen E G, "Saints, Seaways and Settlements", UoWP, 1977, ISBN 0-7083-0650-0, p 189] . They were probably founded by his successor at Landévennec, Saint Guenäel, who certainly made trips to Britain. Exeter, Glastonbury, Abingdon and Waltham held small relics. He was also popular in East Anglia where the abbey at Montreuil-sur-Mer had a daughter house.


Main source

*cite book | last = Doble | first = Gilbert H. | authorlink = Gilbert Hunter Doble|title = The Saints of Cornwall Part II | publisher = Dean and Chapter of Truro | year = 1965 | location = Truro

External links

* [ "Catholic Encyclopedia" article, "St. Winwallus"]

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