Perran Penrose, who died suddenly on 6th November 2012, was an inspirational chairman of the St. Piran Trust, which was set up to assess the possibility of uncovering St. Piran’s Oratory Chapel in the dunes near Perranporth, so that it may once more fulfil its iconic purpose as the earliest known Christian edifice on mainland Britain.
Dealing with statutory bodies such as English Heritage, Cornwall Historic Environment Service, Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Fund has necessitated negotiating a maze of difficult and sometimes conflicting decisions. At this point the Trust has high expectations that a new archaeological project will succeed in giving back to Cornwall its most famous place of pilgrimage.
Using his diplomatic and negotiating skills, the result of his years working in many countries with, for instance, the UN and the EU, Perran was well placed as the main driving force to realize the Trust’s objectives. It will be a difficult, perhaps impossible task to replace him. But the work will go on so that his immense service will attain full and well deserved recognition.
The St Piran Trust is a non-profit-making charitable Trust which is committed to the development, protection and good administration of the historic sites on Gear Sands connected with St Piran. The Trust will promote awareness of the cultural, educational, historic and scientific significance of those sites for Cornwall and for Europe.
The Oratory of St. Piran is one of the oldest Christian edifices in the British Isles and has been consigned to the sands since 1980.
The Oratory was buried to protect its fabric in the absence of public commitment to protect and make it accessible. The Trust will ensure that once uncovered it will be protected and properly managed.
The Trust, in partnership with others, has excavated the Second Church and put it into sound condition.
In addition to the Oratory and the Church, the Trust has taken charge of the maintenance of Perran Round, the Mediaeval Playing Place or Plen-an-gwary, one of the best preserved Playing Places in Britain, which had been neglected and covered in woodland scrub, gorse and brambles. Our ambition is to see performances in the Round once again. We invest in representing the three sites to all who are interested.
The Trust will provide speakers and other resources to organisations that are involved in promoting Cornish history and culture.
We work in partnership with many bodies and are an inclusive organisation without affiliation to interest groups or political parties, being concerned only to achieve our objectives for the benefit of all Cornish people, whether at home or outside Cornwall and people who wish Cornwall and the Cornish well.