In 604 AD St Melangell, the Welsh patron saint of animals, said ‘No’ to hunting with hounds and the Prince of Powys made over his lands as an animal sanctuary.
The Prince of Powys, Brochwel Ysgithrog, went hare hunting at Pennant in the Derwyn Hills. His hounds pursued their prey into a bramble thicket, where he followed them and found the young woman, Melangell, with the hare lying under the fold of her garments, praying. The baying hounds also came under her calming influence. The exasperated prince gave up the chase and, impressed by her piety and courage, presented her with his lands to be a sanctuary for animals. He gave up hunting.
Melangell lived there as a solitary for 37 years, after which a church with a shrine was built over her cell. Her church remained a place of sanctuary throughout the Middle Ages and the hares continued to be protected in the parish. The conservation society, Cymdeithas Melangell, now promotes animal welfare.
One thought on “St Melangell, Patron Saint of Animals for Wales, said ‘NO’ to Hunting.”
The expression Duw a Melangell a’th gadwo – God and Melangell keepeth thee – is offered to hunted animals.
Time to reiterate that now.
Mil engyl a Melangell
Trechant lu fyddin y fall
Melangell with a thousand angels
Triumphs over all the powers of evil.
St. Melangell’s Feast Day is on May 27.