Melangell is one of the most famous of Welsh women saints and her protective powers have become part of folklore.
Melangell lived in the dark ages, was the daughter of an Irish king. He had arranged for her to be married to one of his noblemen, where as she had vowed to remain celibate. She fled her father’s lands to these shores, taking refuge in the Tanat Valley in Powys, where she lived for fifteen years without the sight of a man.
One day Melangell in her devotions and prayers in a local thicket, was disturbed by a hare seeking refuge hid in the folds of her robe.The hare was escaping from the hounds of Brochel, Prince of Powys, out hunting for the day. The howling hounds, refused to go near the hare in its hiding, in spite of the demands of the huntsmen for them to seize their prey.
When the Prince arrived, he was amazedto find a virgin of unsurpassed beauty, in her devotions, protecting the solitary hare from his vicious hounds.
On hearing her full story, he bequeathed to God and in the care of Melangell, that parcel of land as a sanctuary for all who fled there, with the wish that she build an abbey on that very spot where she sheltered the forlorn hare.
She later became the Abbess of that religious community, died at a good old age and was buried in the neighbouring church , Pennant Melangell. Over the centuries it became and still is a place of pilgrimage.
Pennant Melangell is set in the Berwyn Mountains, built within a Bronze Age site, ringed by 2000 year old yew trees and has been totally restored for pilgrims.
St. Melangell’s Feast Day is 27th May, which is also my birthday.