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Tetha (Cornish: Tedha; Welsh: Tedda), also known as Teath (/tɛθ/),[1][2] Tecla,[3][4] and by a variety of other names,[5] was a 5th-century virgin and saint in Wales and Cornwall. She is associated with the parish church of St Teath in Cornwall. Baring-Gould gives her feast day as 27 October,[3] but this has been called a mistaken conflation with Saint Ia.[4] In 1878, it was held on the movable feast of Whit Tuesday.[5] Other sources place it on 1 May,[6] 6 September,[7][8] and (mistakenly) 15 January.[7] It is no longer observed by either the Anglican[9] or Catholic church in Wales.[10]

Saint Tetha
Parish church of St. Tetha, St Teath - - 681562.jpg
St Tetha's in St Teath
Princess of Brycheiniog
Born 5th century
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Major shrine St Teath
Feast Various (lapsed)
Patronage St Teath


Name and identityEdit

Early Latin records give the companion of Breaca and patron of St Teath the name Tecla,[5] a form of the name Thecla borne by the first female martyr in Christianity. The Acts of Paul and Thecla was a common apocryphal work in the early church and the name was formerly relatively common.[3] The editor of the Bollandists' mention of the saint[11] and Bartrum consider the name mistaken or fictitious,[4] but do not account for the early appearance of the name in records at St Teath itself.[5] Accounts of Breaca's journey give her the additional name Etha,[7] which some have considered a corruption of "Itha".[12] This in turn has led to the saint becoming confused and conflated with the Irish saint Íde of Killeedy.[7]

Meanwhile, other accounts credit St Teath to a daughter of Brychan of Brycheiniog named Tedda,[13][14] Tethe,[15] &c.[5]


In Cornish sources, Tetha was listed among the daughters of Brychan, king of Brycheiniog in Wales,[5] making her the sister of numerous other saints in Wales and Cornwall. She is listed among Saint Breaca's companions, who missionized Cornwall from Ireland around AD 460, by Leland and William of Worcester. Unlike some of her companions, she does not seem to have been martyred by Tewdwr Mawr, the hostile king of Penwith. (Note, however, that Borlase was of the opinion that the saint's name had been inserted in the list of Breaca's companions by mistake.[16])


A church of 'St Tecla' is attested in St Teath as early as 1201.[5] The present Church of St Tetha[17] largely consists of 15th-century improvements to a Norman original. It is listed as a Grade I protected building.[18]

See alsoEdit

  • Saint Tegla, a Welsh saint with whom she is sometimes conflated
  • Thecla, the first female Christian martyr


  1. ^ St Teath Village Website. "Facts". 2014. Accessed 30 Nov 2014.
  2. ^ Bartrum, p. 687: "St Teath".
  3. ^ a b c Baring-Gould, Sabine & al. The Lives of the British Saints: The Saints of Wales and Cornwall and Such Irish Saints as Have Dedications in Britain, Vol. IV, pp. 219 ff. Chas. Clark (London), 1908. Hosted at Accessed 25 Nov 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Bartrum, p. 687: "St. Tecla".
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Orme, Nicholas. English Church Dedications: With a Survey of Cornwall and Devon, p. 119. University of Exeter Press (Exeter), 1996.
  6. ^ Roscarrock, Nicholas. Lives of the English Saints. c. 1625.
  7. ^ a b c d Bartrum, p. 698: "St. Tetha".
  8. ^ Challoner, Richard. A Memorial of Ancient British Piety: Or, a British Martyrology, p. 126. W. Needham (London), 1761.
  9. ^ The Church in Wales. "The Book of Common Prayer for Use in the Church in Wales: The New Calendar and the Collects". 2003. Accessed 18 Nov 2014.
  10. ^ The Catholic Church in England and Wales. "Liturgy Office: November 2015". Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, 2014. Accessed 18 Nov 2014.
  11. ^ Acta Sanctorum, Vol. LX, Octobris, Vol. XII, "De SS. Ia et Breaca Virginibus Eorumque Comitibus Uni, Sinino, Elwino, Maruano, Germocho,Crewenna, Helena, Thecla seu Etha, Gwithian et Gwinnear seu Wymero, in Cornubia Britannica", pp. 293 ff. Imprimerie Polleunis, Ceuterick, & Lefébure (Brussels), 1886. (in Latin) Cited in Bartrum.[4]
  12. ^ Chope, R. Pearse (ed.). The Devonian Year Book for the Year 1916, pp. 90 f. London Devonian Assoc. (London), 1916.
  13. ^ Doble, G.H. (trans.). The Life of Saint Nectan. 1941, reprinted at Bideford, 1964.
  14. ^ Bartrum, Peter C. A Welsh Classical Dictionary: People in History and Legend up to about A.D. 1000, p. 687: "St. Tedda". National Library of Wales, 1993.
  15. ^ Hunt, Robert. Popular Romances of the West of England: The Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of Old Cornwall, 3d ed.: "Saint Keyne". Chatto & Windus (London), 1903. Accessed 18 Nov 2014.
  16. ^ Borlase, William Copeland. "The President's Address" in the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Vol. VI, No. XX, p. 41. 31 May 1878, reprinted Lake & Lake (Truro), 1881.
  17. ^ St Teath Village Website. "Parish Church". 2012.
  18. ^ English Heritage. "Church of St Tetha". 2014. Accessed 30 Nov 2014.