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Piran (d. c. 480) holy man


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Monk of the 6th(?) century after whom the Cornish town Madron is called. Who he was is far from clear. Some identify him with Paternus, others with Medran, disciple of Ciaran of Saighir, others with Piran, others with Matronus, disciple of Tudwal, who lived and died with him in Brittany. The well and chapel of Madron were a pilgrimage centre for miraculous cures both before and after the Reformation. Joseph Hall, bishop of Exeter, examined in 1641 the cure of a cripple who had walked on his hands for sixteen years, who was ‘suddenly so restored to his limbs that I saw him able to walk.…I found here was no art nor collusion: the thing done, the author invisible.’ Francis Coventry (Christopher Davenport) gave further details: the cripple was twenty-eight years old, he spent the night at the altar of the ruined church and washed in the stream which flowed from the well through the chapel. After sleeping on St Madron's bed for an hour and a half, he felt pain in nerves and arteries, and walked better. After two more visits he was completely cured. He later enlisted in the royalist army but was killed at Lyme (Dorset) in 1644. Methodists and Anglicans still hold services in the chapel at Madron. Feast: 17 May.

H. R. Jennings, Historical Notes on Madron (1936);J. Hall, On the Invisible World (1641);F. Coventry, Paralipomena Philosophica de Mundo Peripatetico (1652);Baring-Gould and Fisher, iii. 396–8;B.T.A., ii. 337–9.

Subjects: Christianity.

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