St David – a bibliography of the medieval “Lives”

March 1 is St David’s Day.  St David was a Welsh saint who died around 601.  He appears in some of the 13th century versions of the Annals of Wales (Annales Cambriae).  An English translation of a combined text gives him in two entries:

St. David is born in the thirtieth year after Patrick left Menevia.  …

The synod of Urbs Legionis [Chester].
Gregory died in Christ and also bishop David of Moni Iudeorum.

From this we learn that he was bishop of “Menevia”, formerly Roman Menapia, now the city of St Davids in Wales; and that he died around 601 AD, depending on how you read the years in that Chronicle.

The Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (BHL) lists a number of “lives”.  I include the “incipit”, i.e. the first few words, and where to find the text.

  • BHL 2107 – “Life” by Ricemarch, bishop of Menevia.  A text and translation appear in Rees, Lives of the Cambro-British Saints (1853); Latin text: p.117-43, English translation: 418-448.  A Welsh text and English translation are also given.  (Curiously Wikipedia gives the author the name of “Rhygyfarch”, while acknowledging that contemporaries called him Ricemarch.  Possibly modern Welsh nationalism may be involved.)  Online here.
  • BHL 2108 – Epitome a of Ricemarch.  Inc.: “Sanctus quem tinctio.”  Text: Acta Sanctorum, March vol. 1, p.41-45.  Online here.
  • BHL 2109 – Epitome b of Ricemarch. Inc.: “S. enim David, quem vulgus Dewi appellat.”  Text: Nova Legenda Anglie (1901 repr.), vol. 1, p.254-262. Online here.
  • BHL 2110 – Epitome c of Ricemarch.  Inc.: “Dominus N. I. C. quamvis sanctos suis … sic hunc. s. ven. David.” Text: John Colgan, Acta sanctorum vetris et majoris Sectiae seu Hiberniae sanctorum insulae (1645), 425-29.  Online here.
  • Not numbered – Epitome d of Ricemarch.  Inc. not given.  Text: Breviarii Aberdonensis … pars hyemalis, Edinburgh (1509), repr. London (1854).  But I was completely unable to find my way around this.  There are 3 volumes, and the info given is “pars hiem., Propr. SS. 61-62.”  The volumes are online here: vol. 1; vol. 2; vol. 3; but I have no idea which volume it is.
  • BHL 2111 – “Life” by Gerald of Wales.  Inc. (prologue): “Vitam s. David archiep., quem vulgares Dewi dicunt — Inc. B. itaque David ingenuis natalibus ortus”.  Text: Brewer, Giraldi Cambrensis opera, vol. 3, 377-404. Online here.
  • BHL 2112 – A genealogy.  Text: Rees, as above, p.144.

The main life exists in English.  The epitomes are probably of interest only to specialists.  I couldn’t see an English translation of Gerald’s Life.  The genealogy is just a list of names.  So… most of the material does exist in English.