Nest was the wife of Maelgwn Gwynedd, King of Gwynedd during the early 6th century, a man utterly eviscerated by Gildas in his ‘De excidio et conquestu Britanniae’, and a man whose reputation has lent itself to legend. Nest was bathing in the waters of the River Elwy one morning, when to her horror, she found that the ring presented to her by her husband had slipped from her finger and was lost in the waters of the river. The ring was ancient, and had been handed down through generations of Maelgwn’s line. Not known for having a calm temper, Nest was terrified of her husband’s response.
She approached St Asaph for advice, and he calmed her, explaining that all would be well. At dinner that evening in the Great Hall of Maelgwn, St Asaph told Maelgwn of the loss. Immediately, Maelgwn was all rage, but Asaph explained to him the importance of love before possessions, how God valued love before mere jewels. Eventually, Maelgwn calmed, and comforted his sobbing wife.
St Asaph stood and made to serve the king and his queen at their table, bringing to them a huge salmon caught that day in the River Elwy. On cutting open the fish, a ring fell onto the table before the astonished couple. Before them was the ancient ring of Gwynedd.
The legend of Nest and the ring can be seen in the stained glass window of St Asaph Cathedral.