St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Kirk Michael

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August, 2018

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St Michael and All Angels’ Church has been a Christian site since Christianity first arrived in the C6th. The present church is thought to be the fourth church built on this site and dates from 1837. It is a big church, designed to hold 650 worshippers and set in an even larger burial ground. Being close to Bishopscourt, the former residence of the Bishops of Sodor and Man, five bishops are buried in the churchyard.

The church is in the centre of a rural village on the west coast of the island. A large lych gate was built in 1907 to hold the crosses, one of the largest collections on the island. They have since been moved into the church to protect them from further weathering.

It is a very large church with a square tower at the west end and a tiny polygonal apse at the east end and two transepts.

Inside it is a huge aisleless church with painted plaster walls, flat ceiling and large windows. It retains the Georgian box pews and the Ten Commandments, Creed and Lord’s Prayer, a common feature of Georgian churches, are displayed on either side of the chancel arch. The Royal Coat of Arms is above the north door.

The chancel apse is tiny compared to the rest of the church.

The crosses are displayed in the north transept. These were all found in the local area and are one of the largest and best groups of crosses with examples from the C6th to C11th. Decoration ranges from a simple carved cross on the earliest cross to intricate interlaced patterns. Many have figures from Viking mythology. Several of the crosses have runic inscriptions explaining who was responsible for the cross. Gaut’s cross is possibly the most important in the collection. The Runic inscription on the side reads ‘Gaut made it and all in Man’.  Gaut is thought to be responsible for carving many crosses found on the Isle of Man, and his design of closely interlaced patterns has been widely copied on other crosses.

The church is open 9 – 4.30. The nearest post code is IM6 1AJ and the grid reference is SC 317908. It is well worth finding. For those wanting a cup of tea, the “Dovecote Tearooms”: is worth a visit with its excellent range of home made cakes and also does carry out

For more pictures of the “church”: and “crosses.”:


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