Site: Caldey Island

Name:Caldey Island (Ynys Byr) CISP No:CALDY
Place:inc Grid Ref:SS 1400 9630 (GB)   Map
Parish:Penally Stones:1
County:Pembrokeshire (Penfro) , Wales Saint(s):Piro
Site Type:ecclesiastical

Site Notes

Westwood/1879, 106--108: `It appears to have been a very prevalent custom among the early Christians, both in Great Britain and Ireland, to establish their communities upon small islands adjoining the coast, where, free from the chances of sudden attack, they could pursue the quiet objects of their existence unmolested and undisturbed. The great establishment of Lindisfarne on the Northumbrian coast, of various religious establishments on Ireland's Eye, the Skellig, and other small islands on the coast of Ireland, may be cited as instances of this practice, whilst Bardsey Island, the chapel island of St. Tecla at the mouth of the Wye, Barry Island on the Glamorganshire coast, Ramsay Island near St. David's, and Caldey Island near Tenby, have been more or less celebrated in Wales for the religious establishments which have existed upon them.

On the last-named island are still the ruins of a priory, founded in the twelfth century. Here however, as at Bardsey, proof of the religious occupation of the island at a period long antecedent to any indication afforded by the architectural peculiarities of the existing ruins has been obtained in the discovery of an inscribed slab of stone, dug up in the ruins of the priory...The late excellent antiquary, Albert Way, Esq., has given in the Arch. Camb., 1870, pp. 122--140, a description of a remarkable alabaster reliquary found in the island of Caldey (communicated by Mr. Edward Kynaston Bridger, cousin to the late Mr. Corbet Kynaston), about 8 inches long by 2╝ inches high. It is in the shape of a small mediŠval altar-tomb, with a recumbent figure on the top, which may be assigned to the latter half of the fifteenth century. Mr. Way has completed the account of this relic by a notice of other remains on Caldey Island, including the inscribed stone above described, of which he has reproduced my engraving'.

RCAHMW/1925, 37--40, has a long description of the remains on Caldey Island. Also see Thomas/1994, 74, for discussion of Caldey Island and the monastery of Piro in the Life of Samson of Dol.