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November 30


Saint of the day:

Saint  Tudwal


Saint Tudwal's Story

Tudwal was said to be the son of Hoel Mawr (Hoel I) and his wife, Pompeia, and a brother of Saint Lenorius. Tudwal travelled to Ireland to learn the scriptures, and then became a hermit on Saint Tudwal's Island East, off the coast of North Wales. Tudwal later immigrated to Brittany, settling in Lan Pabu with 72 followers, where he established a large monastery under the patronage of his cousin, King Deroch of Domnonée. He traveled to Paris to obtain confirmation of the land grant from King Childebert I, who insisted be was Bishop of Tréguier. Tudwal is shown in iconography as a bishop holding a dragon, now the symbol of Tregor. His feast day is celebrated on 30 November or 1 December. Tro Breizh (Breton for "Tour of Brittany") is a pilgrimage that links the towns of the seven founding saints of Brittany. These seven saints were Celtic monks from Britain from around the 5th or 6th century who went to Brittany to minister to the Britons who had settled there after the Anglo-Saxon incursions in their homeland. Among the first bishoprics was Tréguier, Saint Tudwal's town.



So Tugdual also left his native land with his mother Koupaïa and his sister Sève, also holy women, to disembark near Le Conquet, at the northern tip of Finistère and settle in a place called Trébabu. But he later joined other immigrants to found the monastery around which the diocese of Tréguier rose, of which he became the first bishop in 532.

As with many evangelizing monks, all this did not happen without trial. He too had to defeat one of these dragons which were to be legion in the region as mythology refers to it. The presence of dinosaur skeletons, much more numerous than today, had something to fuel the imaginations for millennia. It is in reference to this victory that the flag of Trégor features a red dragon (Welsh par excellence) superimposed on the black cross of Saint Yves, whose name is also closely associated with Tréguier.


The story also tells that Saint Tugdual having gone to Rome when a pope died, he was surprised to see a dove land on his head. What was interpreted by some as a sign from heaven designating him as pope. But it did not happen and to this day, Rome still has no Breton pope in the long list of sovereign pontiffs since Saint Peter. It is in reference to this Roman episode that Tugdual is represented with a dove on his head, in the Valley of the Saints in Carnoët. But this scene owes nothing to mythology: a dove also landed one day on the head of John Paul II while he was on the balcony of St. Peter's Square. But she was late for landing: he had been Pope for a long time.







Tréguier Cathedral

1 Pl. du Général Leclerc, 22220 Tréguier, France




Ginger Aberffraw Cakes

Aberffraw biscuit is a traditional Welsh shortbread that’s believed to be Britain’s oldest biscuit. These cookies are made with a simple combination of high-quality butter, flour, and sugar. The rich and sweet shortbread is instantly recognizable due to its visual appearance – it’s shaped like a scallop shell.

It is believed that the origin of the scallop shape dates back to the 13th century, when Welsh pilgrims went on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and they began pressing shortbread with scallop shells as an homage to their journey.


  • 1 1/3 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) (100 g) butter, cubed, plus more for greasing

  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

  • 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger*


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter.

  2. Put flour and sugar into a large bowl. Cut in the cubed butter with your hands, rubbing it into the flour/sugar mixture. Add the ginger and continue rubbing just until the mixture is starting to bind together.

  3. Knead gently until you have a smooth dough that can be formed into a ball. (If dough is too dry to come together, add a bit more butter or a small squirt of lemon juice.)

  4. Roll the dough into 8 to 10 smaller balls of equal size, depending on the size of the scallop shell you'll be using. (I used a large 4" scallop shell and got 8 large cookies). 

  5. Lightly dust the scallop shell with flour and sugar. Starting roughly in the lower middle, start pressing out a ball of dough against the shell to impress it, evening the thickness and shaping the edges as you go.

  6. Carefully prise the cookie off the shell and place on a greased baking sheet, then repeat with the rest of the dough.

  7. Bake at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or just until a pale golden brown.

Note: I find this to be just the right amount of ginger but if you want your cookies really spicy, add another 1/2 teaspoon of the fresh ginger.*Some people roll out the dough, cut it into round cookies, and then impress them with the shell, but I don't think these end up nearly as pretty or shell-like. 

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