Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saint Petroc (sometimes spelt Petrock, also Pedrog in Welsh and Perreux in French) (c. 468 - 564) is a sixth century Celtic Christian saint. He was born in Wales but primarily ministered to the Britons of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset.
According to Welsh legend, he was a younger son of the chieftain Glywys Cernyw of Glywysing (now Glamorgan). He has given his name to Llanbedrog, a village of the Lleyn peninsula. "Llan" is an old Welsh word meaning an enclosure, and so was used to denote the land on which churches were built.
He studied in Ireland (where he was the teacher of Saint Kevin). After studying, he began his mission to Cornwall, where he founded monasteries at Padstow and Bodmin. Padstow, which is named for him (Padrock-stowe, or Petrock's Place), appears to have been his base for some time. There are numerous other dedications to him throughout Cornwall.
In neighbouring Devon the dedications to St Petroc are even more numerous, and the North Devon town of Petrockstow is named after him (as are Newton St Petroc and other towns) and the newly adopted flag of Devon is dedicated to him. The position of churches bearing his name, nearly always near the coast, reminds us that in those days traveling was done mainly by sea. He is one of the chief saints of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, and also of Brittany. He is the patron saint of two other churches in Wales, St. Petrox near Pembroke and Ferwig near Cardigan. St Petroc is also the patron of Timberscombe in Somerset.
After thirty years, legend says that he went on the pilgrimage to Rome by way of Brittany, where he is venerated under the name of Perreux. In 1177 a Breton stole his relics from Bodmin and gave to the abbey of St. Meen, but Henry II restored them.
The legendary tales surrounding Petroc are exceptionally vivid and imaginative (giving him a second pilgrimage, travels to India, taming wolves) and may represent interpolation from pagan tales. In iconography, he is usually shown with a stag. His feast day in June 4.
See also: Cornish Saints
- St Pedrog's church and pictures of the church see.
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