St Piran's Oratory

St Piran's Oratory

Pilgrims’ progress

St Piran is known throughout Cornwall as the patron saint of tin miners, credited with rediscovering a way to smelt tin from ore, symbolised by the ubiquitous Cornish flag of a white cross on a black background (the molten tin on blackened stone).

A great place to see in Cornwall, St Piran’s Oratory at Penhale Sands near Perranporth is the oldest Christian church on mainland Britain – some 1,300 years old. The 5th century stone structure was first discovered in the late 18th century and excavated in the 1800s. It was protected by being placed inside a concrete building in 1910. That was demolished in 1980 and the church was buried in sand to preserve it. Now work is underway to excavate and conserve the church, the focal point of celebrations of the life of the saint on St Piran’s Day in March.


We love...

The St Piran Trust who kept the faith and raised the money needed to save the oratory. They were established in 2000 and, after raising funds and securing grants, work began on the site in 2014.

Don't miss...

A walk on Penhale Sands, recognised as being of national importance for its wildflowers and butterflies.