Tuesday, 6 March 2012

St Piran's Day Parade

Yesterday, 5th March, was St Piran's Day. St Piran is the Patron saint of Cornwall.

I put our icon of St Piran (made by own fair hands)  in our front window to mark the occasion.

Here is info about St Piran:

St. Piran,
Abbot of Lanpiran
(Born c.AD 480)

St. Piran is the most popular of the Patron Saints of Cornwall (the others being St. Michael and St. Petroc). His family origins are obscure, but the tradition that he came from Ireland is extremely strong. Cornish legend tells how, in old age, Piran was captured by the local pagan Irish. Jealous of his miraculous healing powers, they tied a millstone around his neck and threw him off a cliff and into the sea during an horrendous storm. As Piran hit the water, the storm abated and the millstone bobbed to the surface as though it were made of cork! With his new-found raft, Piran set sail for his homeland of Cornwall. He landed at Perran Beach, to which he gave his name, and built himself a small oratory on Penhale Sands at Perranporth, where he performed many miracles for the local people. It was excavated from the dunes during the 19th century, but has recently been reburied for its own protection. He was eventually joined by others seeking solitude and so established the Abbey of Lanpiran.
Piran's rise to be Cornwall's Patron stems from his popularity with the Cornish tin-miners. It is said that Piran himself first discovered tin in Cornwall (or rediscovered what the Romans knew well) when he used a large black Cornish rock to build himself a fireplace. He was amazed to find that, as the flames grew hotter, a trickle of pure white metal began to ooze from the stone. He shared this knowledge with the local people and thus provided the Cornish with a lucrative living. The locals were so delighted that they held a sumptuous feast in Piran's honour where the wine ran like water. Piran was fond of the odd tipple and he is still remembered today in the Cornish phrase "As drunk as a Perraner". The trickling white metal upon its black background, however, remains his most enduring memorial as the White Cross of St. Piran on the Cornish National flag.

Every year, there are St Piran's Day parades all over Cornwall.

We were able to attend the Truro parade and it was good one. Here are a few pictures of the parade:

The lady at the back is wearing Cornish Tartan

The Mayor, The Town Crier, & The Bard

Even the elderly fly the flag.

Pupils and Teachers from Richard Lander School

What a cutie!

The Mayor making a speech on the steps of the Cathedral.

The Bishop of Truro giving us a blessing.

The Choir from Richard Lander School leading us in singing 'Trelawny'.

Here are the words of Trelawny:

With a good sword and a trusty shield
A faithful heart and true
King James's men shall understand
What Cornish men can do
And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why.

And shall Trelawny live?
Or shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why.

Out spake the captain brave and bold
A merry wight was he
Though London Tower were Michael's hold
We'll set Trelawny free
We'll cross the Tamar, land to land
The Severn is no stay
Then one and all and hand in hand
And who shall bid us nay.

And when we came to London wall
A pleasant sight to view
Come forth, come forth, ye cowards all
Here are better men than you
Trelawny, he's in keep in hold
Trelawny he may die
But twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why.

As Davina and I are now Cornish (by adoption), we joined the singing of Trelawny (the Cornish National Anthem.

West Country Tonight (ITV Local News) did a good feature on the parade. We appeared on it, fleetingly, in the background. I blinked and missed me, but saw Davina. So I had to watch again today on ITV Player to see myself (sad!).

Here is a load of stuff about Trelanwy, for those who are interested:

Who was Trelawny?
by Tom Prout,
Editor of the Trelawny's Army Newsletter.

Jonathan Trelawny (1650 - 1721) was one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688. Born at Pelynt into an old Cornish family, his father, the 2nd Baronet of Trelawne, was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the English Civil War.
Jonathan was ordained a priest in 1676, and in 1685 was appointed Bishop of Bristol.
In an age of religious intolerance, when Protestant England feared the might of her Catholic neighbours, the Catholic James II reversed the pragmatic policy of his predecessor, Charles II, by appointing Catholics to high office -- for example, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Chief Admiral of the navy. In 1687, James challenged the authority of the Church of England by setting out a Declaration of Indulgence towards Catholics; the following year, he instituted a second Declaration, this time directing it to be read in every church. Seven bishops, including Trelawny, presented the king with a petition against the reading. James reacted by imprisoning the bishops in the Tower.
Fearing a popular demonstration, James had the bishops transported by river to Traitors' Gate in the royal barge. On the way, spectators waded into the river to receive the bishops' blessing, and the Tower Warders knelt inside the gate as they landed. The guards that night drank a toast to their health.
In Cornwall, the news of the arrest of their Bishop was greeted with anger and dismay. "And shall Trelawny die?" asked the Cornish. But at this time there were no twenty thousand Cornishmen able to march on London to effect his release. The Cornish had given so much to the Royalist cause during the Civil War that they were exhausted. After overcoming the English at Stratton, the Cornish regiments had marched eastwards to capture Taunton, Bridgwater, and Bath. They had figured prominently in the taking of Bristol, but their losses had been severe, especially among their leaders. The Cornish Army's loyalty had been to its leaders, and not to the English commanders who now exerted authority. The survivors of the Cornish regiments headed home. Although depleted in numbers, they yet managed to overcome Dorchester, Weymouth, Portland, Bideford, Barnstaple, Exeter, and Dartmouth. Almost single-handed, the Cornish had taken on the rest of the South West counties and won many famous battles. (Feats later to be emulated on the rugby field!)
On 30th June, 1688, the seven bishops were brought before the King's Bench in Westminster Hall and charged with seditious libel. To cheers in Westminster Hall, and in the streets of London, they were acquitted. News of the acquittal produced scenes of great joy. In Bristol, the church bells rang out and fires were lit in many parts of the city. When the news reached Cornwall, the church bells of Pelynt rang and the mayor fired the two town cannons.
The imprisonment and acquittal of the seven bishops became an important milestone in English history. Soon afterwards, William of Orange, with the approval of the Church of England, took the throne. James II fled the country, never to return. 

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