Peel Castle, Isle of Man

St. German's Cathedral, Peel Castle, Isle of Man

The Cathedral was founded on St. Patrick's Isle off Peel on the west coast of the Isle of Man around 1227 by Symon of Argyll, who was Abbot of Iona and the Bishop of Man. A previous church, St. Patrick's, had been on the island from around the 9th Century.

At this time the Island was still under Norse control and both Kings Godred II and Olaf II of Norway died on St. Patrick's Isle. The Castle was built around the Cathedral to protect it from raids, in 1392 the Pope gave William le Scrope permission to fortify the island, at the same time repairs and enlargements were made to the Cathedral.

The Crypt is known as the Bishop's Dungeon and was used for centuries as a place where non-churchgoers and other "wrongdoers" were punished. In the late 17th Century Quakers were interred here and underwent severe punishments (having already fled England). They were forced from the island and did not return until 1950. The Crypt was last used as a prison in 1780.

During the 17th Century the Cathedral began to fall into disrepair, although it was used as a parish church until 1799. Bishop Hill attempted to repair the Cathedral in 1870, but the task was too great, so he turned his attention to St. Peter's in the town which has subsequently been demolished.

In 1884 the new church, St. German's, was built in the town and this finally became the new Cathedral of the Isle of Man in 1980.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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