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The story of Dwynwen – patron Saint of Welsh lovers


Dwynwen was the beautiful daughter of a 5th century Welsh  king. When she was forbidden to marry the man she loved, she ran away and became a nun and devoted the rest of her life to helping other lovers find happiness. Dwynwen then became the Welsh patron saint of love, she’s celebrated each year on St Dwynwen’s Day, 25 January.


When she was a young woman, she met Maelon, the son of a neighbouring king, the couple fell in love, and planned to spend their lives together. Maelon went to ask the king for Dwynwen’s hand in marriage, but her father refused, saying that he had already arranged a suitable match for her. Maelon was furious, after taking out his anger on Dwynwen, he left in a rage. Dwynwen ran away and threw herself to the ground and cried herself to sleep. While she slept, she dreamt a spirit came to her and told her Maelon wouldn’t trouble her further because he’d been turned into a block of ice. The sprit then granted her three wishes. The kind-hearted Dwynwen told the spirit that her first wish was for Maelon to be thawed, her second was for true love to always be protected in her name and the third was that she would never again fall in love, nor marry. All three wishes came true.


Dwynwen left home to prevent her father from making her marry for power or greed and became a nun, traveled across Wales setting up churches and praying for those who were troubled in love. Her final stop was the island of Llanddwyn, off the coast of Anglesey, where the remains of Dwynwen’s church can be seen today. After Dwynwen’s death, a well was dedicated to her. Some believe that this well is the home of a sacred fish whose movements predict the future for lovers. Others say that the well sometimes boils up, and those who see it will be lucky in love.

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