BBC Countryfile and CPAT at Pennant Melangell
Chris Martin, Regional Archaeologist with the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust got the chance to be a TV star in February when a team from BBC Countryfile interviewed him at the beautiful Church of Saint Melangell in the remotest reaches of the Tanat Valley in NW Montgomeryshire. Questioned in front of the camera by Michaela Strachan, Chris explained that the earliest activity on the site dated to the Bronze Age, and spoke about the long history of the church, the shrine to the early medieval Saint Melangell (possibly the oldest Romanesque shrine in Britain) and the archaeological work undertaken there by CPAT in the 1980s.
The legend of Saint Melangell tells of Prince Brochwel Ysgithrog of Pengwern who, whilst hunting in a place called Pennant in the 8th century, started a hare and with his hounds gave chase. They came to a thicket of brambles and thorns wherein he found a beautiful maiden, given up to divine contemplation, the hare lying boldly under the hem of her garments. So impressed by her piety and serenity was the Prince that he gave her land, and built for her a place of sanctuary for the service of God (Walley, N.
Saints of North Wales – Saint Melangell on-line). Further information about St Mellangell's can also be found in the
CPAT churches database, and on the church's own web site at
The Shrine Church of St Melangell.
Right: CPAT's Chris Martin being interviewed by Michaela Strachan of BBC Countryfile.