Keeill number seven.

With kind permission of Mrs Caine.

A keeill or not a keeill? That is the question.

We set off one damp and windy child free day to find the Sholghaige y Quiggin Keeill (named from the quarterland on which it is situated) near Little London.  After an hour of hunting in the rain, we admitted defeat.  I remember saying to Nicola that if anyone had seen us with our maps out in the rain and wind, they’d have thought we were mad!

On our second attempt we were armed with the old O.S. map which we’d lined up with the current map, not so easy as you’d think down to field boundaries moving and changing, we also had Google Earth and we needed it.  A further hour of walking up and down fields and climbing over gates and we were about to give in a second time when we realised that a patch of scrub that we must have walked past a number of times was actually the site of the ‘keeill’!, there was great satisfaction in finding it at last and we celebrated with some of Nicola’s homemade fruit loaf and a cup of tea.

Although we knew this was the site that we had been looking for, there really was very little to see, a few stones only but mainly bracken, it was definitely the most disappointing site so far.

The disappointment was compounded on reading the Third Report of the Manx Archaeological Committee when we saw that in their opinion, this site was not actually one of a keeill but an early pagan burial ground!  I have shared the extract from the survey below:

The O.S., VII, 13, (2044), marks “Site of Chapel” on the Intack lands of Sholghaige y Quiggin, about 383 yds. N. N. W. of the last. When cleared, however, this showed a circle of white quartz boulders about 23 ft. 6 in. diam., the inside area packed with small stones mostly quartz. It had all the appearance of a pagan burial-place, and there was no sign of any building. As it was so close to the last, and on the same Quarterland, it is unlikely that there was a Keeill, and it seems probable that the titles of these two on the O.S. had by accident been transposed.

It sounds like the Sholghaige y Quiggin ‘Keeill’ needs to come off our list altogether!

Still, not altogether a wasted experience, we laughed a lot and there was cake of course.




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