St Michaels Mission Church, Boscawen Road, Perranporth TR6 0JX
OS Map Ref: SW 75612 53912
St. Michael’s in Perranporth was built in 1872 as a chapel of ease to Perranzabuloe in Early English style with lancets. It was originally installed with benches, but unfortunately these had to be replaced as early as the 1920s, because they succumbed to woodworm and were replaced by smaller benches with blue padded backs and seats. The current free standing seats still bear the nameplates of old worshippers as a memorial for friends and families.
Two references from the Truro Kalendar in the very early 20th century pertain to St Michael’s. In March 1909, it was noted that the bell-turret was rebuilt and a new bell hung, all at a cost of £17.00 and, in November 1911, a new organ was installed.
The east window was originally fitted with clear glass like all the others. In 1920, Alexandra Boyd, the vicar’s daughter actually painted a large picture of St. Michael which obscured the window, but this was later removed. The church acquired a new pulpit in 1961 and this is still in the church today.
St. Michael’s has always had a connection with Donald Healey and his family. He was born in 1898, his family were regular members of the congregation and there is still a connection today. When Donald Healey passed away in 1988 the Austin Healey clubs of America and Canada presented a new east window to the church in his memory. In 1993 the window was installed, representing the life of a Cornishman, aviator and motor engineer. It truly represents the history of the area.
The window comprises three lancets which depict a scene at sunrise in Perran Bay on the three mile stretch of sea and sand:
Left panel: The robed figure of Ciarán of Saigir holds a cross as he surveys the land.
Centre panel: At the top is a large granite cross which stands today 400 yards from the original “Oratory” or lost church in the dunes. The Celtic Cross was first mentioned in a Saxon charter of 960AD. Below the cross are shown two miners, one is only a boy, returning from workings below ground. At this time Cornwall was the largest producer of copper and tin. Perranporth played an historical part in the evolution of underground mining and the copper lode extraction at Perran Sands was reported back in 1584.
Right panel: A Sein fisher man casts his eye over the bay at early light looking for signs of pilchard shoals. The village of Perranporth was founded on two industries, fishing and mining.
Today the church is used for two weekly services and is also used as a Community Cinema twice per month, fully supported by the Diocese of Truro. The benefits of an open plan building also enable us to hold musical concerts in the Church where both folk and classical music have featured over the last few years.