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Maughold Parish

Kirk Maughold has one of the oldest churches on the Isle of Man, in Maughold village itself

The parish of Kirk Maughold extends from Ramsey (Ballure) to the Dhoon, and from the sea to the hill ridge of North Barrule (its boundary with Lezayre), and the peaks of Slieau Lhean, Ouyr and Ruy (its boundary with Lonan).  Ramsey, south of the Leighany, was part of Maughold parish until it was legally constituted a separate entity in 1865.  It covers about twelve square miles. Maughold parish is a high mountainous district, and the greater part of it is unenclosed mountain land, incapable of cultivation. Its highest points are North Barrule 1,842 feet, Clagh Ouyre 1,808 feet, Slieau Lhean 1,507 feet, Slieau Ouyre 1,483 feet, and Slieau Ruy 1,300.

Its chief depressions are Ballure Glen, a small wooded ravine on the north slope of Barrule; Cornah Glen, a desolate mountain valley between Park Llewellyn and Barrule and the high ridge of Slieau Lhean and Slieau Ouyre; and Dhoon Glen, a short but picturesque and richly wooded opening among the roots of Slieau Ruy.  The country sinks down rapidly from the mountains to the coast, which is high and rocky and broken by numerous inlets.  Among these are Port-e-Vullen, a small creek at the northern side of Maughold Head - the point from which the insular telegraphic cable crosses to St Bees Head; Port Mooar, south of Maughold Head; Port Cornaa and Dhoon Bay, romantic creeks in a high precipitous coast.

A number of short streams flow down from the mountains to the sea through deep clefts in the coast, but the only stream of any size is the Cornaa river, which, rising on Clagh Ouyre, flows down the Cornaa Glen, and, after forming the fine falls of Ballaglass, reaches the sea at Cornaa or Kennay Creek.  The Dhoon stream, falling into the sea at Dhoon Bay, also forms a beautiful waterfall; which, together with the wooded glen, is much frequented by tourists.

Maughold Head, 373 feet, derives its name from St Maughold, or Machutus, who landed at its foot towards the close of the 5th century and established himself in a cave in the mountain side. After his death his shrine on this headland was held in great veneration down to the time of the Reformation, and was much frequented by pilgrims.  The village of Maughold thus became a place of considerable importance, but it is now quite insignificant.

The church, one of the oldest in the Island, is a plain structure of the ordinary Manx type, and contains some ancient relics.  It is surrounded by a churchyard nearly four acres in extent, one of the largest in the British Islands.  It was anciently a sanctuary where criminals were free from arrest, and, until recently, there were ruins of old buildings in the yard supposed to have been erected for the accommodation of those who thus took sanctuary.

A short distance from the north-east corner of else churchyard is the well of St Maughold, an ancient holy well formerly much venerated and greatly resorted to by pilgrims.  It is now in a neglected condition.  The view from the top of the headland is beautiful and extensive.  Close to the sea, on the south-east side of the Head, are the Dhyrane iron mines, now unworked, and in other parts of the headlands there are several old unused copper and iron mines.

Three miles distant is the lightship stationed off the Bahama Bank.  The western mountainous districts are incapable of cultivation, but the eastern parts towards the sea are cultivated or in pasture.  The parish contained several mines, and at the Dhoon attempts were made to work a hard syenitic granite which is found in that area.  Up until the mid 20th century, the population was partly agricultural and partly mining.  The northern extremity of the parish includes the town of Ramsey, south of the Sulby River.

In this area:

  • Ballaglass Glen
  • Ballure Glen
  • Dhoon Glen
  • Maughold
  • Brookdale
  • Dreemskerry
  • Skyhill
  • Cashtal yn Ard
map of Maughold Parish