St Michael's Isle

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St Michael's Chapel
Derby Fort
St Michael's Isle

St Michael's Isle (Manx: Ellan Noo Mael or Ynnys Vaayl), popularly referred to as Fort Island, is an island of the Isle of Man in Malew parish, noted for its attractive ruins. It covers an area of 5.14 hectares (12.70 acres),[1] is about 400 metres (440 yards) long [2] from west to east, and is connected to the Langness Peninsula, Derbyhaven by a narrow causeway. The island itself is made of rocky slate and the soil is very acidic.[1] Nevertheless, it has important communities of maritime plants.[3]

There is evidence for human activity on the island from the Mesolithic period onwards [3] and there are two ancient buildings situated on the isle. Both are in a state of ruin and closed to the public, though there are a number of walks which allow visitors to explore the surroundings.

St Michael's Chapel, a 12th-century chapel, is located on the south side of the island. This Celtic-Norse chapel was built on the site of an older Celtic keeill.

The island is also the site to two great battles for the control of the Isle of Man in 1250 and 1275, when England, Scotland and the Manx were fighting for control of the island. In the first battle the Manx won but 25 years later, they lost control to Scotland.[1]

Derby Fort, a 17th-century fort, is located at the eastern end of the island. Built by James Stanley, the 7th Earl of Derby and Lord of Mann in 1645, the fort was constructed during the English Civil War to protect the then busy port of Derbyhaven.

In addition to the ruins, the island serves as a bird sanctuary.


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Coordinates: 54°04′26″N 4°36′27″W / 54.07389°N 4.60750°W / 54.07389; -4.60750