Sunday 5 July is the feast of St Erfyl whose relic we have in the church in Lampeter
A drawing of the old church of Llanerfyl in Montgomeryshire, Wales, dating from before 1870 when the building was demolished and replaced by the present structure, shows a huge and spreading yew tree in the churchyard. Beneath the tree can be seen what is now known to be an early Christian grave marker. (The stone has now been taken into the church to prevent erosion.) It was long thought to mark the earthly resting-place of St Erfyl, but this is now known not to be the case. Although much worn, the inscription has been interpreted to reveal that it marked the grave of Rustica, the thirteen-year old daughter of Paterninus. The inclusion of the word ‘peace’ in the inscription tells us that Paterninus and his daughter were Christians. The stone has been dated to the 5th or 6th Christian centuries, and shows us that there was a Christian presence here by that time. That fits well with the presumed dates of the life of the church’s patron, the virgin St Erfyl, who is believed to have settled here in what was then a remote and peaceful spot for a life of contemplation and prayer.
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