ST PIRAN'S-DAY AND PICROUS-DAY.
HONE, in his "Every-Day Book," has the following remarks on St Piran :
"This saint, anciently of good repute in Cornwall, is not mentioned by Butler. According to Porter, he was born in Ireland, and became a hermit there. He afterwards came to England, and settling at Cornwall, had a grave made for hint, entered into it, and dying on the 6th of March, 'in the glorie of a great light and splendour that appeared at the same instant,' was buried at Padstow. 'He is reported,' says Porter, 'to have wrought manie wonderful miracles in his lifetime, which, because they tend rather to breed an incredulous amazement in the readers, than move to anie workes of virtues or pietie, we have willingly omitted.' We have had a specimen of such miracles as Father Porter deemed worthy of belief; those of St Piran, which would have caused 'incredulous amassment' in Porter's readers, must have been 'passing wonderful.'"
"St .Piran's.day is said to be a favourite with the tinners. Having a tradition that some secrets regarding the manufacture of tin was communicated to their ancestors by that saint, they leave the manufacture to shift for itself for that day, and keep it as a holiday." [a]
Mr T. Q. Couch obligingly favours me with the following note on Picous-day:--
"The second Thursday before Christmas-day is a festival observed by the tinners of the district of Blackmore, and known as .Picrous day. It is not at present marked by any distinctive ceremonies, but it is the occasion of a supper and much merry-making. The owner of the tin-stream contributes a shilling a man towards it. This is said to be the feast of the discovery of tin by a man named Picrous. My first impression was that the day took its name from the circumstance of a pie forming the pièce de résistance of the supper; butt this explanation is not allowed by tinners, nor sanctioned by the usages of the feast. What truth there may be in the tradition of the first tinner, Picrous, it is now too late to discover, but the notion is worth recording. It has occurred to me whether, from some similarity between the names (not a close one, I admit it), the honours of Picrous may not have been transferred to St Piran, who is generally said to be the patron saint of tunners. St Piran is not known in Blackmore, and his festival is on the 5th of March. The tinners also have a festival to commemorate the discovery of smelting."
[a] Gilbert's "History."