A fascinating cottage like no other that has been inspired by giants and folklore is taking shape near Ballasalla.

Before the pandemic restrictions put a pause on construction works, an unusual three-bedroom property was steadily progressing with steam train passengers being able to spot the building at Ballawoods Halt near the Blackboards.

The man behind the developing masterpiece is inventor Dr John Taylor OBE who lives in his personally-designed home, Arragon Mooar in Santon.

Shortly before building work stopped on March 27, three corner quoins from the island’s Stoney Mountain quarry in Foxdale were installed on the south-east corner of the new Gatekeeper’s Cottage. The bottom quoin alone weighs 4.3 tons.

The cottage was formerly the scene of a murder between the world wars, which led to years of no interest from buyers. The 83-year-old, however, had often wondered how he could renovate the derelict cottage, but certain challenges led to him coming up with an interesting new build.

He said: ’I wondered if I could delve into the mists of Manx folklore of giants throwing rocks at each other by designing a completely new Gatekeeper’s Cottage that might have been made by a pair of giants as a play-house for their boisterous children.

’The island has such beautiful green colours and I decided to replicate this palette. This set my mind to design special patinated green copper shingles for the roof of the new cottage. In designing houses, fire is always my concern. Wooden staircases can burn, but Stoney Mountain granite is incombustible!


’The concept was a cottage built out of huge pieces of stone which was reflected inside with the staircase also incorporating enormous stones.’

This is reflected inside with the showstopping staircase, also made of large slabs of stone.

The Foxdale stone was taken to Bristol as there was no stonemason in the island with the equipment to deal with the huge boulders in this way.

A team of experts from around the island are bringing Dr Taylor’s dream into fruition.

Having battled ’atrocious wind and rain’ at the start of 2020, they are on standby while this new storm of Covid-19 passes. In the meantime, Dr Taylor will be completing design work.