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Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Friday, 16 July 2010 09:56 UK
Community event celebrates St Deiniol and Bangor history

A picture oDeiniol Day poster
The public are welcome to dress medieval-style on Deiniol Day

The city of Bangor returns to the Middle Ages on Saturday July 24 with a new event celebrating its saint and its origins.

Deiniol Day, with a medieval-themed procession, music, market and re-enactments, comes hot on the heels of the successful revival of Bangor Carnival by The People of Bangor Community Group last month.

Organised by the Pontio project, it will take over the High Street, bowling green, cathedral grounds and Gwynedd Museum and Gallery.

"We thought perhaps not many people knew the meaning of the name Bangor," said Bethan Lloyd, one of the event organisers.

"It means a wattle enclosure - a settlement within a wattle fence.

"This was the very first Bangor, before Bangor-on-Dee or the ones in Ireland, America or Australia."

The man behind the building of the wattle fence and the church within it was Deiniol, a 6th century son of a Pembrokeshire abbot who set out with his brothers and cousins to establish several churches across Wales.

Saint Deiniol
Churches in Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Brittany are dedicated to St Deiniol
His feast day is 11 September
He's thought to be the first Bishop of Bangor

Dyfan Roberts, arts development officer for Pontio, explained: "He chose land beside the Adda river to establish his church, which was probably made of wood, and built the wattle fence around it to keep out wild animals and marauding Vikings.

"There was probably a local king who gave him the land because he wanted to be rewarded in heaven."

Dyfan has discovered the miracles attributed to Deiniol probably happened after his death in 584.

"His bones would have been given special significance and a miracle might have happened when someone touched them, or touched his prayer book or staff," he said.

There is some talk of a woman who'd taken poison being cured by drinking from Deiniol's well and vomiting it up, together with several large worms.

Deiniol is believed to have been buried on Bardsey Island and there is an image of him in Bangor Cathedral in archbishop's garb, although he would actually have worn an undyed woollen habit.

The Small World Theatre Company and children from Maesgeirchan are creating a 15-foot St Deiniol figure to lead the parade through Bangor.

Bangor cathedral
Pontio hope the arts and innovation centre will be open by 2012

"Deiniol will be ceremoniously put inside a wattle fence which an artist is going to build near the cathedral," Bethan explained.

"We'll also have a medieval fair, face-painting and circus skills going on.

"Inside the cathedral the Declaimers will be performing poetry as they would have done in Deiniol's time, beating it out with a wooden stick - sort of like medieval rapping"

The Pontio project is behind the university's planned arts and innovation centre. They organised a number of arts activities during the winter following the closure of Theatr Gwynedd and hope Deiniol Day could become an annual event.

"Once people see the costumes, they love the idea," said Bethan. "People seem to really enjoy being part of something historical."

Bangor University deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Fergus Lowe, leading the Pontio project, said: "We hope families, groups of friends and tourists come to celebrate Bangor's rich culture and heritage."




SEE ALSO
Bangor arts centre plan unveiled
26 May 10 |  North West Wales
Christmas at Bangor Cathedral
17 Dec 09 |  Religion & Ethics

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