Weekend of Special Events Celebrated Maughold Church and its Patron Saint

Organised in the wake of restrictions implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, a weekend of special events wa

s organised to celebrate St Maughold, regarded by some as the patron saint of the Isle of Man, and the beauty and history of the parish church.

The special three-day weekend incorporated St Maughold’s Day itself, which included dressing the nearby St Maughold’s Well with flowers and a pilgrimage to bring the decorations from the well up to the church. Situated on the steep Maughold broogh and overlooking the sea, it’s thought to have been used historically for baptism – with water still drawn for such purpose today. Recognised as an important centre of pilgrimage, the spring of clear water was said to offer a cure for sore eyes.

This singular, popular occasion presented an opportunity for visitors to discover more about the northern parish, which sits amidst glorious countryside and extensive views of neighbouring farmland. There was an exhibition of old photographs of the district within the parish hall before visitors headed towards Maughold Church, where most of the activities were centred. This included a children’s trail of the churchyard, a monk in residence to answer questions and Celtic musical entertainment by Arabella Ayen and Peddyr Cubberley on harp and flute within the church itself.

Other events for this popular weekend incorporated an illustrated talk by Dr Michael Hoy entitled Maughold – Bandit and Bishop, a parish lunch, an opportunity to explore the church itself and a pie and salad supper.

There were also a number of outdoor events, including a Monks and Mines Walk led by Dr Andrew Foxon, a walk at dusk with Phil Craine amongst the nearby broogh a stroll through Ballaglass Glen to Port Cornaa with Catriona Livingstone of Manx Walks and an opportunity for afternoon tea at Cornaa Mill garden.

Evening prayer (conducted in English with Manx language items) and Compline (a traditional monastic evening prayer) were held in the evocative setting of the north keeill, together with a Celtic Eucharist Service, led by the Bishop of Sodor and Mann Peter Eagles, at the site of the east keeill.

The fourteenth century, sandstone Maughold parish cross, (reported to be the only one of its kind on the Isle of Man) is now situated within the church, with the celebrated shelter, designed by Armitage Rigby for the remarkable collection of Manx stone crosses located in the parish, close by within the church grounds.

Valerie Caine

© August 2020