Standing within the bounds of our present parish, let us go back in time some sixteen and a half centuries and try to see the district as it was at the beginning of the fourth century. We are standing within the suburbs of the third greatest city in Britain, Isea Silurum, the City of the Legions, or – to give it its Welsh name: CAER LLEON. Looking east from where we stand, we can see, about two miles away, the barracks of the Second Augustine Legion, a garrison of about six thousand soldiers. Outside the barrack walls, stretching west along the river bank past us, are the houses of the civilian population, which numbers about twenty thousand.
Scattered here and there among the houses, palaces and open-air theatres are temples to the pagan gods of the Romans and the Britons, with, occasionally, a small wooden Christian church. These are not easy days for the small band of people who have sworn to follow Jesus Christ, for the Roman Empire regards with uneasy suspicion this new religion which has spread abroad from Palestine, and it does not enjoy the t o ler anc e with which authority looks upon the many other religions. However, the worst is yet to be, for the mistrust and hostility they now meet is soon to turn to violent and ruthless persecution.