Saint David (c. 500–589) (Welsh: Dewi Sant) was a Welsh Bishop during the 6th century; he was later regarded as a saint and as the patron saint of Wales. Many of the traditional tales about David are found in the Buchedd Dewi, a hagiography written by Rhygyfarch in the late 11th century. He became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Dumnonia and Brittany in a period when neighbouring tribal regions were still mostly pagan. He rose to a bishopric and presided over two synods as well as going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem (where he was anointed as an archbishop by the Patriarch) and Rome. The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that monks had to pull the plough themselves without using animals, must drink only water eat only bread with salt and herbs and spend the evenings in prayer, reading and writing. No personal possessions were allowed: even to say "my book" was considered an offence. He lived a simple life and practiced asceticism, teaching his followers to refrain from eating meat or drinking beer. It is claimed that David lived for over 100 years, and he died on a Tuesday 1 March (now St David's Day). It is generally accepted that this was around 590, making the actual year 589.
Icon reproduced with kind permission of the iconographer, Aidan Hart.