Isle of Man

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan


An unspoilt Georgian interior and one of the best displays of early Christian crosses on the Island


A church was built here in the C12th after the division of the island into parishes. Just two miles from Douglas it was the parish church for the town until 1876 when a new church was built next to it.

The present building dates from 1773 following complaints that the previous building was too small and that the roof and gable were unsafe. It is thought that much of the walls of the early church were incorporated into present stonework. The east end was rebuilt, a new roof added and a tower built at the west end. Like other churches it had pyramids at the corners and also on the church tower. This is only one of the churches on the Island of that of that age which has a tower. Unlike many of the other island churches, it has never been whitewashed.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

The church is surrounded by a large and now disused graveyard with many C18th and C19th gravestones. The tall obelisk is dedicated to Lord Henry Murray, the fifth son of the 4th Duke of Atholl, the Lord of Mann. 

On the south wall is a sundial with longer lines marking the time of services.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

At a Vestry Meeting in March 1869, it is recorded that “The old church has long been felt inconveniently small to the requirements of the parish, and from age and decay is incapable of satisfactory improvement or enlargement ".  A resolution was passed to build a new church on a site close by. It was also noted that ‘ It may be well to mention here that that the old church is a picturesque object, and has long been a favourite resort of visitors, it is intended to let it remain precisely as it is’. This explains the unspoilt Georgian interior and the church has been described as ‘the church the Victorians forgot’. It must have been very uncomfortable during the long services as a Vicar in 1832 noted there were no cushions in the pews, no stove, no organ and no choir. Services were long and conducted half in Manx and half in English. It wasn’t until 1852 that two stoves were installed; one in the chancel and one by the west door.

The Friends of Old Kirk Braddan Braddan Church was established in 1982 to raise money for the preservation of  church and it was reroofed. it is still used for the occasional service.

Old Braddan Kirk  is a wonderful church with its box pews, gallery, three decker pulpit and Decalogue. Walls are whitewashed with rows of hat pegs. On the floor are old tomb slabs. Lighting was originally by oil lamp. Now there are a few small spotlights. Light streams in through the large plain glass windows. With the dark stained woodwork it is very much a ‘black and white’ church.  

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

At the back is a large gallery. A door leads into the vestry beneath the tower.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

The black cast iron plate on ther back wall in the vestry is a wall safe which was installed in 1817 after a burglary when nearly 40/- collected for the poor was stolen.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

The nave is still dominated by the three decker pulpit. The parish clerk sat at the bottom. The vicar lead prayers and read  Bible from  second level and preached hell fire and damnation top level.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

Pews are small box pews apart from the larger gentry’s pew to left of  altar

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

The chancel is tiny reflecting the difference in importance between preaching and the sacrament. The altar is not the original and was given to the church in 1836. On either side of east window are boards with Ten Commandments (Decalogue), Lord’s Prayer and the Creed.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

There are a few memorials on  walls.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

At  back of  north wall is one of the few surviving wall fonts on  Island, although it is not known if this is the original position.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

The church also contains one of the best displays of early Christian crosses on the island dating from 600 to the C13th.

Old Kirk Braddan, Braddan

The church is set back from the A1, Douglas to Peel Road at Braddan Bridge and the A23 roundabout. There is some parking in front of the church.  The post code is IM4 4lb and the grid reference is SC 364768. The church is usually open 10-4. If it is locked there is a phone number to contact or there may be someone in the Parish Office in the new church who can unlock the church. It is definitely worth visiting.

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