St. Piran's church
Introduction to site
The church of St Piran on Perran Sands was built in about 1150 as the nearby oratory became progressively inundated. It was enlarged in the fifteenth century and abandoned in 1804, itself succumbing to the encroaching sands. Much of the stone and interior fittings were removed to a new site further inland at Perranzabuloe, although the foundations remain, albeit in poor condition. Close to the church stands St Piran’s Cross which is possibly the cross referred to in a charter of AD 960 as “cristelmael”. The whole site is enclosed by a curvilinear earthwork and possibly represents an early monastic enclosure or “lann”.
Access and Facilities
The site can be reached by footpath across the dunes from the coastal path, or from footpaths inland.
There is a car park at Perran Sands Holiday Park, or car parking is available in laybys along the road signposted towards Trebellan and Mount from the B3285, from which a number of footpaths lead onto the dunes through kissing gates.
There are refreshments available at Perran Sands Holiday Park, and public toilets and refreshments available in the town of Perranporth.
There are bus services to Perran Sands Holiday Park. Visit the Traveline website for customised sustainable transport options.
View our interactive Access to Monuments map to find this and other nearby sites.
A settlement of Lanpiran is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086; it's precise location is unknown although it was originally believed to centre on the oratory. A series of earthworks outside the enclosure to the south may represent the remains of a church house or lych gate, as suggested by an 18th century illustration, and further farm buildings or a hamlet would be expected here as well. Traces of an early mediæval field system in the vicinity may also be associated with the church. It is also possible that the enclosure is a re-used Iron Age or Romano-British Round, suggested by the place name “Gear” meaning fortified settlement.
- Cole, R, 1997. Gear Sands, Perranzabuloe. An Archaeological Assessment. Historic Environment Service, Cornwall County Council.