Christianity came to the Isle of Man most likely from Ireland. St Patrick himself is said to have visited it and founded the church at St Patrick’s Isle on the west side of the island. A monastery was founded by 550 but this could have been the work of his disciples.
There are known to have been at least 174 small chapels, called ‘keills’, made of perishable materials and often found in burial grounds, with grave slabs and holy wells. Only 35 can be identified today, but over 200 crosses or cross slabs remain. Services would have been said by the priest, the congregation listening from outside. Keills are also found all over Islay and elsewhere on the coast of western Scotland.
The Island endured the raids of the Vikings but profited from their settlement. Many church sites were rebuilt. The Manx were under Norse control and their church under the Norse diocese of the Hebrides. After the Viking period the island suffered from both Scots and English designs; the English won out in the 14 century