Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Kirk Onchan


The parish name of Onchan is believed to have taken its name from a Bishop of Sodor and Man. The name correctly spelt is Conchan, but when you add Kirk in front the name degrades to Onchan. The present church building was consecrated in 1833. Inside the church are six crosses dating between the 7th and 11th centuries AD, as well as a gable cross.

Cased inside the wall near the crosses is a 1637-8 silver chalice from the reign of Charles I. The style is similar to the the chalice Charles I took his last communion from before his execution. A silver chalice replica of the original made in 1802-3 is still used to communion in St Peter's today.

Also cased in the wall is an Irish pewter flagon from around 1700. The spout was added over an inscription, which now shows only the letters 'le'. A later engraving reads 'DUGGLESS'.


Kirk Onchan is located in Onchan near Douglas in the east of the Island.

By Vehicle:
Travel to Douglas and then along the promenade. Turn up Summer Hill Road and then go along Main Road before turning off on Church Road. The church is clearly visible.

By Bus:
Take any bus to Douglas and then the no. 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 or 3 bus to Onchan. Walk down to Main Road and then along to Church Road.

By Railway:
Take the Steam Train or Electric Tram to Douglas and then catch one of the buses listed above to Onchan. It is possible to get off the Electric Tram at an Onchan stop (King Edwards Park) and walk to Sunnydale Drive and then right to Harbour Road and then onto Church Road. It is also possible to walk from the promenade up Summerhill Road and following the same directions for a vehicle.

The Site

  • Six Crosses
  • Gable Cross
  • Charles I Silver Chalice
  • Pewter Flagon
  • Graveyard
  • Site of Old Church
Onchan Gable Cross
As well as six ancient crosses the church also holds a gable cross found not far from the parish church, which would have been from the top gable end of an earlier keeill.

No. 25
A broken slab with two linear crosses both inside an oval circle. The larger cross has limbs which end in crosslets, the smaller cross below is a simple equal limbed linear cross within a circle.

No. 74
A broken slab with a wheelheaded cross. The limbs have irregular plait work. There are two sets of circular rings behind the limbs of cross, one ring has plait of three and the other plait of four. The basket weave design on this cross match those found on crosses in Kirk Lonan and Kirk Braddan. Below the cross are two dog like creatures, one with two heads.

No. 85
A rectangular slab with crosses on each side. One side has a thick ring woven with heart shaped loops for cross arms. The shaft has a double twist and ring interlacing design. On the other side there is also a thick ring and loops for arms, but they are more like extending ovals. There is a circle where the arms of the cross meet as well as at the end of each oval arm. The shaft is done in a figure of eight plait.

No. 92
A round headed slab with cross and circular ring. There is obvious plait work along the ring and spirals under the ring and around the shaft. On each side of the shaft are dog like monsters with their mouths open and tongues out.

No. 93
A small fragment of a fine cross. The shaft has plait work which works up into the limbs of the cross. The ring around the limbs has a loop plait design. There are visible spirals and even the remains of a figure on the right side of the shaft.

Thorith's Cross (No. 141)
The first image is not the real cross, but a photograph of the back side. It shows a simple cross and ring design with several short inscriptions reading: Kru(s) meaning cross, isukrist meaning Jesus Christ, thurith raist meaning Thorith carves (the) runes. The other side of this broken slab also has a cross and ring design with short inscriptions reading: ... asunr raisti ift (k)u(i)nusina Murkiau m ... meaning ... son erected (this cross) to the memory of his wife Muirkialu m ..., and ukikat aukrathikr()t meaning I examined (the ruins) and I interpreted correctly, and alaens.

Kirk Onchan (St Peter's Church)

Kirk Onchan (St Peter's Church)

Kirk Onchan (St Peter's Church)

Kirk Onchan (St Peter's Church) Crosses

Kirk Onchan (St Peter's Church) Chalice

Kirk Onchan (St Peter's Church) Flagon

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