St. Teniu
(Born c.AD 525)
(Welsh: Denyw; Latin: Theneva; English: Denise)

Princess Teniu was the daughter of King Letan Luyddoc of Gododdin. The old King was horrified to find, one day, that his unwed daughter was pregnant, and since she steadfastly refused to name the father of her unborn infant, Teniu was told she must wed a local swineherd. Refusing, she so angered her father that he had her tied into a chariot and driven over the cliff face at Trapain Law. However, the chariot floated gently to the ground and Thaney was unharmed. Picking herself up, she found that even this miracle had not deterred her persecutors in their endevour to rid themselves of such an embarrassment. They seized her, flung her into an oarless coracle, pushed it well out into the Firth, and hoped she would be carried out to sea and drowned. In the night, however, a wind blew up and the coracle was carried over to the Isle of May, where it was surrounded by a vast school of fish which magically escorted the coracle and its passenger to Culross, on the Fife shore of the Forth. There, the exhausted woman was found by St. Serf and gently carried to safety and shelter, where her son was born.

St. Serf baptized the infant Kentigern, and he grew to be a great man in the British church. Teniu became a Christian as well and, in time, she was canonized, though not before she had been reunited with Kentigern's father, King Owein of North Rheged. The dashing monarch had seduced poor Thaney, then returned to his wife. The princess, however, had fallen in love with him; and when, not long after Kentigern's birth, Owain's wife had fallen ill and died, he sent for Teniu and she gladly joined him. Much to her father's shame, the two were married with the greatest pomp and ceremony.

Records of St. Teniu date back to the 12th century. She is generally considered legendary.


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