ST PERRAN, THE MINERS' SAINT.
ST PIRAN, or St Perran, has sometimes gained the credit of discovering tin in Cornwall; yet Usher places the date of his birth about the year 352; and the merchants of Tyre are said to have traded with Cornwall for tin as early as the days of King Solomon.
There are three places in Cornwall to which the name of Perran is given ;--
Perran-Aworthall--i. e., Perran on the noted River.
Perran-Uthno--i.e., Perran the Little.
Perran-Zabuloe--i.e., Perran in the Sands.
This sufficiently proves that the saint, or some one bearing that name, was eminently popular amongst the people; and in St Perran we have an example--of which several instances are given--of the manner in which a very ancient event is shifted forward, as it were, for the purpose of investing some popular hero with additional reasons for securing the devotion of the people, and of drawing them to his shrine. [a]
Picnous, or Piecras, is another name which has been floating by tradition, down the stream of time, in connection with the discovery of tin; and in the eastern portion of Cornwall, Picrous-day, the second Thursday before Christmas-day, is kept as the tinners' holiday.
The popular story of the discovery of tin is, however, given with all its anachronisms.
[a] See Perran-Zabuloe, with an Account of the Past and Present State of the Oratory of St Picas in the Sands, and Remarks on its Antiquity. By the Rev. Wm. Haslam BA., and by the Rev. Collins Trelawney.
St Kieran, the favourite Celtic saint, reached Scotland from Ireland, the precursor of St Columba (563 AD.). "The cave of St Kieran is still shown in Kintyre, where the
first Christian teacher of the Western Highlands is believed to have made his abode."--Wilson's Prehistoric Annals. '
There is a curious resemblance between the deeds and the names of those two saints.