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St Michael's Chapel, St Michael’s Isle, Malew

Period: Early Medieval - Late Medieval

NGR Easting: 229510

NGR Northing: 467340

Description: Medieval chapel. St Michael’s Chapel gives its name to the islet lying at the north end of Langness in the mouth of Derbyhaven Bay. One of the earliest references to it is found in an entry for 1250 in the Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles, and shows that it was an important strategic site. By this time the chapel may have already been in existence for about a hundred years.

The chapel is 9m long by 4.5m wide: because it was used for congregational worship it is significantly larger than the earlier chapels or ‘keeills’ that are so characteristic of the Island, but it was not part of the parish system that replaced them, and is shown ruinous in amid 17th century illustration. The same illustration shows the characteristic belfry on the west gable. Both the chapel and the burial ground in which it stands were used by Catholic worshippers from the 16th to the 18th centuries and for the victims of shipwreck more recently, but probably had its origins in the 12th or 13th centuries.

The coastal location of St Michael’s Chapel echoes some of the churches built around the 12th century in the Western Isles and Orkney, at a time when Manx links with these islands were strongest.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: chapel

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0132.00

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