Diocesan press releases

Bishop opposes increased shooting close to Europe’s oldest surviving Romanesque Shrine in Powys

The Bishop of St Asaph has forcefully added his voice to opposition to applications to extend commercial shooting close to Europe’s oldest Romanesque Shrine in the peaceful Llangynog Valley near Pennant Melangell.

The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron has written to the planning authority, Powys Council, urging them to refuse the new application and resist plans which would damage the peace and tranquillity of the valley around St Melangell’s Church, which attracts pilgrims from around the world.

Llangynog Valley is part of the Diocese of St Asaph which stretches from Kerry, near Newtown in Powys to Llandundo in Conwy.   In his letter of objection, Bishop Gregory stated: “I wish to place on record again my objections to situate a clay pigeon shoot facility in the Llangynog Valley near Pennant Melangell.

“Any such permissions would be highly detrimental to the present users of the valley, which include the many pilgrims who come to the valley to visit the Shrine Church of St Melangell.  As Bishop of St Asaph, the Church of St Melangell is one of my churches, a building which was recently described as THE single most holy site in the United Kingdom in a major book describing all such sites across the country.”

The Shrine Church of St Melangell is a world class heritage and tourist site.   Melangell, or Monacella, is thought to have been the daughter of an Irish king who fled to the valley in the sixth century to escape the marriage her father planned for her. On one occasion, while out in the countryside, she sheltered under her cloak a hare that was being hunted by Brochwel Ysgythrog, Prince of Powys and prevented his hounds from catching it.  Brochwel, impressed by her compassion and courage, gave her the valley where she was living to be a place of sanctuary.

Today, the historic church not only hosts services and retreats almost every day between March and October but is part of the Quiet Garden Movement and hosts many activities which rely on an atmosphere of peace.

Bishop Gregory added in his email of objection to planners: “A clay pigeon shoot or the introduction of the shooting of game birds…. would …. extend the period of shooting so that the peace of the valley, and the attraction of that peace to the many hundreds of visitors of all faiths and none from all over the world that seek the peace of the shrine of St Melangell, would be shattered on an almost permanent basis.”

The Diocese of St Asaph is part of the Church in Wales, an independent Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches.  The diocese is a community of 228 churches covering the counties of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and parts of Gwynedd and Powys.  It looks after 51 schools, including one shared faith secondary school.