Oil Dedicated to St Melangell
St Melangell (Latin: Monacella) was a Welsh virgin who died in 590. Her feast day is celebrated on 27 May. The daughter of an Irish king. She went to Powys in central Wales to become a hermit. The prince of Powys, Brochwel Ysgithrog. Granted her land after meeting her on a hunting trip, and she founded a community of women, serving as abbess for 37 years. Her shrine remains at St Melangell’s Church, Pennant Melangell.
The church of St Melangell is set in a circular churchyard. Possibly once a Bronze Age burial site, ringed by ancient yew trees. Which may also predate the Christian era. It sits at the foot of a breast-shaped hill,at the edge of the road on the edge of the Berwyn mountains. Also located at the site is the restored shrine of St Melangell, which is reputedly the oldest Romanesque shrine in Britain, dating from the early 12th century.
The shrine is known for the story of St Melangell. Who is said in the Historia Divae Monacellae to have hidden a hare. In the folds of her cloak to save it from the hounds of Prince Brochwel of Powys: “the pursuing hounds. Presumably aware that Melangell’s body radiates sanctity. Cower and refuse to go near the animal,” Jane Cartwright notes, adding, “the power of her virginity protects the creature, since feminine sanctity and virginity are inextricably linked”.
Though he encouraged his dogs, they could not be urged forward while the virgin remained at prayer. And when his huntsmen went to blow his horn. It stuck to his lips. So impressed was Brochwel by the beauty and courage of this virginalyoung girl. Who had fled from Ireland to avoid a forced marriage