The Welsh St Valentine

Saint Dwynwen’s Day, which is celebrated on 25th January, is known as the “Welsh St Valentine’s Day” as she is the Welsh patron saint of lovers. She is also the patron saint of sick animals. Dwynwen is believed to have been a daughter of King Brychan Brycheiniog, who lived in Anglesey in the 5th century.

Saint Dwynwen

In the tale told of her, Dwynwen fell in love with a young man named Maelon Dafodrill, but her father had already arranged for her to marry someone else. Maelon was so outraged that he raped Dwynwen and left her.

In her grief Dwynwen fled to the woods, where she begged God to make her forget Maelon. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.

Dwynwen then prayed for three requests: that Maelon be released; that, through her, God should look after all true lovers; and that she remain unmarried. She retreated to the solitude of Llanddwyn Island off the west coast of Anglesey to become a hermit until she died circa AD 460.

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