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The ruins of St Dwynwen's Church, Llanddwyn Island.
The ruins of St Dwynwen's Church, Llanddwyn Island.

 

 

Dwynwen, also known as Saint Dwynwen, Dwyn, Donwen and Donowenna, was a Welsh saint. The Patron of lovers, she lived in 5th century, and was a daughter of King Brychan Brycheiniog. Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, but unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should wed another man. Maelon was so outraged by Brychan's refusals that he raped and left Dwynwn. In her grief Dwynwen fled to the woods where she prayed to God, begging to forget Maelon. Answering her prayers, an angel visited Dwynwen and gave her a potion which helped her to forget him and turn him to ice. God then granted Dwynwen three requests. The first was that God would look kindly on the hopes and dreams of true lovers, the second was that she was never to marry, and her final request was have Maelon thawed. Her wishes became true, and as thanks she devoted the remainder of her life to God.
The church and the nearby well has attracted pilgrimages from many people over the centuries, particularly from young lovers seeking assurance of their future lives together. The water of the well is said to be the home for a magical and sacred fish whose behaviour and movements predict the future for young lovers. Questions are asked of the fish and the answers are determined by the direction in which it moves. Women test the faithfulness of their husbands by sprinkling breadcrumbs into the water and then placing a handkerchief on the surface. The husband is deemed faithful if the fish disturb the surface. Visitors to the well believe that if the water boils while they are present, then love and good luck will surely follow.