Isle of Man

Tynwald Church, Isle of Man

The Tynwald is the site of the ancient parliament of the Isle of Man (the world’s second oldest after Iceland – or sometimes considered the world’s oldest depending on source) dating officially to 979 AD.

As in many places on the Island, the church – strictly speaking only a Chapel dedicated to St. John – was built on the site of an ancient keeill. It is also thought that the local Celts worshipped their god, Lugh, here before even that time. The first reference of a Chapel on the site was in 1557, although it almost certainly dated to earlier than that.

By 1847 the Chapel was considered too small and too insignificant to be at the governmental seat of Man, so it was demolished and a new construction was begun. A cross with runes carved into it was found during demolition and it stands in the new church porch.

The new Chapel was begun in 1849 by Lane and Lane of Manchester. It cost £2,535 which was a considerable amount at that time. The organ is believed to have originated in the older building and was removed, stored and rebuilt in the new one.

St. John’s gives focus to the opposite end of the Tynwald site to the famous stepped mound where the Manx Parliament meets and all is combined into one of the Island’s key monuments.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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