Saturday, November 25, 2017
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Old Kirk Braddan

History

Old Kirk Braddan was the parish church in Braddan till 1876. Dedicated to Saint Brendan or Braddan the site has a deep religious past. Fourteen centuries of Christian worship can be traced. Stones from the first Celtic Keeill (Chapel) can be dated back to around 400 AD. The current Kirk Braddan church was built around 1876 and is next to its older counterpart. Both churches hold services, the old one less frequent and the new one regularly. The old Kirk Braddan church, built in the 1700's, now houses Celtic and Scandinavian crosses main from 800 - 1265 AD. The earliest cross is from around 600 AD. There are a total of nine runic crosses are in the parish. Four are believed Scandinavian and have related inscriptions. Several crosses bear the well known ring chain design. This was the design of the sculptor, Gaut, son of Bjorn, who came from the island of Coll in the Hebrides and settled on the Isle of Man. One of the best carvers of his time (between 950 - 1040 AD). A cross bearing his designs has been translated as "Gaut created this and all in Mann". This truly expresses the extent of his carvings, which is a style is seen in many early Celtic crosses and later Scandinavian.

Other relics to be seen at the old church are the sculptured ornament crucifixion on the east gable, two windows lintels on the tower (dated 1714) bear Normanesque mouldings, and the original church interior fittings.

Location

Located in the east of the Island near Douglas.
Map Ref: SC 363 768

By Vehicle:
Located on the A1 going between Douglas and Peel. The site is between Douglas and Union Mills.

By Bus:
The site is reachable on the bus routes no. 6 and 5A, servicing between Douglas and Peel. The bus passes the church, so it is merely a short walk along the road.

By Railway:
Take the Steam Railway to Douglas. Take the Electric Railway to Douglas. Then take the number 6 or 5A bus to the site or walk (about a mile and a half) along the Lord Street to Peel Road across Quarter Bridge and into Braddan.

The Site

  • Church
  • 12 Crosses
  • Graveyard
  • Sundial
Rectangular Slab (no. 63)
One side bears a Latin cross with long tapering head and ring.

Cross Patee (no. 64)

Cross Slab (no. 65)
Standing over 7ft high this cross is badly weathered. One side bears a Latin cross. The oval expansion of the upper half suggests there might have been a surrounding ring.

Braddan Wheelheaded Cross Slab (no. 72)
This cross is Anglican work from around 800AD, measuring about 5ft high. One side bears a equal limbed cross with connecting ring. In the upper limb, centre panel, there is a representation of what some believe is Daniel in the Lions Den, though others see the Celtic theme, or Jaws of Hell. Carefully designed and carved plait work and dogs have been carved into the cross limbs.

Wheelheaded Cross (no. 78)
A cross showing Anglican influences, but badly carved. The cross limbs have badly done figure of eight design surrounded by an oval ring with twist ring pattern. The wheelhead has four pierced wholes through the slab.

Thorstein's Cross (no. 112)
Warn on one side from its use as a door step and missing inches from its top, this cross bears fine engravings. Covered in twisting bead link rings and ruin carvings. The inscription has been translated as 'Thorstein erected this cross to the memory of Ofeig, son of Crina.'.

Thorleif's Cross (no. 135)
A Norse cross from 900AD - 1000AD is a tapering pillar with pieced cross head ring. The shaft is decorated in Scandinavian dragons in Mannen style, their tails and limbs interlaced. The inscriptions as been translated as 'Thorleif erected this cross to the memory of Fiac his son, brother's son to Hair.'.

Odd's Cross (no. 136)
The base of what is believed to be a tapering pillar much like Thorleif's Cross. Once used as a doorway lintel it bears two pelleted dragons head to head and ornamental bands. What remains of the inscription has been translated as 'Odd raised this cross to the memory of his father, Frakki, but Thor ...'.

Cross (no. 138)
Decorated with interlacing patterns and pellets on one side and on the Manx designs of two bands crossing and interlacing with one another at right angles. What is left of the inscription has been translated as 'Hross-Ketill betrayed in a truce his own oath fellow.'.

Small Cross (no. 146)
Dating from around 1100AD, this is not a local district cross. Decorated with looping plaits and double headed band knots twisting into a ring design.

Unknown (no. unknown)

Unknown (no. unknown 2)


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