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Remains of St Piran's Old Church.
Perranzabuloe is a civil parish and village in Cornwallmarker, Englandmarker, in the United Kingdommarker. It contains the villages of Perranporthmarker, Mellingy, Penhallow, Callestock, Bolingeymarker and Perrancoombe. The name derives from the medieval Latin 'Perranus in Sabulo' (Piran in the sand) and belonged originally to the site of the oratory.

Abandoned churches

The sites of the oratory of St Piran and of an abandoned medieval church are in the parish as well as the present Parish Church of St Piran at Lambourne which dates from 1804. However large parts of the structure were taken and reused from the earlier church on a site nearer the coast including the tower and in 1879 alterations were made to introduce more elements of Cornish Medieval style. The earlier church was built in the 12th century and enlarged in 1462: the new building had become necessary because of the encroachment of sand dunes on the oratory in the Penhale Sands. The oratory is thought to be of the 6th or 7th centuries and very simple in plan (only 29’ 6” long): it was excavated and then protected by a concrete bunker in 1910. The 12th century church site has also since been excavated (in 1919) and a cross of the tenth (?) century stands next to it. In Anglo-Saxon times there was an important monastery (known as Lanpiran or Lamberran) at the oratory site but it was disendowed ca. 1085 by Robert of Mortain. The later church preserved the relics of St Piran and was a major centre of pilgrimage: the relics are recorded in an inventory made in 1281 and were still venerated in the reign of Queen Mary I according to Nicholas Roscarrock's account.

It is believed that Saint Piran founded the church near to Perranporth (the "Lost Church") in the seventh century. Buried under sand for many centuries, it was unearthed early in the twentieth century, but again left to the mercy of the sands in the 1970s. Plans are now afoot to make it accessible once more.

St Piran's Day events

The largest St Piran's Day event is the march across the dunes to St Piran's cross which thousands of people attend, generally dressed in black, white and gold, and carrying the Cornish Flag. A play of the Life of St Piran, in Cornish, has been enacted in recent years at the event. Daffodils are also carried and placed at the cross.The village of Perranporthmarker ('Porthpyran' in Cornish) hosts the annual inter-Celtic festival of 'Lowender Peran', which is also named in honour of him.


  1. St. Piran's Oratory - Morley B Collins, 1910
  2. Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall, 2nd ed. Penguin Books

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