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Saint Piran

Saint Piran travelled from Ireland to Cornwall sometime in the 4th century as Bishop. Several writings attest that he was exiled from Ireland from jealous fellow monks when it was discovered that he had miraculous healing abilities. Another legend holds that a group of pagan Irish captured Saint Piran and tied him to a mill-stone. Once tied to the stone, the group then rolled him off a cliff into the sea where he miraculously was able to float on the water until he landed at the beach of Perranzabuloe in Cornwall.

It was at Cornwall that he established himself as a hermit. Not long after his arrival, word of his austerity and miracle working attracted people all over the countryside who came to him for help. As this group around him continued to grow, Saint Piran established the Abbey of Lanpiran with Saint Piran serving as Abbot. Though the Roman's had initially smelted tin in the area, the art of smelting tin had been lost for many many years. Saint Piran had a black hearthstone at the church and one day the tin smelt up and out of the stone to form a white cross atop the black stone. This white cross on a black square formed the future image of Saint Piran's flag. When he died around 480 AD, he was buried at Perranzabuloe, Cornwall. Many years later his remains were exhumed and redistributed across England. Exeter Cathedral possesses one of his arms and Saint Piran's Old Church holds his head. The relic of his head was preserved by a bequeathment from Sir John Arundell in 1443.

Cornwall flag of Saint Piran

Today Cornwall celebrates Saint Piran's Day on March 5 of each year. As Celtic heritage and traditions have resurged Saint Piran's Day has become a larger and larger celebration each year. The Village of Perranporth hosts a large annual inter-Celtic festival of Lowender Peran. In the city of Cornwall there are marches, festivals and Cornish-themed events with attendees wearing black, white and gold. The week leading up to March 5 is often referred to as Perrantide and an 19th century Cornish expression attests to the fun celebration - "Drunk as a perraner". A play about the life of Saint Piran has been enacted each year in Cornish since 2000 and a popular event is to march across the dunes to Saint Piran's cross carrying the Cornish flag.

Saint Piran's Day

Cross of Saint Piran

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