With a vibrant history spanning from the Viking and Celtic eras to the Victorian epoch, the Isle of Man is home to many sacred and historically significant sites that tell the intriguing tale of the Story of Mann. Some of the sites are lesser-known but are equally as important to the Island's rich history and tell extraordinary stories of their own, which you can read below.

  1. Kirk Malew Church

With one of the largest churchyards on the Island, Kirk Malew Church is brimming with history and fascinating stories of the Island’s past. These include the church as the burial grounds for the Norse Kings of Mann, the rumoured resting place of a Manx vampire as well as numerous artefacts from the ancient days of Christianity in Mann. The church is also home to ancient Celtic crosses, striking pieces of local art and extensive family histories which are stored in its considerable archives.

  1. Meayll Hill

Near the summit of Meayll Hill is the Meayll Circle, a unique archaeological monument that dates back to the Neolithic era. The Circle is made up of stone cairn that contains 12 chambers in an 18 foot ring and over the ages it has become the site of many legends including hauntings, Viking burials and prehistoric rituals. The hill also contains stories from more recent history as you can find the remains of a World War II Chain Home Low RDF station at the summit of the hill.

  1. Kirk Maughold Church

One of the oldest churches on the Island, the story of Kirk Maughold Church states that it was here on Maughold headland that Celtic St Maughold arrived after being expelled from Ireland by St Patrick and with his arrival came the birth of Christianity on the Isle of Man. Due to its age, the church contains many relics and artefacts as well as clear evidence of the pilgrimage and veneration here over the years. A must-see is the incredible crosshouse which contains a large number of historically important Celtic crosses from the early Christian period and almost a third of all pre-Norse cross slabs found on the Island.

Photography © Peter Killey

  1. Cashtal yn Ard

Cashtal yn Ard, the Castle of the Heights as it's also known, is a well-preserved chambered tomb and one of the largest of its kind in the British Isles. Extending over 130 feet, this five-chambered cairn dates from around 2000 BC and due to the paved forecourts, it is believed to be the site of religious meetings when people were buried in the chambers; however, due to its age, little is known about this imposing and mysterious site.  

Photography © Peter Killey

  1. King Orry's Grave

This megalithic tomb, the largest of its kind on the Island, gives us an intriguing insight into the stories of the residents of Mann during Neolithic times thousands of years ago. The tomb belongs to King Orry, better known as King Godred Crovan, and is a renowned Manx legend.  King Godred’s life is steeped in mystery and intrigue but it is believed that he was one of the first Norse-Gaelic rulers of the kingdoms of Mann and the Isles. His arrival on the Island is commonly taken as the starting point of Manx history.

Photography © Peter Killey

  1. Jurby Church

Constructed on an ancient pagan burial ground dating back thousands of years, St Patrick’s Church at Jurby is a traditional church that dates from the beginning of the 13th century.  The story of this church is steeped in Viking heritage with a string of burial mounds found along the coast nearby and a Viking burial mound remains in the Jurby churchyard. The church also contains Celtic cross slabs from the 10th century, including the Heimdall Cross, as well as numerous war graves to remember the servicemen who lost their lives in accidents at the nearby RAF Jurby.

Photography © Peter Killey

  1. St Trinian's Church

Known in Manx as the ‘Keeil Brisht’, or Broken Church, St Trinian’s Church stands alone in a field beneath the dark King’s Forest on the Greeba Mountain; the perfect backdrop for the church’s mysterious and intriguing history. This medieval chapel in the middle of the countryside has been without a roof since the 17th century and the reason for this is said to be because of the Buggane; a huge ogre-like creature who haunted the mountain and repeatedly tore the roof off the church due to the noise of the bells.

Photography © Peter Killey

  1. Site of Old Tynwald

Known as Killabane, the ancient site of the Manx parliament can be found in the middle of the countryside overlooking Baldwin. Little is known about this site compared to the permanent site of the parliament at Tynwald Hill, but you can find a perfectly formed stone circle with a sign stating ‘Holden at Killabane – 1428’. The site is believed to have been chosen due to its position as geographic centre of the island and as such, continues to provide stunning views over the green hills of Ellan Vannin.

