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T.F.G. Dexter at St Pirans Oratory, Perranzabuloe, Cornwall. 13th September 1920
Thomas Francis George Dexter (c. 1860-1933), the Antiquarian, standing by the entrance at the Oratory. St Piran's Oratory survives as an early Christian chapel with all four walls standing. It represents the supposed site where St Piran, an Irish saint came ashore and established a Christian centre of worship in the sixth or seventh centuries AD. The site has a documented entry in the Domesday book. There is a small nave, chancel and stone bench around much of the interior plus a cemetery. Situated on Penhale Sands, east of Perranporth, the Oratory has been subject to blown sands over the years. Excavations were carried out in 1835 and 1843 and then railings were erected around the site in the 1890s. In 1910 it was re-excavated and a concrete preserving structure constructed over it. A large number of burials were uncovered during the works. The concrete shell was largely demolished in 1980 and the chapel reburied. The site was re-excavated in 2014-2015. Dexter wrote, amongst other works, St Piran. A Study in Celtic Hagiology and in Cornish Church History (Thesis, University of St Andrews, 1922); A Cornish Legend: The Three Churches Of Perranzabuloe (1923); and The Lost Church (1930s). Photographer: Unknown
© From the collection of the RIC