Manx Keeills 500–1100 CE


Map Code: Ax02068

Keeill is a Gaelic name for the many Christian chapels once scattered across the island of Manx (the Isle of Man). Constructed as solitary ‘cells’ or ‘keeills’ by clergy who acted as spiritual advisors to the local community, the earliest keeills are thought to have been made from mud and wattle, while the later keeills (c. 800–1100), some of whose ruins remain, were made with stone-lined earth walls. The average keeill measured 16 ft (5 m) by 11 ft. (3 m), but there were huge variations in size and in the thickness of their walls, which were up to 4 ft 8 ins (1.4 m) in width. They often had one window and a narrow, tapering door. Commonly built near ancient burial mounds, it was not unusual for them to be dedicated to specific saints. For example, Keeill Vartyn was dedicated to St Martin (uncle to St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland).

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