St Melangell

Saint Melangell was born in Wales and died in 590. Her feast day is celebrated on May 27th.

She was the daughter of an Irish king who dedicated her life to God. According to Thomas Pennant, a Welsh antiquarian who related her history, her father had desired that she marry a nobleman.

The princess refused, however. She made a vow of celibacy. When her father tried to force the marriage, she fled.

Ending up in Powys in central Wales, she became a hermit. After living alone for 15 years and not setting eyes upon any man, she encountered the prince of Powys, Brochwel Ysgithrog while he was out hunting hares.

Pursuing his game into a thicket, the prince was startled to discover the beautiful virgin St. Melangell. Standing and engaged in deep devotions, her robes provided safety to the hare. The sporting hounds would not approach her but instead retreated howling. When the huntsman blew his horn to call them out, it stuck to his lips.

The prince conversed with the princess. Upon hearing her story, he was so impressed with her devotion that he granted her land on which she founded a sanctuary for women. Here she served as abbess there for 37 years and was buried at a nearby church where her shrine still remains. It is known as St. Melangell’s Church or Pennant Melangell.

Visitors can still see her rocky bed there and visit her tomb in its own small oratory which adjoins the main church. The last of her relics can be seen in the surrounding churchyard where a wooden carving shows an image of the saint to which many hares are running for protection. She is considered their Patroness and they were known as ‘Oen Melangell’ (St. Monacella’s Lambs).