A rural sacred space which transcends the generations.
St Sanctain’s, (known for a brief period as St Anne’s), continues to be part of the rural south east corner of the Isle of Man; it has been here for almost 250 years.
Services are held every Sunday at 11am
(often with coffee & tea in the neighbouring Parish Centre).
Using a variety of Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship services alongside more informal services, the congregation looks forward to welcoming you to this historic (but very comfortable) church.
The church can be found tucked away on a quiet lane just off the Old Castletown Road in Santan near to the Millennium Stone and is open most days from 9:30am until dusk.
Kirk Santan is dedicated to the Celtic saint, Sanctain.
The church is one of the ancient Parish churches of the Island. The parochial system in Man is supposed to have been established in the 12th century, when the native Norse King, Olaf 1, ruled the Island. He gave considerable grants of land to the Church. Christianity in the Isle of Man traditionally dates from 447 A.D. and it is commonly thought that the faith arrived here from Ireland, although it perhaps more likely that the arrival was somewhat later by virtue of monks possibly from the celtic church of St Columba of Iona, or even from Wales. Wherever these missionaries came from, each seems to have picked a suitable spot, usually near a well or spring of water. There was built a small ‘keeill’ or chapel, about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide. Close beside it, the monk would build a small cell in which he lived. In the keeill, mass and the daily offices would be said, and days would be spent preaching to the families in the area. This present parish church has been built on the site of such an early keeill.
The church was rebuilt on the old plan in 1720, and again in 1774. the interior was restored in 1932, and there have been more recent alterations. The position of St Sanctain’s is typical of the old parish churches in the Island. There was no early tradition of village settlement here, the normal rural pattern (derived from both the Celtic and Norse practice) being that of isolated, scattered farmsteads. The early parish churches – such as this – seem to have been erected on a principal keeill site towards the coastal end of their respective Parishes. Those who live in this part of the Parish and worship here perpetuate a tradition of sixteen centuries, in its Celtic form dating back to the fifth or sixth century A.D.
For a more detailed history of Santon Church and the surrounding area click on the image below to be taken to history of the Santon Commissioners website.