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Knock y Doonee Keeill

Period: Early Medieval

NGR Easting: 240410

NGR Northing: 502170

Description: Medieval chapel and burial ground. The site lies on an open, south-facing slope on cultivated ground, within a fenced enclosure. When investigated by the Manx Archaeological Survey in 1911, the chapel was described as standing on a slight eminence, though this is now less obvious. The structure is orientated ENE-WSW, and measures 9.7 x 8.2m internally. The walls average 1.1m in thickness, and stand to a maximum of 1m. The walls are constructed using beach boulders and surface stones (no quarried stone is available close by in the glacially-derived landscape), packed with sandy material. Stonework was particularly noted on the inner faces of the ‘south’ and ‘west’ walls, but was otherwise only intermittently visible. The outer wall faces are obscured by material derived from the collapse of the building, and the weight of material was found to have forced the ‘north’ and ‘south’ walls inwards.

The doorway is in the ‘west’ gable, and the threshold was found to be sunken below the level of the ground outside. A slight rebate in both walls of the doorway suggests that the door was positioned roughly in the middle of the thickness of the wall. A socket stone on which the door might have pivoted, was also found.

A large flat slab was found on the altar at the ‘east’ end of the chapel, having slipped from its original position forming the sill of an east window. No other evidence for windows was recognised.

The chapel was found to have had a cobbled floor, on which the altar had been constructed. This substantially survived, with a plain slab forming the altar top and measuring 0.7 by 0.4 by 0.05m. The slab had been carefully balanced on side slabs, one of which was still in position, and would have created an altar table standing 0.6m high.

A substantial number - over one hundred - white quartz pebbles were found in the vicinity of the altar, and probably represent votive or prayer offerings.

No firm evidence of burials was met with, although two monuments were recovered. One of these was a small broken boulder with a plain cross outlined within a ring incised on one face (Manx Cross 37). The other, a tall pillar of slate (see Manx Cross 5) bears bilingual inscriptions in Roman and Ogham characters recording the burial of Ammecatus son of Rocatus.

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Site & Monument Type: keeill

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0343.00

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