Search 62305 Camino Questions

Hynt St. Ialm - the Welsh connection


Active Member
pilgrimage is of all people, faiths, sferes and ages; for hunters, gatherers and smorgasbordians

Hynt St. Ialm or St. James's Way is mentioned in Chapter XIII.— Santiago de Compostela of Celtic Britain and the Pilgrim movement (1912) by Griffith Hartwell Jones (1859-1944).** Although this book stands apart from The Way of Saint James (1920) by Georgiana Goddard King (1871-1939) it is well worth mentioning to King adepts because it gives many interesting minor and major details that to the curious pilgrim would like to know like the Welsh name Ialm for James and the classification of his cult. Both authors do not mention each other, but their subjects are very similar. We've collected here some paragraphs, quotes and sources searching on James in chapter XIII. The title of this post comes from p252:

"Just as the Provençals called the Milky Way Camin de St. Jacques, and the French Le chemin de St. Jacques, so the Welsh gave it the name of Hynt St. Ialm or St. James's Way, which picturesquely describes the throng of pilgrims pressing towards Compostela as thick as the multitude of stars in that region of the sky."

See for comfortable reading ... 00jonerich [flip book] and quick browsing ... h_djvu.txt [full text].

Chapter XIII.— Santiago de Compostela . . . . . . 244
Illustrations [see attachement]
The Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela
The Shrine of St. James ; Santiago
The Crypt showing the Shrine ; Santiago
The Gate of Glory ; Santiago
The Pilgrims' Gate ; Santiago
The Pilgrims' Hospice ; Santiago

Search on Jacobus, in the whole book (2x):
- [45] * Jacopo Passavanti, Specchio della vera penitenza. Dist. 3, ch. 3, p. 43, and Jacobus de Voragine, Legenda Aurea, p. 158, de commun.
- [495] See the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus a Voragine, who connects St. Thomas with a king in North-West India, called Gondiporus.

Search on James, only in CHAPTER XIII. Santiago de Compostela. (39x):
- [244] The shrine of St. James at Compostela, in Spain, belongs to a third class of sanctuaries, but was second in importance only to the Holy Sepulchre and the Thresholds of the Apostles. For the origin of the cult it is necessary to go back to the ninth century. The legend of St. James, from which the shrine derived its celebrity, was congenial to the state of intellect in the Middle Ages.
Unlike the other two great centres, Jerusalem and Rome, Compostela owed its fame to a reputed apparition and the consequent discovery of the remains of St. James in 816.* The first of the Apostolic band to drink the chalice of suffering, St. James the Elder died at the hands of Herod Agrippa the First, a.d. 44.* After the Ascension of our Lord and the Feast of Pentecost he bade adieu to his elder brother St. John the Evangelist, and afterwards went to ask the Virgin Mary for her benediction.

[picture in attachment: The Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. The Obradoiro Façade.]

- [245] Accordingly, St. James left Jerusalem, crossed the Mediterranean, arrived at Tarragona, and there addressed himself to the task of evangelising, but succeeded in converting only eight persons. On February 4th, A.D. 86, he saw a vision on the plain of Saragossa, in which he was directed to raise a church in honour of the Virgin, under the title Nuestra Señora del Pilàr. A magnificent shrine rose on the scene of the marvellous vision. This was the beginning of the fame of Compostela. The translation of the Apostle's body to Ira Flavia (now called El Padron), the pious care bestowed by his fellow disciples upon the preservation of his remains, the appearance of a "field of stars",* the revelation of the place of his burial in 812 to Bishop Theodomir on the site of the Roman town Liberum Donum, the erection of the church around which grew the town of Santiago de Compostela, these features of his legend* doubtless belong in great measure to the region of fancy; but whatever credence may be attached to the story, the association of St. James with Spain possesses a high historical signifiance.*

- [246] May 1st in the Mozarabic Calendar is the Feast of St. Torquatus and his companions, who eclipse SS. Phillip and James the Less.

- [248] And thereupon he saw in the heaven a pathway of stars which started from the sea of Frisia and extended to Almaen and Italy, and between France and Angiw,* and went on straight by Gascony, Navarre and Spain as far as Galice, where the body of the blessed James was lying unrecognised . . "The pathway of stars which thou sawest in the heavens, signifies thy going from this place to Galice, with a great army, to fight the faithless paynims and to set free my way and my country and to visit my church and my tomb. After thee all people, from sea to sea, will make a pilgrimage to me and seek pardon for their sins, and declare the praise of God and His might and the wonders which He will perform.* And from thy day until the end of the world they will come".

