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Coordinates: 50°19′34″N 5°07′59″W / 50.326, -5.133
Cornish: Pyran yn Treth
Perranzabuloe Church - - 66070.jpg
Perranzabuloe parish church

Perranzabuloe is located in Cornwall

 Perranzabuloe shown within Cornwall
Population 5,382 (Civil Parish, 2001)
OS grid reference 770 520_region:GB_scale:25000 SW 770 520
Unitary authority Cornwall
Ceremonial county Cornwall
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town TRURO
Postcode district TR4
Dialling code 01872
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Truro & Falmouth
List of places: UK • England • Cornwall

Remains of St Piran's Old Church

St Piran's Cross

Perranzabuloe (Cornish: Pyran yn Treth[1]) is a coastal civil parish and a hamlet in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The hamlet (containing the parish church) is situated just over a mile (2 km) south of the principal settlement of the parish, Perranporth; the hamlet is also seven miles (11 km) south-southwest of Newquay.[2][3] Other settlements in the parish include Perrancoombe, Goonhavern, Mount and Callestick.[4]

Perranzabuloe parish is bordered to the west by the Atlantic coast and St Agnes parish, to the north by Cubert parish, to the east by St Newlyn East and St Allen parishes and to the south by Kenwyn parish.[5] The parish population was 5,382 in the 2001 census.[6]

The name of the parish derives from the medieval Latin Perranus in Sabulo meaning Piran in the sand. It refers to Saint Piran (the patron saint of Cornwall) who founded an oratory church in the seventh century near the coast north of Perranporth.

In medieval times the parish of Perranzabuloe was a peculiar of Exeter Cathedral. Perranzabuloe at that time exercised ecclesiastic control of St Agnes: the latter's church was a chapelry of Perranzabuloe. In 1846 St Agnes became a separate ecclesiastical parish.[6]

St Piran's Oratory and Old Church[]

The site of the oratory of St Piran is in the extensive sand dunes known as Penhale Sands.[7] Legend has it that St Piran landed on Perran beach from his native Ireland and built the oratory in the Irish style. The first oratory was probably built of wattle and daub and replaced in stone at a later date. The oratory was very simple in plan and was barely 30 feet (9.1 m) long.

The encroachment of the sand led to the oratory being abandoned in the 10th century. The noted 17th century antiquary Richard Carew wrote: St Piran too well brooketh his name in Sabuloe: for the sand carried up by the north wind from the seashore daily continueth covering and marring the land adjoinant, so as the distress of this deluge drove the inhabitants to remove their church. Howbeit when it meeteth with any crossing brook, the same (by a secret apathy) restraineth and barreth his farther encroaching that way. It was in consequence of this notion that the inhabitants, thinking such situation secure, removed their church only about 300 yards, it being on the opposite side of the brook.[8]

When the oratory was abandoned, another church (now known as St Piran's Old Church, 50°21′57.04″N 5°8′2.88″W / 50.3658444, -5.1341333) was built nearby on the inland side of the stream. As mentioned by Carew (above) it was thought the stream would protect the church from encroachment by sand. This proved to be the case for several hundred years and the church, completed by the 12th century, was enlarged in 1462. However, mining for tin caused the stream to dry up and eventually the church was engulfed by the dunes. The last service was held in 1795 after which the old church was partially dismantled and the materials used to build a new church inland. However, the old church's graveyard was used for burials until 1835 before sand enveloped it.[9]

The oratory site was excavated in 1910 but the remains of the stone building are now buried in the sand again. The site of St Piran's Old Church and the 10th century cross next to it was excavated in 1919.[10][11]

St Piran's Cross (believed to be the earliest recorded stone cross in Cornwall) stands in the dunes between the oratory site and the graveyard of the old church. It is dedicated to tinners and miners and stands 8 feet (2.4 m) high.[12]

In Saxon times there was also a monastery (known as Lanpiran or Lamberran) near the oratory site but it was disendowed c1085 by Robert of Mortain.[6] The relics of St Piran were preserved in St Prian Old Church which became a 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.

Parish church[]

The present parish church is situated in Perranzabuloe hamlet at grid reference 770 521_region:GB_scale:25000 SW 770 521. It was dedicated to St Piran in July 1805.[6] Much of the structure is built of materials retrieved from St Piran's Old Church.

Perranzabuloe church has a chancel and nave, a south aisle, and north and south transepts. One of the aisles is known as the Chyverton aisle and housed a pew belonging to the notable local family. The three-stage tower is battlemented, pinnacled and houses a ring of three bells.[6]

St Piran's Day events[]

St Piran's Day is celebrated on 5 March. The main event in the parish is a march across the dunes to St Piran's Cross. Thousands of people attend, generally dressed in black, white and gold, and carrying Saint Piran's Flag, generally known as the flag of Cornwall. A play of the Life of St Piran, spoken in Cornish, has been enacted in recent years at the event. Daffodils are also carried and placed at the cross.

Perranporth hosts the annual inter-Celtic festival of 'Lowender Peran' which is also named in honour of St Piran.

Notable people[]

  • Ralph Dunstan, musician, buried in the churchyard
  • Donald Healey, rally driver, automobile engineer, speed record holder, born in the parish


  1. ^ "Cornish Place Names". Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 204 Truro & Falmouth ISBN 9780319231494
  3. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 200 Newquay & Bodmin ISBN 9780319229385
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey: Explorer Map 104 Redruth & St Agnes ISBN 9780319237052
  5. ^ Cornwall Council online mapping Retrieved June 2010
  6. ^ a b c d e GENUKI website; Perranzabuloe; retrieved May 2010
  7. ^ St Piran's Oratory'; Morley B Collins; 1910
  8. ^ St Piran website; Oratory. Retrieved June 2010
  9. ^ Cornwall Calling website; St Pirans Old Church. Retrieved June 2010
  10. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall, 2nd ed. Penguin Books
  11. ^ Cornwall Calling website; St Pirans Oratory. Retrieved June 2010
  12. ^ website; St Piran's Cross. Retrieved June 2010

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Perranzabuloe. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.