Gool Peran Lowen
St. Piran is the patron saint of tin miners and often regarded as the national saint of Cornwall. However he was born and raised on the island of Cape Clear off County Cork Ireland, and named Kieran by his father Lughaidh and mother Liedania. After studying scriptures in Rome he returned to Ireland and was made a bishop, he performed a number of miracles which made the kings worried. So they banished him, by tying a mill stone around his neck and throwing him off the cliffs into the stormy sea. Instead of sinking to the bottom the storm cleared and the mill stone floated Kieran all the way to Perran beach between Newquay and Perranporth in Cornwall, this is where he became known as Piran. He built a tiny oratory in the Penhale sands and his first converts to Christianity are said to be a badger, a bear and a fox. He discovered tin completely by accident, by using a large black stone as part of his fire place, the fire was hotter than normal and so white tin ore began to flow from it from the stone. He was delighted with his discovery, and he told the Cornish, who soon capitalized on this natural resource and so begun the lucrative Cornish tin trade. As a result of his find St. Piran became the patron saint of tin miners and this, his most enduring legacy features as a white cross set on a black background on the Cornish flag. Known to having a fondness of drink, which is said that eventually led to his demise, as he either drank himself to death or fell down a well under the influence of strong ale. Either way he lived to a ripe old age of 206, and is claimed had never lost his youthful appearance.
St Piran Look
On the 5th of March every year the life of St Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall and tin miners, is celebrated. This year the 5th landed on a Monday, and I spent the morning working with a group of 8 Year 5 students from Perranporth Primary School. With Perranporth being the place where the patron saint was said to reside, the local school takes great pride in celebrating his life taking part in the parade and teaching the children the story of St Piran. During the time I spent with the students, I asked them to complete two tasks the first was to draw what they thought St Piran looked like, without any guidance from myself they completed this task with a great results.
HE LOOKS FREAKY!
“Did he kill anyone?”
“He wouldn’t be a saint if he killed someone”
He would look like a girl if he didnâ€™t have a beard.
A MIX OF...
BUT ONE THING IS FOR SURE...
HE HAS A BEARD
For the second part of my visit I asked the children to roughly draw items they think could symbolise Cornwall. These could be anything, from an object to a landmark, or from a building to an activity. To begin with I gave six examples of what I thought could be symbols for Cornwall, then asked them to think of different ones.
Star Gazy Pie
Thanks to Perranporth Primary School, the Year 5 students who worked with me: Amber Chloe Roggers Hannah Regan Lucy Blanks
Ben Gorman Huw Owen Jack Farr Jay Elford
And Linda Kelly for taking phtographs.
As part of a university project I visited a Cornish primary school and worked with students looking at the Cornish saint Pirran.