Saint Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall. He was from Ireland, where they really didn't like him, to him to the ocean, threw him in with a millstone tied around his neck. Since he was a holy man, he simple stood up on the stone and surfed to Cornwall, where he landed between Newquay and Perranporth, on what is now Perran Beach. He is now the patron saint of surfers, too.
We had heard of St Piran's cross, but like so many other ancient monuments, is wasn't that easy to find. We made it close then followed out GPS coordinates across the Penhale Dunes, where there were signs warning us of poisonous dune vipers. Well, we weren't worried, we had Molly to protect us by barking at those silly vipers. Fortunately, we never saw any of them, as apparently they are shy.
|Mollie the Collie with Mary at St Piran's Cross in 2009|
The cross was first mentioned in a charter of King Edgar in 960, when it was already an old landmark. There are the remains of an old church nearby, which is thought to have been built by the Saint. Recently, work has been undertaken to reclaim the church from the sand that engulfed it over the years.
|The cross in 1890, shows it hasn't changed all that much, just a bit more lichen on the face.|