SHRINE TO LOVE

Landscape (UK) - - Our Land Scape -

St Dwyn­wen’s Day, on Jan­uary 25, is Wales’ own ver­sion of St Valen­tine’s Day. Cards and gifts, such as love spoons, are ex­changed, es­pe­cially among Welsh-speak­ing peo­ple. Dwyn­wen was a 4th cen­tury princess who fell in love with a lo­cal boy named Maelon, but her fa­ther, King Brychan Brychein­iog, had al­ready ar­ranged for her to marry a prince. Leg­end has it that Maelon took the news badly, so the dis­traught Dwyn­wen begged God for help. He sent down an an­gel who gave her a po­tion to help her for­get Maelon, and turned him into a block of ice. God then granted Dwyn­wen three wishes. Her first was that Maelon be thawed; the sec­ond, that God help all true lovers; and thirdly, that she should never marry. Dwyn­wen be­came a nun, set­ting up a con­vent on An­gle­sey’s Lland­dwyn Is­land, and be­came known as the pa­tron saint of lovers. Pil­grim­ages were made to the is­land, al­though it is at­tached to the main­land by a nar­row fin­ger of land in all but the high­est tides. Of­fer­ings left at her shrine funded St Dwyn­wen’s Church, and its ru­ins re­main where the pri­ory once stood. This small church dates from the 16th cen­tury, its build­ing funded by the pil­grims’ of­fer­ings.

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