Ancient 6th century church unearthed in Cornwall for second time

The remains of St Piran’s Oratory has been excavated for the first time since 1910

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The Independent Online

The remains of an ancient church in Cornwall, believed to be among the oldest places of Christian worship in the UK, has been unearthed in Cornwall.

St Piran’s Oratory, found buried in Penhale Sands, has been excavated by a group of 90 volunteers who dug the site by hand, uncovering it for the first time in over 100 years.

The church is believed to be one of the oldest known places of Christian worship in Britain (St Piran Trust)

Ian Saltern, the company director of the St Piran’s Trust, told the BBC: “It’s in a better state than we could have hoped for. The preservation is pretty good for a building that’s more than 1,000 years old.”

St Piran is the patron saint of tin miners, and the remains of the church were first discovered in the late 18 Century. Two major digs followed the discovery, in 1835 and 1843, after which a large concrete structure was erected to surround and protect the site.

The protective concrete casing created in 1910 is unearthed (St Piran Trust)

Also known as “The Lost Church,” the site of St Piran’s Oratory has been covered in a large tarpaulin for the past 30 years to protect the ancient building from the elements, and the recent excavation was the result of 14 years of campaigning by the St Piran Trust for permission to uncover the old Oratory.

It will be opened to the public for two viewing days on the 22 and 23 November and conservation work is expected to start next year.