Monday, 2 May 2016

Our Lady's Month of May, 2016. Our Lady of Penrhys.

 I do love the dedication of the month of May to Our Blessed Lady and I have very fond memories of it from my Anglo-Catholic days.

Last year I followed the scheme of flowers and virtues described by Fr Lasance; this year I intend to look at some of the shrines or pilgrimage statues/icons of Our Lady.

I will start with one close to home, the mediaeval pilgrimage shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys, destroyed in 1538 at the Reformation. 

Penrhys is a small village in South Wales, situated on a slope overlooking the twin valleys of Rhondda Fawr and Rhondda Fach.   The  famed pilgrimage statue was found embedded in an oak tree and resisted all efforts to remove it until a small chapel was built nearby, when the statue was finally able to be lifted up.

The original shrine was very thoroughly destroyed but in 1953 a new statue made of Portland stone was made and placed on the site. Pilgrimages (
including ecumenical ones) continue to be made as well as a steady stream of individual pilgrim visitors.

Our Lady Of Penrhys

(Photograph by Peter Hopson

The Holy Well still exists and has been restored by the local council. It is the oldest recorded Christian site in the Rhondda.  The mediaeval poet Rhisiart ap Rhys said :
"There are rippling waters at the top of the rock
Farewell to every ailment that desires them!
White wine runs in the rill,
That can kill pain and fatigue!"
The Little Church, Penrhys, Rhondda
(Photos of the Well from

Water trickling from the Holy Well outflow:

The Spring at the bottom of the little church, Penrhys, Rhondda

There are lots more stunning shots of the statue and surrounding area to be viewed here

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