Isle of Man

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg


An attractive church despite its boring exterior


This was one of the original churches established when the Isle of Man was divided into parishes in the C12th and was probably built on the site of an old keeil. Although the present church dates from 1759, it was built alongside its C16th century predecessor and part of the old north wall forms part of the south wall of the present church. The sun dial above the south door is thought to have been part of the earlier church. A new chancel was added in 1763 which may explain the slight difference in the colour. There were repairs in the late C19th when the pews were replaced.

It was originally built with a simple bellcote at the west end. The tower was added in 1915 as a memorial to a well loved physician from the parish. Set in a large grave yard, the outside of the church is pebble dash giving it the appearance of a large and rather boring church.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

Entry is through  west door under the tower into a small vestibule. The inside is much more interesting than would be thought from the exterior.  Walls are whitewashed with a lot of memorials and there is a dark wood ceiling. The floor is brightly coloured patterned Minton tiles.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

The stone font is at the front of the nave near the pulpit.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

There is wood panelling around the base of the small chancel and the open carved box altar has green curtaining behind the panels.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

The east window depicts the Mount of Olives.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

There is a gallery across the back of the church which has the organ.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

The war memorial commemorating the dead of both World Wars is at the back of the north wall with flags on either side.
 
Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

The nave contains several attractive stained glass windows, including one to Captain John Quillam who was born in Marown in 1771 and served under Admiral Lord Nelson in HNS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. He died in 1829 and is buried in Arbory churchyard.

Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg  Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg  Arbory Church of St Columba, Ballabeg

The church is set back from the A7, the main road through the village and is opened daily. There is parking along the side of the road. The nearest post code is IM9 4LH and the grid reference is  SC 247704. It is worth visiting.

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