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Review: Kirk Christ

Attraction - Castles & places of worship

Church Road, Port Erin, Isle of Man, IM9 5LW, United Kingdom

A late C18th church that was the parish church for Rushen

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2468 reviews

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  • August 2019
  • On your own

87 people found this review helpful

When the Isle of Man was divided into parishes in the C12th, Kirk Christ became the parish church for the parish of Rushen. It was built on the site of an earlier keeil in the centre of parish. It would originally have been a small rectangular stone building, with a small bellcote, serving a disperse area.

By the end of C18th the church was in very poor condition and too small for the population. It underwent an extensive restoration and rebuild with a new roof. The church was extended at the west end with a new bellcote and a gallery added. The walls were raised and a new roof added with small dormer windows in the north and south walls. Soon afterwards, it was extended again at the east end.

The church was dedicated to the Holy Trinity although is usually called Kirk Christ.

The Georgian box pews were replaced by pitch pine pews in 1855, when the three decker pulpit was removed and replaced by present pulpit and prayer desk. The small polygonal chance apse with its stained glass windows was added in 1872. The organ dates from 1904, and was funded by voluntary contributions from parishioners, including some who had emigrated to South Africa. Before then there would have been a small ‘orchestra’ of local musicians playing in the gallery.

It is an attractive small white church between Port Erin and Port St Mary and still in use. It is typical of many churches of that time with its pyramids at the corners of a rectangular building along with a not so common Cupola bell tower. Unlike most of the original parish churches it doesn’t have any early Christian crosses.

It is surrounded by a large churchyard which serves the whole parish and contains the memorial to the twenty nine men men who lost their lives in an explosion while trying to salvage the Lily which had run ashore on Kitterland during a storm in 1852.

The church is simply furnished inside with beamed roof and whitewashed walls. The gallery along the back wall holds the organ and is reached by an internal wooden staircase.

The chancel is tiny compared with the rest of the church. The three stained glass east windows were given in memory of EM Gawne a C19th Speaker of the House of Keys. They have images of the nativity, crucifixion and the empty tomb.

On either side of the chancel are the carved wood pulpit and a rather nice metal angel reading desk. The stone font is at back of church, beneath a stained glass window of Christ blessing the children.

On the south wall is a memorial window to William Milner, a wealthy Birkenhead safe maker who retired to Port Erin and set up a number of charities to help local residents and particularly poverty stricken fishermen. Appropriately the image depicts Jesus calling Simon and Andrew to leave their nets and follow him. There are other splendid memorials on the walls. \\

As well as listing the names of the dead from both World Wars, the war memorial at the back of the church also lists the names of the two men who died while serving in merchant navy.

The church is not on the usual tourist itinerary and receives few visitors. In many ways there is nothing outstanding or special about the church, it is just a nice church. Music playing also adds to the atmosphere.

Link it to a visit to Ballachurry Nature Reserve which is just a short distance from the church.

The church is open daily and there is parking outside. The post code is IM9 5LW and the grid reference is SC 209693.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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