Michael Church History
St Michael & All Angels, Kirk Michael, is in the Church of England Diocese of Sodor and Man, which comes under the Province of York. It was originally under the Bishop of Trondheim, Norway – as were the outer Scottish isles.
The Church was built in 1835 and was designed by the architect John Welch.
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The present building was consecrated in 1835. It is probably the fourth church on the site, which has almost certainly been a sacred place since Christianity first came to the Island, traditionally thought to be 447. The present church, designed in the gothic style by the architect Mr John Welch, was consecrated by Bishop Ward in 1835. Records differ as to the exact dedication and ‘St. Michael the Archangel’ and ‘St. Michael and All Angels’ appear on various literature. Legal opinion is that the dedication in the singular to St Michael the Archangel probably related to the old church and St Michael and All Angels to the current building.
The church is substantially built, cruciform in shape and with a large tower at the west end. When it opened, it was able to accommodate 650 persons. The clock in the tower was presented to the parish by Bishop Bardsley in 1887 and is very much a feature of Michael Village. It has one clock face looking towards the village and is floodlit at night.
The lychgate was designed by Mr Armitage Rigby and the foundation stone was laid on Easter Monday 1907 by the then Lieutenant-Governor, Lord Raglan. It was built to house the Runic Crosses, which have now been moved inside the church to preserve them from further weathering. Some date from the sixth century. Many visitors from around the world visit the church to see the largest group of stone crosses from the Norse (Scandinavian) period in the Island.
Being close to Bishopscourt and within Michael Parish, five Manx Bishops are buried in the old churchyard. This is sign posted to your right when you enter through the lychgate. A portion of the chancel wall of the previous church is still standing next to Bishop Wilson’s tomb, which has recently been renovated and is well worth a visit.
Inside the church the War Memorial Tablet is made of Sicilian marble and was unveiled by Lieutenant-Governor Fry on Easter Monday 1922. The 11-sided polygon memorial is a good specimen of the design work of Archibald Knox and the carved oak bracket is the work of Mr J.D.L. Kelly, a local craftsman and a leading light in the local building company known as Kelly Brothers. Much of the carved oak work in the church was carried out by this firm. Recently there has been some new information about the war fatalities and some extra names have been added to the list of Michael men who fell in the two World wars.
In the chancel, the centre light, reredos and wainscoting were erected in 1898 to the memory of Joseph Mylchreest (the Diamond King) by his widow. Although Mylchreest was a Peel man he bought the Whitehouse estate and lived there with his family when he returned from South Africa. The other two stained glass windows were erected in 1913 in memory of the Gell family also of the Whitehouse - the original windows from 1835 have been erected in Michael Community & Civic Centre that also contains the office for Michael Commissioners (local authority).
The present organ, built by Samuel Renn, was previously in St Nicholas’s Chapel at Bishopscourt and was presented to Michael Parish by Bishop Hill in 1878. Dating from possibly the 1840s, it counts as one of the historic organs in the Isle of Man and is listed in the UK National Pipe Organ Register.
List of Vicars of Michael since 1511
Sir John McCorkill, 1511
Donald Graham, 1571
Sir Hugh Cannell,1609
Sir Edward Nelson,1680
Edward Moore,1735 (who was also Vicar-General)
James Wilks, 1752 (Vicar-General and Episcopal Registrar)
John Crellin, 1771
Daniel Mylrea, 1799
Nicholas Christian, 1802
Thomas Harrison, 1808
Joseph Brown, 1818 (also Episcopal Registrar)
James Butler Knill Kelly, 1860
William Clavill Ingram, 1864
Robert Airey, 1874
Ernest Bickersteth Savage, 1878
William Hawley, 1883
Alfred Morris, 1894
Reginald Bradley Jolly, 1913
Henry Thomas Devall, 1914
Edward Thomas Pakenham, 1922
Canon Charles Alfred Cannan, 1926
John Foster, 1959
Kenneth Lilley, 1964
Robert Rigby, 1965
Leonard Hancock, 1972
Canon John Gelling, 1977
John Evans, 1993
Cyril D Rogers, 1997
Canon Malcolm Convery, 2012
Jeanette E Hamer, 2016
In May 2013 the Ancient Parish of Michael was merged with the Churches of Peel, St Johns, Patrick and Dalby to form the Parish of the West Coast as a single benefice with the Incumbent based at St German’s Cathedral, Peel. The Incumbent is also the Dean of the Cathedral.