West Vale Catholics - Covering the areas of Llantwit Major and Cowbridge in South Wales.
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Illtud may have been Breton by birth and migrated to Wales or he came from the educated class of Britons and moved westwards. It is thought that he was born about 425 and was ordained by Germanus of Auxerre whose disciple he had been. He came to the Hodnant valley and settled there, either founding the monastery or succeeding Germanus as abbot.

We gather that he was best known for his erudition and his wisdom: "Now this Eltut was the most learned of all the Britons in the knowledge of Scripture, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and in every branch of philosophy - poetry and rhetoric, grammar and arithmetic."
18th century statue of St. Iltud in Locildut, Brittany This information is also supplied by Gildas who described his instructor as "the cultured teacher (magistrum elegantem) of nearly all Britain." and Lewis Morgannwg: "Ni ddysgodd fab ddysg oedd fwy " (No boy learned education which was greater).

His reputation grew: "He had many disciples, who flocked to him from every side, and his fame spread throughout every place in the island of Britain, which was illuminated by his doctrine."

Illtud died early in the sixth century, possibly at the monastery: "For when he had fallen sick and was about to die, he sent for two other abbots to come and visit him.  At about midnight, after bidding farewell to the brethren, he departed happily from the flesh, amid the chant of hymns and the customary rites."
This, the most reliable information we have, is meagre, but establishes three principal points about Illtud's life and ministry. Firstly he was a priest and secondly he either founded or developed the monastery at Llantwit of which he was abbot for a long period.  Thirdly he was a "magister" and his learning and sanctity became famous and attracted many disciples.

Beyond these established facts, we have numerous stories of miraculous occurrences. A few occur in the earlier sources but most seem to be the invention of the author of the 12th century Vita Sancti Iltuti and are similar to most Medieval hagiologies (life stories of the saints).
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