St. Piran's Oratory
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Excerpts from "In the Shadow of Saint Piran" by Eileen Carter
People loved their saint so much that they wanted to be, in death as in life, as close to him as possible and so the oratory thrived for centuries. During this time sand threatened the building. There is nothing written down and we can only surmise what happened. Was there a big sand bar at sea? Or dunes further into and across the bay, the sea level being lower? Here again spare time for thought and speculation. There is certainly an inconceivable amount of sand all along the north Cornish coastal areas. The threat became so intolerable that the people were forced to consider another site for the new church.
This must have been a very traumatic decision for them, to abandon the place of their beloved saint; but eventually nature decided for them, and a new site was decided upon, a few minutes walk to the east, across a small stream. Still within sight of the oratory, the people took heart, knowing that the towering dunes could not cross water.
We cannot be sure that the
oratory building now reburied in sand is the original structure of St. Piran.
Some academics believe that stone was not in use in the 6th century, but the
very hallowed spot Piran chose would have been where the little oratory was
built. Whatever the argument of time scale, no one can say with certainty,
so once again we must ponder and make up our own minds: 5th, 6th, or 7th
centuries: does it matter? We know that a date of great antiquity lies
here. we also know that a graveyard of immense proportions is buried under