St Piran's Day

St Piran is a patron saint of Cornwall and his feast day is on Friday 5th March.

Legend has it that in the 5th century he sailed over from Ireland on a millstone( more likely a  coracle ) and landed on the beach near the village which bears his name, Perranporth, the bay or cove of Piran.

St Piran's cross on the Penhale sand - dunes marks the spot where he landed. 
(Penhale Sands  is the largest area of sand dunes in Britain.)

He staggered up the beach into the sand-dunes, or towans, where he established his oratory and gathered many converts to his Christian faith. 

The Oratory is one of the earliest surviving Christian buildings in Britain. 
It is amazing to realise that in the Middle Ages pilgrims came to pay homage here on their way to Compostela in Spain

After great storms his oratory eventually became buried in the sand and was only re-discovered in 1835 which is why the inhabitants talk of “The Lost Church”. 

The St Piran Trust is working with the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council to develop an archaeological project to uncover the Oratory, conserve the remains and make it accessible to the general public.

St Piran also reputedly discovered the method of smelting tin. Piran lit a fire on his black hearthstone, which was evidently a slab of tin-bearing ore. 
The heat caused smelting to take place and tin rose to the top in the form of a white cross 
For this reason he is also the patron saint of tin miners. 

St Piran's flag shows the hot white tin against the black stone. 

Descendents of Cornish settlers - mostly miners - celebrate St Piran's Day all over this fair globe. They have a big presence in Australia.

No comments: