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Died c. 590 (possibly 7th or 8th century).

Melangell was a hermitess in Montgomeryshire, who later became abbess of a small community in remote Pennant Melangell (now Powys). Her church and shrine have been restored recently. She is another of those saints who cultus flourished locally long before any vita was written; the only source still available is a 15th-century version that appears to have been based on an earlier source.

In the "Historia Monacellae," which may have been written by Matthew of Westminster, Melangell is said to be the daughter of a Scottish King, Iowchel, who intended to marry her to a certain noble, but she fled and secreted herself in the hills of Pennant in Powys. There she lived, according to the history, for fifteen years without seeing the face of man, serving God and the spotless virgin.

Her story connects Melangell with King Brochwel Ysgithrog of Powys, who happened upon her while he was hunting in her neighbourhood. At that time she had been living at Pennant Melangell for 15 years after having fled from an unwanted marriage in Ireland. Brochwel gave her land for a convent and a sanctuary for the hares she had befriended.

The saint is reputed to have lived another 33 years after this encounter. The text explicitly states that she was a virgin, which may provide some that she and Saint Winifred are the only two female saints from Wales who have Latin biographies (Benedictines, Farmer).

In the little church there is some wood carving from the old rood screen depicting the story of the saint and the remains of her shrine which is now restored. A quarter of a mile away on the opposite side of the valley there is a cleft in the rock which is known as Gwely Melangell, Melangell's hard bed.

Melangell is the patron of hares and rabbits (Farmer).

Another Life:

Celtic Orthodox Church site

The Life of Saint Melangell of Wales (+ca. 590)

ST MELANGELL (whose name has been latinised as Monacella) is interesting because the incident for which she is known is a Welsh version of one that is known in various forms in several European countries. She appears in the pedigrees as a descendant of Macsen Wledig (the usurping Roman emperor Magnus Maximus), and according to her legend her father was an Irish king (probably Scottish, in its later meaning, is intended). She vowed herself to God, and when pressed to marry fled to the part of central Wales called Powys, where she remained hidden for fifteen years. Then one day the prince of Powys, Brochwel Ysgythrog, came hunting in her neighbourhood, and pursued a hare into a clearing of the forest where Melangell was at prayer. The hare ran for the shelter of her garments, and turned to face its pursuers from a fold of her skirt. Brochwel urged on his hounds, but they drew off, howling; the huntsman tried to wind his horn, but it stuck mute to his lips; and Brochwel approached the girl for an explanation. When he had heard Melangell's story of herself, he made her a present of the land on which they were standing as a perpetual refuge and place of sanctuary, in recognition of God's protection of the little wild hare in the shadow of His servant Melangell.

Accordingly she lived the rest of her life there, another thirty-seven years, gathering a community round her which she directed as abbess. But it was also a meeting-place for hares, who never showed any fear of their protectress, so that they came to be called Melangell's lambs.
The church of Pennant Melangell in Montgomeryshire claims to stand on the site of this happening, It still has some mediaeval carvings relating the story of the hare, and the shrine chapel at east end.

The Official Website of the Shrine Church of St. Melangell, which houses the oldest Romanesque Shrine in northern Europe and is a thriving Pilgrimage Centre. The site contains information for visitors and pilgrims

Woodcut of Saint Melangell

Pennant Melangell (with picture of church and surroundings)

Troparion of St Melangell
Tone 8
Preferring the rigours of monasticism to worldly status and marriage, 0 pious Melangell,
though wast fifteen years on a rock, emulating the example of the Syrian Stylites.
Wherefore, 0 Saint, pray to God that He will give us strength to serve Him as He wills,
that we may be found worthy of His great mercy.

Kontakion of St Melangell
Tone 4
Praise, glory and honour are thy due, 0 righteous Melangell,
for in consecrating thy virginity to Christ, thou didst give us a model of Christian living.
Wherefore we who keep thy festival
pray for grace to amend our lives according to thy example,
glorifying God in every word and deed.

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