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24 September 2014

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St Piran's Day
Supporters at the march
Supporters at the processional play
Amongst other celebrations for St Piran's Day the annual performance and march through the dunes at Perranporth has become an important event.
Hear and read an account of a BBC Radio 4 Canadian "ramble" in search of the lost church.

Find out more about the south west coast path which will take you past the site of the oratory.

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+ St Piran reputedly lived until he was 206!

+ It's believed that St Piran and the Irish holy man Ciaran are one and the same.

+ The St Piran's flag's colours of black and white signify the white tin on the black hearth.
View a printable version of this page.

According to legend St Piran was born in Ireland in the 6th century. He was renowned for his miraculous deeds but a group of kings grew afraid of his powers. They put a millstone round his neck and threw him from a cliff into the sea. As he fell thunder and lightening raged around him but, as he reached the sea level, the tempest calmed and he floated on the stone towards the Cornish shore.

The performance
The performance in the dunes

After days at sea he landed on the beach that bears his name Perranporth...the cove or harbour of St Piran...on the north coast. He built a chapel in the sand dunes and the Cornish people flocked to see him as news of his teachings spread further afield. (Nowadays people come from all over the world to trace the history of this oratory and the so called "lost church".

The story unfolds
The story unfolds

One day he noticed a stream of silver white metal flowing from the black stone of his hearth. He went on to teach the local people how to extract the mineral - tin - from the rock. The resulting celebrations lasted many days and gave rise to the expression "drunk as a Perraner". Over the years the reputation of "Saint" Piran grew and now his image and flag are recognised all over the world.

St Piran and the coracle
St Piran and his coracle

Each year, St Piran's story is retold in a drama on the dunes near Perranporth's "lost" church on the Sunday nearest to March 5. These community projects - based in the parish of Perranzabuloe - have become increasingly popular over the years with the performaces attracting "one and all" from all over the world.

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