- [248] *3 The Spanish ll is a liquid l. If Compostela comes from "Campus Stella", it is rather curious that it should not be ll, for the word Stella has become estrella in Spanish (which, like Welsh and French, cannot manage st without a vowel in front). But there is also a word estela which means the wake of a ship, and there are estelaria, (star-wort), estelifero, estelina,estelion, etc. The tradition of St. James coming to Spain may have been vaguely current as early as the fourth century, though it did not assume a definite form until three centuries later. There is a story there about St. Joseph of Arimathea being associated with St. James in the evangelizatiton of Galicia. If the Cornish saying "Joseph was in the tin trade" is true there would bo a reason for St. Joseph going to Galicia, as well as to Britain, for there were tin mines there also.

[picture in attachement below: The Shrine of St. James: Santiago.]

- [249] "… And that day it was resolved to call that Church an Apostolic See. . . . For as the Christian Faith was established in the East at Ephesus, through the Apostle John, the brother of James, so was there estabtablished in the West, in Galice, a seat for the Christian faith, and an Apostolic See. And no doubt those are the two seats which the two apostles begged of Christ, that they should sit the one on His right and the other on His left, in His Kingdom. There are three supreme Apostolic Sees established in the world which are justly above all others, namely, Rome, Galice, and India.* For as God gave the pre-eminence in His fellowship and His secrets to Peter, James, and John above the other apostles, as is evident from the scripture and the gospels, so God shewed them that preeminence in this world also, in the above three principal Sees. 2 And rightly is Rome regarded as the most pre-eminent of the Apostolic Sees. For Peter, the prince of the apostles, consecrated it by his preaching, by his own blood and by his burial. Compostela is justly the second See in pre-eminence."

- [250] As pilgrims to Palestine were in ancient documents designated, palmati, palmigeri, paumiers, as pilgrims to Rome were called Romei, Roumieux, Romieux, or Romioux, and the road to Rome lou camin romiou, so devotees of St. James were styled Jacobitae or Jacobipetae.* The decisive moment in the history of Compostela arrived in the twelfth century, with a pronouncement by Pope Calixtus in favour of the pilgrimages. The Apostolic benediction shed lustre on the achievement, and from that time forward Compostela became fashionable, and for nine centuries maintained its place in public estimation.
* The device of tho confrèrie of St. James of the Red Sword at Bordeaux (established about the middle of the twelfth century, chiefly for tho purpose of protecting pilgrims to Compostela) was "Rubet ensis sanguine Arabum".

[pictures in attachement below: Santiago Cathedral: The Crypt showing the Shrine of St. James., and Santiago Cathedral: The Gate of Glory.]

- [251] "… two journeys to Compostela would count as one to Rome". So much appears also from the Dominical prayer or form of "bidding the beads" on Sunday, in which the following words occur: "Also ye shall pray for all true pilgrims and palmers that have taken their way to Rome, to Jerusalem, to St. Katherine's* or to St. James's, or to any other holy place, that God of His grace give them time and space well for to go and to come, to the profit of their lives and souls".
Whence it would appear that at the time when this prayer was drawn up the pilgrimages enumerated were the most popular. On the other hand, in a more ancient form, St. James and St. Katherine are not mentioned.
The inference is that these shrines attained to popularity later. But now, after the Pope had lent his powerful support, religious enthusiasm impelled crowd after crowd of devout souls to the feet of the great Apostle of Spain.*
St. James himself was portrayed in mediseval art wearing the sclavina,* or exterior garb of a pilgrim, the pera, or scrip, and carrying the baculus, burdo or staff. Associations called Sentjaques, or, in the Gascon dialect, Sentjacairés (Brothers of St. James) were formed for the purpose of making the pilgrimage. It was at Compostela also that the Kings of Spain used to be crowned.*

- [252] Celtic Britain and the The Saint received, among Celtic races, a homage hardly inferior to that paid to the Fisherman.* Brittany, owing to its proximity, and then, as now, distinguished by its fervent piety, was prompt in paying honour to the sanctity of the patron saint of Spain. Hardly less was the reverence for the shrine in Britain proper. The journey was not, indeed, so easy of accomplishment, but a connection between Britain and Spain had been established at an early period. We meet with a curious confirmation of the popularity of the shrine in popular parlance. Just as the Provençals called the Milky Way Camin de St. Jacques, and the French Le chemin de St. Jacques, so the Welsh gave it the name of Hynt St. Ialm or St. James's Way, which picturesquely describes the throng of pilgrims pressing towards Compostela as thick as the multitude of stars in that region of the sky.*
The Welsh were not behind-hand in their devotion to St. James, as appears from direct statements and stray references to the pilgrimage.

- [253] The foundation of Wigmore Abbey is connected with a visit to this shrine. Its history is related in a Norman-French manuscript. Hugh Mortimer entrusted the management of his estates to his seneschal, Sir Oliver de Merlymond. The latter resolved on a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of St. James, and on his way was handsomely and courteously entertained at the Abbey of St. Victor in Paris.