Photography © Peter Killey

  1. St Thomas's Church

This Gothic church is located just back from the seafront in the heart of Douglas and contains many stories of the capital’s history. Created by Ewan Christian in the mid-19th century, St Thomas's Church's most notable story is that of its unique and beautiful murals which were created by the much sought after local artist John Miller Nicholson in 1896. Covering 520m² of the church’s walls, these murals remain the church's most outstanding feature and clearly shows the influence of Nicholson’s visit to Venice in 1882, which inspired much of his impressionistic style and design.

Photography © Culture Vannin

  1. Spooyt Vane

Hidden away in the Glen Mooar Valley, the mystic waterfall of Spooyt Vane, which translates to ‘White Spout’ in Manx Gaelic, is located just outside the glen’s boundary in a small, serene hollow that conjures images of magic and mystery in the depths of the tranquil Manx countryside. Further up the glen, there are also the remains of St Patrick’s Chapel, which dates from the 8th-10th century and is surrounded by a mystical burial ground and the remains of a hermit’s cell nearby, as well as two 70ft pillars which previously held up the railway viaduct that transported the Victorian railway across the valley.

Photography © Peter Killey

Related

Kirk Malew Church
Church / Chapel
Kirk Malew Church

The beautiful Kirk Malew Church is a traditional Manx church that still retains the original designs of the churches of old. Previously the parish church for the old Manx capital, it now contains a fine selection of memorials and ancient Celtic crosses which showcase the site's rich Manx heritage. A traditional and tranquil place steeped in history with stunning views.

Meayll Hill
Historic Site
Meayll Hill

Meayll Circle stands near to the summit of Meayll Hill overlooking the south of the Island and provides evidence of occupation from Neolithic to Medieval times.

Kirk Maughold Church
Church / Chapel
© Peter Killey

Visit Kirk Maughold for a spiritual experience in this ancient and tranquil setting which combines the best of Celtic and Viking tradition within a classic Manx church setting.

Cashtal yn Ard
Historic Site
© Peter Killey

Cashtal yn Ard, or the Castle of the Heights, is a well preserved chambered tomb situated on raised land overlooking the parish of Maughold.

King Orry's Grave
Historic Site
King Orry's Grave © Peter Killey

King Orry's Grave is the largest known Megalithic tomb on the island and tells the story of the legendary King Godred 'Orry' Crovan, a Norse-Gaelic ruler who founded the Kingdom of Mann.

Jurby Church
Church / Chapel
Jurby Church  ©  Peter Killey

The landmark Jurby Church was built on an ancient site dating back thousands of years. A burial mound in the churchyard and the Manx Crosses in the porch illustrate the site's rich Viking heritage, and War Graves remember those who died from RAF Jurby. A magical peaceful place with stunning views.

St Trinian's Church
Church / Chapel
© Peter Killey

Visit the unique St Trinian's Church that stands alone in the field without a roof and see the eerie setting of the well-known Manx folktale of the 'Buggane of St Trinian's'

St Luke's Church & Old Tynwald
Historic Site
St Luke's Churchyard  ©  Peter Killey

Full of legends and heritage, St Luke's Church and the site of Old Tynwald can be found in the centre of the Manx countryside in the Baldwin Valley, one of the most perfect settings on the island.

St Thomas' Church
Church / Chapel
St Thomas' Church

Visit St Thomas' Church in central Douglas and discover the unique art, history and culture that are housed within this church.

Spooyt Vane
Natural Feature
Spooyt Vane Waterfall © Peter Killey

Discover the Spooyt Vane waterfall, found in the depths of Glen Mooar which also contain the hidden histories of keeils and burial grounds from the early days of Mann.

2 Comments

Comments

  1. Jane H
    What a fantastic/ helpful page - I'm coming over to the Island in a couple of weeks time and will DEFINITELY go and visit some of these magical/ mystical places. Thanks to whoever put this page together.
  2. Kate M
    Visited St. Patrick's at Jurby on my trip to Mann. Was delighted to find an ancestor's grave site from 1743 thanks to a wonderful group who recorded names and locations of gravesites at Jurby for the Manx Library in Douglas. So grateful to those individuals involved in that endeavor! This was the most wonderful and magical trip. So much more to see and do! I know I will return.

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