Saint Melangell’s Church
We discovered this historic Welsh Church some years ago and completely by accident. We were exploring the Berwyn Hills and Valleys in North Wales tracing some of its industrial heritage. We headed down this narrow and very beautiful valley on a little used road to Pennant Melangell and there nestling below the mellow green hills is this little Church. Before I tell you how it came to be there let me tell you a little of its history. Built before the 7th century, substantially rebuilt in the 12th century and subject to major refurbishment in the late 20th century. The shrine of Saint Melangell is a spectacular feature of the interior and draws worshipers from far and wide.
Now for the Story:-
There once was a Prince by the name of Brochwel hunting in the valley of Pennant. His hounds put up a Hare that after a chase went to cover in a thicket. When the Prince investigated he found a young virgin by the name of Melangell at prayer and the Hare hiding beneath her long robes. The hounds would not approach and in fact took off despite the huntsman’s best efforts to seek out the Hare. Prince Brochwel ask the young girl her name and her intentions. She told the Prince that she had come to this tranquil and serene valley to seek refuge and peaceful sanctuary. The Prince was so impressed with her godliness that he granted the valley to her…..so it is here that Melangell founded her religious community.
And what a perfect location for such and intriguing church than a tranquil valley deep in the heart of the Berwyn Mountains.
Cwm Pennant, the Berwyn’s
Thank god for Hares and Virgins….. and of course an Honourable Prince
(C) David Oakes 2016