An Early Celtic University

Llanilltud in Wales played a significant role in the Celtic Revival.

Philip Morris’ report on the Welsh monastery Llanilltud leaves much to be desired; but it’s about as much as can be said about this important monastic and training center, given the paucity of resources (Llanilltud: The story of a Celtic Christian Community).

Llanilltud was one of the early Celtic monasteries, originating around the turn of the sixth century. It quickly became a renowned training center and served such students as Gildas, David, and Samson. Students made their way to Llanilltud from many quarters, and the monastery flourished for many years as a focal point of evangelical and orthodox faith in the Celtic Christian tradition. 

Morris’ book uses one late manuscript and a variety of more contemporary documents to tell the story of this “University of the Atlantic.” He traces Llanilltud’s ministry and influence from the beginning to the present day. After its initial phase, Llanilltud lost much of its attraction and power. But it continues to this day as a church.

This book is thoroughly researched and gives us only as much information as is reliable. But it manages to make the point that Celtic Christians were committed to scholarship and mission, and that centers like Llanilltud played an important role in bringing the Gospel to many pagan peoples and reviving moribund churches throughout Europe.


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