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 The Shrine Church of St Melangell, Pennant Melangell 


Picture of St Melangell’s church

Shrine Guardian

The Rev’d Lynette Norman B.Ed. SCP
The Melangell Centre
Pennant Melangell
Llangynog, Powys, SY10 0HQ

Tel: 01691 860408
Email:



COMMUNITY

Pennant Melangell is situated two miles from the village of Llangynog. The very rural situation at the end of the valley makes it a beautiful and tranquil place, much appreciated by those seeking tranquillity and peace. Since its restoration in 1992 the remarkable mediæval church, with its shrine containing the bones of the seventh century St Melangell, has attracted visitors and pilgrims from all over the world.

There is now no village at Pennant Melangell which is reached by a narrow two-mile lane, with passing places, from Llangynog where there are two inns where refreshments are available. Please be aware that there are NO public toilet facilities at Pennant Melangell, but there are at the public car park in Llangynog.


WORSHIP

The Church is open every day:

9am - 6pm from Easter to October

9am - 4pm from November to Easter

Sunday

3pm

Evening Service (2.30pm during winter months)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

9.15am
12 noon

5.30pm

Morning Prayer
Liturgy of Healing and Wholeness where the laying on of hands and the anointing with healing oil is offered
Evening Liturgy (3.30 pm during winter months)

Thursday

9.15am
12 noon


5.30pm

Morning Prayer
Holy Eucharist with Liturgy of Healing and Wholeness where the laying on of hands and the anointing with healing oil is offered
Evening Liturgy (3.30 pm during winter months)

There is a tradition of serving tea and cake after the Sunday afternoon service at the Centre. (If you are attending as a group could you please let us know to help with catering arrangements.)

For Special Services and programme of events please see the notice board at the Church and at the Centre as well as the website. Other services by arrangement with the Priest Guardian of the Shrine.


HISTORY of ST MELANGELL

Painting of St Melangell’s church

St Melangell’s, one of Wales’s ‘Hundred Best Churches’, lies in a remote and beautiful spot at the head of the Tanat Valley. It is set in a circular churchyard, possibly once a Bronze Age burial site, ringed by some of the country’s finest ancient yews which may also predate the Christian era. In its location and atmosphere it typifies the special qualities of a Welsh country church.

The first church on the site is said to have been founded in the 7th Century by Melangell, the daughter of an Irish king, who dwelt here as a hermit. One day the Prince of Powys came hunting, and a hare took refuge under Melangell’s cloak. The Prince’s dogs fled howling and, deeply impressed, he gave her the valley as a sanctuary. Ever since Pennant Melangell has been a place of pilgrimage, and Melangell remains the patron saint of hares.

There has been a Christian Church here for over 1200 years. Its setting, in a place of great beauty deep in the Berwyn Mountains, is peaceful and unspoilt. Parts of the building date from the 12th Century though the most recent, a rebuilding of the apse on its original foundations, was completed only in 1990. The impression is still that of a simple Norman church, well loved and beautified over the years.

In 1987, the church was in such a poor state that repair was impossible and a full-scale restoration was necessary if it was to be saved. This work was begun in 1988 under the Rev’d Paul Davies and his wife Evelyn, and was completed in 1992 at a cost of £170,000.

The church contains a fine 15th Century oak screen with carvings that tell the story of Melangell and Prince Brochwel. There are also two medieval effigies, one of which is thought to represent the saint; a Norman font, a Georgian pulpit, chandelier and commandment board, a series of stone carvings of the hare by the sculptor Meical Watts, and the mysterious Giant’s Rib.

Within St Melangell’s church, above the screen, is the bronze figure of the risen Christ with arms outstretched, symbolising the compassionate Jesus, welcoming in the broken, the suffering, the fearful and the lost and all who seek the healing love of God in their lives.

The church’s greatest treasure is the 12th Century shrine of Saint Melangell. This was dismantled after the Reformation and its stones, carved with a strange blend of Romanesque and Celtic motifs, were built into the walls of the church and lych-gate. They were reassembled in the last century and have now been re-erected in the chancel. It is unparalleled in Northern Europe and is visited by pilgrims from all over Britain and beyond.

There is a small shop under the tower, and the first floor tower room contains a display of old photographs of the area and another on local wildlife. Nearby is the St Melangell Centre, a Christian Centre for counselling, reflection and pastoral care.


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Last updated 24th June 2015.