by 2nd May 2022

Isle of Man - Religion


Religion has long played an influential role in the life of the Isle of Man, and the Manx Church even pre-dates the churches of York, Canterbury and Westminster. The first Sunday school in the world was also formed here, at Lonan church in 1808.


Full details of contact names and addresses for religious groups are listed in the Government's Information Pack, available in person from Government offices.




45 Anglican churches are spread across the Isle of Man, as are 37 Methodist churches.


Church of England


It remains the largest religious organisation on the Isle of Man with forty five Anglican churches and one Church of England Primary school. It is divided into three Deaneries - Douglas, Castletown and Peel, and Ramsey. The most Senior churchman on the Island is the LORD BISHOP of Sodor and Man, who also holds a seat on the Legislative Council of the Tynwald Court.




Are the second largest Christian group on the Isle of Man, with thirty seven Methodist Churches. Methodism was first introduced here by John Merlin in 1758 and later preached by John Wesley who found here 'but six Papists and no dissenters'. The simple faith of the Manx people impressed him greatly and before long there were twenty ministers on the Island. Most towns and villages had a number of Primitive Methodist chapels and Wesleyan chapels, often situated on opposite sides of the street or one at either end.


Roman Catholicism


Comes under the Archdiocese of Liverpool, and The Dean of the Isle of Man is the Very Reverend Canon Brendan Alger.


Manx Roman Catholics suffered greatly under the sixteenth century Reformation when they lost their places of worship and had to gather in ancient keeils. It wasn't until the early nineteenth century that they were given some land on the Old Castletown road for St Bridget's Chapel and later were able to build St Mary's Church in Douglas.


Since then the arrival of workers from Liverpool and Ireland has considerably swelled the Roman Catholic population and there are now eight Catholic churches around the Island and a Catholic primary school adjoined to St Mary's in Douglas.




They established a presence on the Island in the 1840s at Glen Helen, and among their converts was Manxman George Quayle Cannon - who later emigrated to the United States and became the Mormon President. Their current Chapel in Douglas has about 140 members.




The handful who moved to the Island in the seventeenth century to escape English persecution appear to have suffered no less greatly here. Not only were they hounded, imprisoned and banned from meeting but their dead could not be buried in consecrated ground so they had to inter them secretly in glens and woods. Many were driven out and it wasn't until 1961 that the few Quakers who returned to settle here were officially recognised.


Minority Religions


The relatively recent influx of new residents and acceptance of new ideas has seen a greater tolerance of minority religions, and many have flourished or at the least maintained an enthusiastic core of worshippers.


The Island has a number of practising Buddhists, Muslims, Christian Scientists and Christadelphians. There is a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall in Douglas, built by the local community, and The Salvation Army has an active Citadel and Day Centre in Douglas.


Representatives of the Jewish Community, Greek Orthodox Church, the Gideon Society and the Baha'i Faith are all also resident on the Island.


Acknowledgement: Manx Heritage Foundation

Posted by Yabsta
2nd May 2022 9:03 pm.
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