Perranuthnoe, St Piran & St Michael

Grid Ref SW537296
Perranuthnoe, Penzance, TR20 9NP
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The church is one of three in Cornwall dedicated to St. Piran.  Perranuthnoe Church is first mentioned in 1348, though its first rector is named in 1277. The church acquired an additional patron saint, St Nicholas in 1856, today replaced by St. Michael.

 

 

 

 

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Perran’s most distinguished Rector was Sir Michael Tregorra, who was instituted on September 21st, 1427, and resigned in 1433. After leaving Perranuthnoe he became Henry VI’s chaplain and in 1440 first Rector of the University of Caen, in Normandy. From 1449 until his death in 1471 he was archbishop of Dublin.
Perranuthnoe church probably started as a two cell building with just a chancel and nave like most Cornish churches. Of this church a Norman font, possible corbel heads, now associated with the south door, and some walling survives.

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Transepts with pointed arches were added in the 14th century when the church is mentioned for the first time. An aisle, suitable for parish processions was added on the north side, replacing one transept, and a three-stage unbuttressed tower c.1500s. Whalesborough and Trevelyan wills and accounts note gifts to the church store and to a fraternity of St Piran from 1480 on and in 1519, John Trevelyan knight left a banner of St George to Perranuthnoe.

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Good post-Reformation features include the oak pulpit placed in the church in 1740 and the royal coat of arms of 1814. Three bells in the belfry are dated 1636, 1688 and 1832. In recent years much has been done to restore the church to its former beauty. In 1926 the chancel screen, choir stalls and reredos were added, the altar and communion rails commemorate the longest serving incumbent, Rev. Richard Astley (1850-1902), and his wife. Reredos figures included St Piran and his millstone. In 1937 the Chapel of St. Nicholas, in the south transept, was restored to use and in 1952 Miss C.C. Astley presented a new font cover.

On the east wall of the tower there is a chiming clock given in memory of Eliza Trevelyan in 1913, which was restored by public subscription in 1984 and its face repainted and gilded in 1999.

perranuthnoeOne of the most curious features in the church today is the little granite figure of St James the Great set in the south wall above the entrance.  This came from a former chapel founded at Goldsithney in September 1400 by John Andrew.

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