The 12th C. "Life of Saint Illtud"* gives his life story thus: born in Brittany , the son of Bicanus, a warrior, and Rieingulid ("modest queen"), daughter of Anblaud ["Amlawd"1] the king of Brittannie [Britain? Brittany?], he married Trynihid and then left for Britain. He ran the household of Poulentus, king of Glamorgan, until, while hunting, the rest of the household were swallowed by the earth for demanding food from Saint Cadog (Life)2,3. Illtud converted, and was visited by an angel in a dream on the banks of the Naudauan, and told to leave his wife and live the religious life. Looking at his wife naked, he realised the worthlessness of carnal relationships, and settled in the Hodnant4, setting up an oratory and school where he saw a family of pigs5, while under penance for his lifestyle, imposed by Dubricius, bishop of Llandaff.
The king of the area, Meirchion the Wild6, chased a stag to the church, which instantly domesticated to draw carts etc. for Illtud7. Meirchion demanded a meal and wine - but when given fish and water it tasted miraculously of diverse tastes8. An angel visited the king telling him to let Illud keep the land and he confirmed the land as Illtud's. Illtud's school grew, and he trained the Saints Samson, Paulinus, Gildas and David9. Illud is then given the title of Abbot.
The sea threatened to flood the valley by a wave which "swelled beyond measure" up the river10. He built a dike, which was destroyed three times, before he drove the sea back to the shore. There he made a fresh-water spring flow with his staff11 and set up a landing place.
Samson was training under Illtud when Illtud's corn was stolen. Samson miraculously herded into a barn to teach them a lesson. Samson himself was asked to be Bishop of Dol, and cried so hard about leaving he cried a spring into existance in the upper Hondnant. After his death, his body was miraculously conveyed back to the Hodnant12.
Trynihid visited Illtud, and found him muddy from constant delving. Her request to talk with him left her blind, so improper was it - her sight was only returned by Illtud's prayers.
Cyflym, Meirchion's steward, a nasty bit of work, connived against the saint, and was melted like wax. Despite this Illud prayed for him. This caused Meirchion to turn against the saint. The saint hid on the banks of the Ewenny, in a secret cave13, where he stayed for a year and three days with a stone for a bed, living off divine food. While hiding, a messenger carrying a bell from Gildas to David passed the cave14. The bell ran out, and Illud came out to marvel at its quality. When it got to David it wouldn't ring for him, so he sent it back to Illtud. The messenger then told the monks where their Abbot was hidden.
A steward, Cyfygydd, turned against the saint, and was swallowed by a marsh. Meirchion, mad about this, went to kill Illtud, and was swallowed by the earth. Illtud was then visited by so many people that he retreated to the cave at Llwynarth for three years.
In the cave the wonder occurs. The description differs in four respects: 1) the body has a sweet smell; 2) the body is buried in the cave, and the alter hangs above it, 3) no church is set up and 4) the testing of the miracle is not mentioned, although it does mention that the altar was associated with miracles.
Two robbers took Illtud's swine, and escaped to the woods, but found that at dawn they were back at the sty. The next night they made for a mountain, but found themselves back there again. This time, they were turned into two stones15.
Illtud visited Britanny. There the people were starving, and he miraculously called grain stored in Wales to the shore to feed people16. He returned to Britain, but, when his life was done, returned to Dol to be buried.
Edgar, King of the English, stole Illtud's bell at put it round the neck of his horse. However, when preparing his troups afterwards he saw a man pierce his chest with a spear, though no one else did. He asked for the bell to be returned, and the horses took it back. When they arrived at Illtud's church on the Taff, the bell fell to the floor and cracked a stone.
During the reign of William I, Glamorgan was held by the Normans. The Welsh attacked everyone, including the lands of Illtud's church. However, when they attacked, the people barracaded themselves in a fort made against the sea up a hill. They held off the night attack. During the attack, sparks flew between the church of saint Illtud and the fortress of king Meirchion.