This is the story of Flat Holm.
The Anglo-Saxons called the island “Bradanreolice”, which comes from an Irish word meaning churchyard or graveyard. An axe head that was found on the island is thought to date back to the late Bronze Age, between 900 and 700 BC; however, there is no other archaeological evidence to suggest that the island was settled during that time.
In the 6th century the island was occasionally the home of Saint Cadoc, the first recorded Welsh Saint, who was the Abbot of llancarfan, a village in the Vale of Glamorgan. St. Cadoc visited the island on many occasions in the late 6th century in search of a peaceful place to meditate, especially during Lent.
It is hard to believe that in the 6th century one would have to go to such lengths to find a quiet place to meditate.
Since I started researching the history of Flat Holm I have been slowly taken over by an urge to follow in St. Cadoc’s footsteps and go to the Island for a few weeks to escape from the crowds and meditate for hours and hours each day, surrounded by the sea, listening to the crashing of the waves and the cries of the sea gulls, to be at peace with the world and as free as possible from the contamination of humanity.
Three disciples of St. Cadoc, Gildas, Barruc and Gwalches also visited Flat Holm. One day Gwalches and Barruc were asked to travel to Flat Holm by St. Cadoc to retrieve a book he had left behind on a previous visit. On the way back to the mainland their boat overturned and they were both drowned. Barruc’s body was discovered washed ashore and subsequently buried on Barry Island, whilst the body of Gwalches was carried by the tide to Flat Holm and buried there.
For me it seems strange that their bodies were taken by the current in different directions. I’m no tidal expert, but I would have thought that two objects placed in the sea at the same place and at the same time would drift in the same direction, more or less.