Nendrum Monastery

Comber, United Kingdom

Nendrum Monastery may have been founded in the 5th century, but this is uncertain. The monastery came to an end at some time between 974 and 1178, but its church served a parish until the site was abandoned in the 15th century. Some remains of the monastery can still be seen.

Dendrochronology has dated a tide mill on the island to the year 619, making this the oldest excavated tide mill anywhere in the world. The monastic site included orchards, gardens, pastures, arable fields, and a guest-house.

The principal monastic remains which can now be seen are three concentric cashels (enclosures) of dry stone walling, but these were substantially rebuilt by Lawlor in the 1920s. The central cashel has the round tower remains, a ruined church with a sun-dial, and a graveyard. The second cashel contains what is called a 'monastic school' or workshop and other burials.

The canonical sundial now seen at one corner of the ruined church was reconstructed from fragments found during the excavation of the site in 1924 and has been dated to about the year 900. One of only a few early medieval sun-dials known to exist, it takes the form of a vertical stone pillar, 190 cm high, 40 cm wide and 15 cm thick, with the dial and gnomon on one face at the top. However, because of the nature of the reconstruction, the original height of the pillar is conjectural.


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Founded: 7th century AD
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mark Brown (13 months ago)
What a fantastic spot - it's as though the very stones are "singing" the Psalms of the faithful - a wonderfully "thin place" - well worth a visit to "pause" and drink in the Peace of the world
Robert Simpson (15 months ago)
Mahee Island go back in time Look at church Place for the Divine No Vikings now No sheep An occasional cow School room lies empty No children no monks Cells with straw on ground No vono,silent night or bunks Holy committal to prayer Digging their gardens Of danger unaware God protect us from harm St Mochaoi is our charm Fleeing to the stone tower Vikings burnt us out of bower Gold taken with glee Monks as prisoners They couldn't flee RJSimpson 17/03/22
Robert Simpson (15 months ago)
Wonderful place there is easy access with out climbing go up tarmac path (market private) to centre.which is often looked. Gradient but take slow can be managed sit on walls to get breath enjoy tranquility. Religious site, graveyard,schoolhouse , buildings ,sun dial and tower. Use your imagination. Good views to whiterock etc
Anna Kavanagh (2 years ago)
Really interesting place. Unfortunately the Visitor Centre is not currently open but you can see some of the exhibits through the window and there are some information boards which are very informative. I learned about tide mills for the first time. Wonderfully peaceful with fabulous views over Strangford Lough. Go during the week when there are a lot fewer people.
Martin Mathieu (3 years ago)
Very pleasant and interesting site. Pity the interpreter centre is closed.
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