Christianity had been introduced into Britain during the Roman occupation but after the withdrawal of the Roman legions, some time in the Fifth Century A.D., the Christian faith survived only in the Celtic areas not occupied by the heathen Anglo-saxons. The early centres of the Christian faith in Wales were monastic in origin and organisation, each with a community under a 'saint'. The early 'saint' was habitually a migrant and his influence frequently spread over a wide area where daughter churches would be founded. Of course, no parish or diocese organisation existed in pre-Norman times. Cenarth Church has the distinction of having actually been one of these early monastic foundations, founded by Saint Llawddog. Saint Llawddog himself was a descendant of a Prince of North Britain, Nudd Hael, and he settled here during the great movement associated with the name of Cunedd Wledig in the Sixth century.His authority came to be paramount throughout the Cantref of Emlyn and he became the patron saint of this locality with his feast (the anniversary of his death) being celebrated about 24th January.
The very name Cenarth probably originated during this period to describe the early Christian enclosed settlement. Cenarth is but a semi-Brythonic form of Penarth with the Goidelic Pen meaning "end, top, head' and arth standing for an older garth "an enclosure, field, yard, garden," frequently used for a separate portion of a hillside or eminence. It is this idea of an enclosure on the sloping ridge of the gorge that is conveyed to us by Giraldus Cambrensis' description of Cenarth in 1188 with church, mill, orchard and garden standing on a narrow strip of land.

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