Spooyt Vane/ Cabbal Pherick

Points of Interest
View More
Glen Mooar, Kirk Michael, Isle of Man, | Directions

This keeill stands just north of the Spooyt Vane waterfall, in which it is said a priest drowned some years ago.

This Keeill stands in a small plantation about 130 yards north west of the charming little waterfall, Spooyt Vane, and about 150 ft. above sea level.

It was found to measure about 23ft. by 13ft. - the walls standing from 28 inches high at the West end to 40 inches high on the East.

The doorway is in the middle of the West wall. There appeared to have been a step of about 12 inches down from the outside, against which the usual bank of earth and rubble could be traced for a width of about 4 ft.

The Altar was of unusual shape, and the sides were marked by small stones set on edge.

The sill of the East window, as well as the jamb-stones had gone, but the bed prepared for it could be traced.

The walls showed a slight but distinct batter, and  consisted of an inner and an outer face of stone, filled in with soil and rubble. The stones, set without mortar, were undressed, but carefully fitted, those of the lowest course of some size.

A little cross-slab found within the keeill was donated to the Manx Museum and Ancient Monuments Trustees.

It is said that the last Priest who officiated in the keeill was guilty of mending his carranes on a Sunday, and in consequence, met with a sudden and dreadful end.

The story as told by the late Mr. Cannell was as follows: "The priest of Cabbal Pherick, at the Spooyt Vane, was a cobbler to his trade. One day he was so busy mending a pair of shoes that he did not notice the people passing in the road and looking at him in surprise.

"His housekeeper came to him at last and said 'Are you not ashamed to be doing work on the Sabbath and all the people waiting at the Chapel for you?' 'What are thou talking of woman,' he said, 'Go and count the eggs and see how many are in the nest.' For the priest had a hen which laid an egg every day and they were collected only once a week, and that is how he knew what day it would be.

So the woman went, and when she came back she sai 'Seven eggs there are.' Then the priest threw down his tools, and rushed away with such haste that he fell down the Spooyt Vane, and was drowned. And the people never used the Chapel any more."

Another version lays stress on the fact that he waxed his shoe-laces, and when he was crossing the stream he tripped ever them and was carried down the fall!

Source:  Third report of the Manx Archaeological Survey Report, 1911