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Review: Ballaugh Old Church

Attraction - Castles & places of worship

The Cronk, Near Ballaugh, Isle of Man, IM7 5AT, United Kingdom

A lovely old church which has survived against the odds

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2468 reviews

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  • August 2019
  • On your own

96 people found this review helpful

This was the original parish church for Ballaugh and a church was built here in the C12th when the parishes were set up, probably on the site of an earlier keeil. It would have been in the centre of a large and disperse parish.

By the early C19th, not only was the church too small to hold the congregation of the parish, it was also in a very poor state of repair. A new church was built nearer Ballaugh village. The old church became redundant and and would have fallen down if it had not been rescued by Rev T Howard. He was responsible for reroofed the church and making sure it was watertight. He took down an early C18th extension to the chancel and removed the galleries. There have been further restorations at the end of the C19th and again in the mid C20th. It is still occasionally used for services.

It is an attractive rectangular stone building set in the old grave yard with pyramids at the corners and a cupola bell tower.

The rather incongruous porch is a later addition. The very characteristic gate post date from the C18th and tradition records they were deliberately built leaning in on each other.

The inside of the church is very simple with whitewashed walls, beamed ceiling and plain glass windows. In the back corner is a small wooden vestry.

The altar is a simple wooden table on a raised dais. The two Jacobean chairs in the sanctuary were given by Bishop Wilson and the reading desk and pulpit are late C18th.

There are a few memorials on the walls although the Benefactors Board and the Royal Coat of Arms are now displayed in the new church.

Like many of teh other original parish churches, the rough sandstone font is mounted into the window ledge and has an old wooden cover.

Near it is an C11th Runic cross which was found in the churchyard,at the end of the C19th, possibly on the site of the original keeil. It is the only cross to have been found in the parish. The style of interlaced carving suggests it could be the work of the great cross carver Gaut. The inscription reads ‘Olaf Liotulfson erected this cross to the memory of Ulf his son’

The church is still used with a Holy Communion service on the first Sunday of the month and Prayers on the second and fourth Sundays. It is open daily. There is some parking on the roadside by the church. The nearest post code is IM7 5AT and the grid reference is SC 341 957.

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