Saint Melangell’s hares


Melangell 7

In the seventh century, Brochwel, Prince of Powys, was hunting hares with his pack of hounds; a hare took refuge beneath the cloak of Melangell, a young woman of such sanctity that the hounds would not go near her. Brochwel could not encourage the hounds, and the hare was saved. Brochwel gave Melangell the valley as a place of sanctuary, and her church and shrine can be found there near Llangynog. Hares were known locally as ‘Melangell’s lambs’, and the church is full with them…

Melangell 1

Melangell 3

Melangell 4

Melangell 6

Melangell 2


7 thoughts on “Saint Melangell’s hares

  1. I first found your blog while researching the author Josephine Poole on the net…and now I keep coming back. I really enjoy your mix of images and literature and comment…it’s all the stuff I like. Thanks so much!

    • What a kind comment – that’s a good thing to hear… Talking about Josephine Poole, I thought I had found one of her early books the other day in a bookshop, but it was priced at £50 so a bit out of range! Recently I did read Yokeham, one of her adult novels, which I mean to blog about sometime.

    • The website for the church says ‘there is a series 0f stone carvings of the hare by sculptor Meical Watts’ but I can’t find any further information. They are great aren’t they? Hares do seem to have become an incredibly popular subject in the last few years, I think because they always look inscrutable and otherworldly – never ‘cute’! This church is certainly the last word for hare lovers.

  2. Those stone carvings are absolutely stunning… And I love the story about Melangell. I love how these old legends are sewn so tight into the local communities, into the architecture and into the land – filled with echoes of ancient relationships to nature and to older beliefs… You seem to have found all sorts of wonderful riches of art and story on your travels in Wales. Whenever I’ve been there, that magical presence of story seems to infuse the atmosphere – tangible in the air somehow…

  3. aubrey

    I love stories and legends that embrace the animal world; it makes it seem more magical and ethereal than it already is.

    The artwork is so beautiful and honest; it reminds me of the story of the rabbit in the moon – placed there by Buddha, so that all could see its goodness.

    When I was staying in Wales, I remember peering out my window one morning (our hotel was in the country), and seeing that the adjoining meadow was full of rabbits! At breakfast, we could talk of nothing else.

    • People overlook rabbits, too common to be worth noticing, or too cute or something… I can empathise with the rabbit talk, holiday cottage last year had wild rabbits all over the back garden, all shapes and sizes, jumping in and out of flowerpots. Must have been some kind of professional rabbit troupe.

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