Irish-Scotch Travel Journal Day – 7

Maughold Village, Isle of Man, a hidden treasure

If you are looking for Christian history, the Isle of Man is probably not the first place that comes to mind. The Isle of Man is known as a tax haven for corporations, not a destination of spiritual pilgrimages.

When we were here in 2018, we toured Viking burials, the ruins of an early Christian church, and Castletown where John Wesley preached in 1777. Today we determined to do something different, and that led us to Maughold Village.

St. Maughold lived in the 5th Century A.D. in Ireland. He was a pirate, captaining a ship of pirates, that is, until he crossed paths with St. Patrick.

As we know, Patrick was bold, and Patrick preached the gospel to Maughold, who repented and gave his life to Jesus. As evidence of his repentance Maughold in approximately 450 A.D. and probably commissioned by Patrick, set out in a boat from Ireland for the Isle of Man. When he arrived, he began doing what he apparently had seen St. Patrick doing in Ireland – making disciples.

Maughold founded a church there, in what is now known as as the Village of Maughold, and he baptized new believers at a well a few hundred yards from the church down the slope toward the Irish Sea. He later became a bishop and is now considered the patron saint of the Isle of Man.

So, today, we were on a Maughold mission. We rented a taxi and told the driver we would need him for about two hours. He drove us the ten miles to the Village of Maughold, about a 30 minute drive through some of the most beautiful country with some of the most beautiful vistas you can imagine.

The church there, besides being founded by St. Maughold, is also home to a number of early Celtic crosses, some nearly 1500 years old. We looked around inside the church and then outside at the crosses before I asked for directions to Maughold’s Well. I was told it was a twenty minute walk.

The path to Maughold’s Well

It was a challenging trek. It began as a small road, which led to a gate, that led to a grass path, that narrowed and nearly disappeared before turning hard to the right along the steep hill leading down to the sea, then through another gate until finally reaching the well.

Maughold’s Well, Village of Maughold, Isle of Man

When I arrived at the well, I began taking pictures and was starting to imagine Maughold 1,500 years ago baptizing people. My contemplation was interrupted when I saw our taxi driver walking down the path toward me and the well. He had told us he had never seen nor even heard of the well.

I hate to admit that at first I was a bit irritated. I wanted some time alone there to think and take pictures and now after coming all that way, the scene I had set had been interrupted.

I continued taking pictures until the Holy Spirit made it very clear that the person standing there was more important than my contemplative time at a well and that he was not there by chance.

As we turned to walk back toward the church I began asking him questions. He was not a Christian. He was 40 years old and just a few years prior had a serious health scare. I told him about the life of Maughold, and his conversion from pirate to Jesus-follower.

Then, back in Douglas, before we parted, I talked to him about the Lord. I was doing what Patrick had done with Maughhold and Maughold had done on the Isle of Man, and what John Wesley had done after him on the Isle of Man.

Jesus told His disciples,

“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”

Matthew 10:23

We do not finish going through our cities until Jesus comes because each new generation must hear the gospel. It was not enough that Maughold evangelized the the Isle of Man; it need to be evangelized again by John Wesley, and it needs to be evangelized today.

The kingdom of God grows exponentially, though, so that each generation more Christians are reaching people who don’t know Jesus. This is the growth Jesus described in the parables of the leaven and mustard seed that, to the world, is both stealthy and surprising.

The church steeple over Douglas, Isle of Man

As we were leaving the bay, I noticed for the first time a steeple on the skyline of Douglas. It was the tallest structure in the city, and not by a little. It was a reminder that whatever the spiritual condition is of the Isle of Man today, the King and His kingdom still reign supreme. GS

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