The Isle of Man was divided into parishes in the C12th and a church was built here. Just two miles from Douglas, it was the parish church for town until 1876 when the new church was built next to it.
The present building dates from 1773 following complaints that the original building was too small and that the roof and gable were unsafe. It is thought that much of the walls of the early church were incorporated into present stonework. The east end was rebuilt, a new roof added and a tower built at the west end. Like other churches it had pyramids at corners and also on church tower. This is only one of the churches on the Island of that of that age which has a tower. Unlike many of the other island churches, it has never been whitewashed.
The church us surrounded by a large and now disused graveyard with many C18th and C19th gravestones. The tall obelisk is dedicated to Lord Henry Murray, the fifth son of the 4th Duke of Atholl. who was the Lord of Mann.
On the south wall is a sundial with longer lines marking the time of services.
At a Vestry Meeting in March 1869, it is recorded that “The old church has long been felt inconveniently small to the requirements of the parish, and from age and decay is incapable of satisfactory improvement or enlargement “. A resolution was passed to build a new church on a site close by.
It was also noted that “It may be well to mention here that that the old church is a picturesque object , and has long been a favourite resort of visitors, it is intended to let it remain precisely as it is”. This explains the unspoilt Georgian interior and the church has been described as ‘the church the Victorians forgot’. It must have been very uncomfortable during the long services as a Vicar in 1832 noted there were no cushions in the pews, no stove, no organ and no choir. Services were long and conducted half in Manx and half in English. It wasn’t until 1852 that two stoves were installed; one in the chancel and one by the west door.
The Friends of Old Kirk Braddan Braddan Church was established in 1982 to raise money for the preservation of church and it was reroofed. it is still used for the occasional service.
The church is set back from the A1, Douglas to Peel Road at Braddan Bridge and the A23 roundabout. There is some parking in front of the church. The post code is IM4 4LB and the grid reference is SC 364768.
The church is usually open 10-4. If it is locked there is a phone number to contact or there may be someone in the Parish Office in the new church who can unlock the church.
For those with mobility issues, there are three steps down into the church,
This is a wonderful church and is definitely worth visiting – not only for the unspooiult Geoirgian interior but also for the display of early Christian crosses in the church.