- [254] We may also gather from the permits issued to shipowners (several of which relate to ships hailing from Wales) that the captains were not over-scrupulous in observing the restrictions imposed by public authority. One of them, dated 1451, grants the owner of the good ship "Mary of Pembroke" permission to convey passengers to St. James of Galice and back. John Gower and John Mansel obtain privileges for a similar purpose.
The Saint's aid was diligently sought before facing the voyage : —
Le glorieux ami de Dieu,
Monsieur Saint-Jacques,
Qui nous a toujours préservés
Durant ce saint voyage.
* * * * *
Pour prier Dieu,
Aussi ce glorieux martyr,
Monsieur Saint-Jacques,
Qu'au pays puissions retourner*
Et fairs un bon voyage.

[picture in attachment below: The Pilgrims' Hospice = Hostal de los Reyes Católicos]

- [255] * St. James of Compostela and Rome. Cf. p. 184.
- *12 Saint James was the patron of the Bay of Biscay.

- [265] The preparations for a pilgrimage, and the customs observed at the start may be briefly noticed at this point. The form of Bidding the beads mentions St. James's Compostela as one of the great pilgrim resorts. But besides this general petition a special solemnity was set apart for pilgrims on the eve of departure.

- [268] The obligation to keep roads in good repair for the benefit of pilgrims was one direct result of their peaceful invasion. A network of roadways traversed the south-west corner of Prance, where it borders upon the Spanish frontier. Just as "all roads lead to Rome", so in this quarter all roads led to St. James of Compostela. The Spanish name for this route (the sole highway from Puente de la Reina) Camino real Francés, survives to this day as an indication of the frequency of pilgrimages. The coincidence between these mediaeval routes and the old Roman viae raises a very interesting question ; but in many cases identification remains doubtful. From Toulouse to [269] Auch the pilgrims followed the exact course marked in the Bordeaux Itinerary to Jerusalem : — *
"Civitas Auscins (Auch)
Mutatio ad Scyptum (Marsan)
Miitatio Hungunnerro (Ambon)
Mutatio Bucconis (I'lsle Jourdain)
Mutatio ad Jovem (Leguevin)
Civitas Tolosa (Toulouse)."

- [273] 2.2. That any vows they may have made of pilgrimage to the threshold of the apostles Peter and Paul in Rome, or to the shrine of Saint James at Compostela, may be commuted into other works of piety.

- [274] Compostela contained within itself the seeds of decay and was for various reasons frowned upon by ecclesiastical as well as by civil authorities. At the beginning of the seventeenth century the chanson of the pilgrim of St. James might still be heard, but the pilgrim spirit was dying away. So lamented the poet : —
"ny bu ddwy awr, dre ruvain vawr
ar ol i ddyrld, heb roi vynydd
mae ty jago, ymronn kywmpo
bedd krist hefyd."

In 1660 the hospital of St. James at Bordeaux received nine hundred and eighty-eight sick pilgrims, in 1661 only ninety-six.*

[follows:] CHAPTER XIV. PiLGRiM Resorts in England. - 274


More pictures (and a complete list of them) below in attachement Celtic Britain pictures.doc

More e-books on The Way of Saint James by Georgiana Goddard King and others:
- Georgiana's Gems #8 more King books online on pilgrim-books/topic5466.html#p31394

More on different names for Saint James and Jacob:
- Re: The Santiago Enigma -Ja’akov & Jacobus– is the name a sign? on miscellaneous-about-santiago/topic3794.html#p20932 > chapter 7 by Ria van der Pot & Marianne Lodder:
- the answer is in people's hearts and minds on miscellaneous-about-santiago/topic3794-25.html?hilit=jacob#p28869

** - Griffith Hartwell Jones (1858 or 1859 – 27 May 1944) was a Welsh academic. He was educated at Jesus College, Oxford, where he was a scholar, and became professor of Latin at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cardiff, lecturing on historical and philological topics and writing extensively. He was also chairman of the National Eisteddfod Association, chairman of the council of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion and a member of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. The Rev. Dr. G. H. Jones died in hospital in London on 27 May 1944 at the age of 85.[1]
See his Obituary in The Times | May 30, 1944 on or



  • Celtic Britain Welsh title page 0007.jpg
    Celtic Britain Welsh title page 0007.jpg
    29 KB · Views: 2,377
  • Celtic Britain pilgrim effigy with cockle shell 0012.jpg
    Celtic Britain pilgrim effigy with cockle shell 0012.jpg
    17.1 KB · Views: 2,383
  • Celtic Britain pictures.doc
    328 KB · Views: 121
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.

How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides