The history of the Shrine is taken from the website but I cannot find the link. Sorry.
|Statue of Our Lady of Penrhys in Cardiff's St David's Cathedral|
The beginning of devotion to Mary at Penrhys is shrouded in legend but it is certain that from Medieval times there was a Shrine to Our Lady of Penrhys that flourished for many years.
In 1179 the Cistercian monks founded an Abbey at Llantarnam, and in 1205, Llantarnam Abbey and Margam Abbey agreed on a boundary between the two monasteries, which meant that Penrhys was within the boundary of Llantarnam, some 25 miles away. The monks built a grange there, enabling them to care for their land and sheep in the outer regions of their property. The original complex of buildings also included a hostelry maintained by the monks for the pilgrims, and possibly a grange farm house.
Tradition has it that an image of Mary was discovered in an oak tree and, as news spread, crowds of ordinary men and women flocked from far and wide. The statue was thought to have been immovable from the oak tree until a Shrine chapel had been erected on top of Penrhys Mountain, just above the Holy Well. Over the well stands a small stone hut-like structure. ‘White wine runs in the rill,’ said one poet,‘ that can kill pain and fatigue.’
During the time of the Reformation in 1538, the shrine was destroyed and the image seized under cover of darkness. Thomas Cromwell instructed his emissaries to act ‘with quietness and secret manner as might be’ but were confronted by an ‘audience’ who we can assume had to be overawed before the image could be taken away to Chelsea and burned in the same fire as the images of Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of Ipswich. (and possibly, Our Lady of the Taper) ‘It will not be all day in burning,’ said Latimer in a letter to Cromwell.
Although the Shrine was destroyed, it is recorded by William Llewellyn, writing in 1862, that in the previous twenty years, there were accounts of people making pilgrimages to the top of Penrhys Mountain. The Roman Catholic Archbishop Michael McGrath (1940-1961) furthered the modern popularity of the Shrine. He was anxious to purchase the land on the top of Penrhys Mountain for the Roman Catholic Church in Wales. A statue of Our Lady of Penrhys was erected in 1953 which stands on the foundations of the former chapel.