[From Manx Soc vol 5, 1860]


Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Wm. Gill, Vicar of Malew.

"The chapel is at the distance of three miles N.E. from the Parish Church of Malew, on the estate of Ballakilley or Ballacheilley, (so called from this keeil or church existing on it.) The chapel is about thirty yards from the mansion house, constructed of very rude materials, slate-stone and undressed granite boulders, put together with mud mortar. Its dimensions inside are 21 feet in length, by 9 feet in breadth ; height of the side walls, 8 feet; thickness of the walls, 2 feet 10 inches. The west gable is standing, but shows no appearance of having borne a bell-turret. The east is fallen to the ground. The doorway is on the south side near the east end, 6 feet high by 2 feet 10 inches wide. There is one square-headed window on the north, opposite the door-; another on the south near the west end. This latter window is 2 feet 6 inches high, by 1 foot 6 inches wide at the outside, splaying to 2 feet 6 inches at the insile. The appearances of a grave ground are all obliterated. When I first visited the spot, thirtytwo years ago, there were numerous flag stones protruding from the ground here and there, to the distance of 80 yards or more from the chapel, on the west. A rich crop of turnips now covers the ground. I can learn nothing of the date of the building, but it is evidently of great antiquity. There is an interesting account of another ruined church in this parish, at St. Michaels Isle, in Mr. Cumming's History of the Isle of Man, pp. 91 - 94.

Names of some of the ruins of the Treen Chapels and Cairns, generally called old Keeils, viz. Crook Keeil Lhane or Cronk y Lhane, near Peel; Crosh va Lhane, Patrick; Keeil Pharrick, near Colby; Keeil Pharrick a Drumma, Kirk Michael ; Karn Vaal, Kirk Michael ; Keeil Vaal, Balladoole, Malew ; Keeil Colomb, Jurby; Cabbal Katrina, Rushen; Cabbal Druag, Lezayre; Cabbal Vaal, Maughold Barony; Keeil Woirrey, Patrick; Keeil ny Lhaune, Patrick; St. Mary's or Keeil Woirrey, at Kerroo Dhoo, Patrick; Karn Orry, Cronk Moar, Keeil Albin or Keeil Abbon, Cabbal Nickolus, and Keeil Veerr, Laxey Glen. There is also one in Amagarry, at the southern base of Snafeld. Many other examples of the chapel, the kist vaen, and harrow might be given, but these will suffice. Some of the fields in which these ruins are found are called the Chapel Field, and the ruins are generally known as the "Old Chapel." - ED.

There are aged people still living, in Lonan, who remember the time when some of the country people in that parish sometimes buried their dead without coffins at all. The corpse, wrapped in a winding sheet, was laid upon the bier, covered with a pall spread upon a kind of cradle, and in this manner borne to the grave.

Keillagh, in the Manx language signifies a Church; hence the modern word Kirk. Kiel means concealed, unknown; hence Keeill, the name of these ruins, I suppose. The Manx also say Kayll, a wood, a grove, and Kayllagh, a dryad or wood-nymph, or a fabulous deformed old woman.


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