Melangell and her lambs

A long time ago in the valley of Pennant, near Llangynog, lived Princess Melangell. She was sad because her father wanted her to marry Prince Brochwel, who could defeat his enemies. She prayed for guidance, and wandered out into the valley, where she slept in a woodland glade. It was so beautiful she decided to stay. Brochwel and his hunting dogs burst through the forest chasing a frightened hare. The hare hid under Melangell’s skirts, the dogs cowered. Brochwel called off the hunt and let Melangell stay. Still no-one dares kill a hare there, as they are “Ŵyn Melangell” (Melangell’s Lambs).

Melangell a’i ŵyn

Amser maith yn ôl, roedd Y Dywysoges Melangell yn byw yn nyffryn Pennant, ger Llangynog. Carodd hi natur ac roedd pawb yn ei charu hi. Ond roedd hi’n drist. Roedd ei thad eisiau iddi hi briodi’r Tywysog Brochwel, am iddo fo fod yn gynghreiriad yn erbyn ei elynion. Gweddiodd Melangell am gyngor. Wedyn aeth i grwydro yn bell yn y dyffryn, nes iddi orfod cysgu yno dros nos. Yn y bore, roedd popeth mor hardd fel y penderfynodd hi aros. Yn nes ymlaen daeth Brochwel i’r goedwig i hela. Rhedodd ysgyfarnog i Melangell am help: fe’i chadwodd yn ddiogel. Felly rhoddodd Brochwel y dyffryn i Melangell fel noddfa i’r anifeiliaid gwyllt. Hyd ay heddiw, i bobl yr ardal, mae ysgyfarnogod yn ‘Ŵyn bach Melangell’.

And below is a creative take on the story told in English by young people at Newtown Young Storytellers Club during a meeting at Newtown High School led by storyteller Amy Douglas.

More about the Montgomeryshire Folktales project

In 1947 the Montgomeryshire History Teachers Committee commissioned a book ‘The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories’ of site-specific tales passed down through Montgomeryshire communities for generations, rewritten as a local history resource for schools.

During 2019/20 Mythstories was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales to turn the 1947 book into an on-line resource.

Mythstories commissioned storyteller Amy Douglas and visual artist Helen Kozich to work with young people in Newtown, Powys and help them re-interpret the tales for their peers. Videos of the young people telling the stories in many different ways are among the Montgomeryshire folktales on this website.

Storyteller Tamar Williams ran two day-long stagecraft workshops for young people at Theatr Hafren, Newtown.

Artists Ed Fisher and Imogen Phillips were commissioned to produce black-and-white illustrations of each location, for a series of postcards and use on this website.

Ashley Thomas edited the videos of the storytellings.

Many volunteers helped:
Members of Bangor University Storytelling Soc. produced the English précis of the stories for the postcard series
Fiona Collins, Alison Layland and Tamar Williams produced the Welsh précis of the stories for the postcard series.
Members of Llangollen’s Caffi Stori visited each of the sites, took photos and reported back to the artists on the locations.

a photograph of the shrine to the Saint in St Melangell’s Church taken in 2019

And organisations leant their support:
Newtown Library and Newtown High School hosted a Newtown Young Storytellers Club and Penygloddfa Primary School, Caersws Primary School and Abermule Primary School hosted “Story in a Day” workshops.
Theatr Hafren hosted the stagecraft workshops and the final celebratory event
Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council funded storytelling performances to school children in Newtown to help promote the project.

Thank You All!

The full teachers resource is at