Isle of Man

Peel Castle, Isle of Man

Peel Castle stands on St. Patrick's Isle on the west coast of the Island.  St. Patrick's Isle gets its name became St. Patrick was supposed to have landed here on his way to Ireland, converting the people of the Man to Christianity in passing. The Isle is connected to the mainland by an extension to the harbour wall, built only a hundred or so years ago.

The Castle gets the name Peel from its early wooden structure made up of wooden beams or "piles".  This was probably constructed around 1098 by Magnus Barefoot, King of Norway (and at the time occupier of Man).  This wooden fort was still standing in 1230 when King Olaf II returned from exile to become King of Man.

At around the same time the Cathedral of St. German was founded on St. Patrick's Isle.  This proved a great attraction to raiders and in 1392 William le Scrope obtained a licence from no less an authority than the Pope to fortify St. Patrick's Isle to protect the Cathedral following a particularly bad sacking in 1388.  In 1399 Sir John Stanley increased the fortifications anticipating attacks from Scotland and France.

The Cathedral remained in use until 1784, eventually falling into ruin and being replaced by the modern Cathedral in Peel town.

The wall which surrounds the whole of St. Patrick's Isle was added by Thomas II in the late 1400s and in 1540 a round battery was added to protect the north east end of the Isle and the Half Moon Battery, immediately west of the Cathedral, to protect the seaward side.

Excavations on the Isle have found traces of an Iron Age settlement, an early Christian cemetery which was later used for Viking burials and Norse fortifications.

All in all Peel Castle is a fascinating and extensive ruin and one of the most historic places on the Isle of Man.

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© Text copyright - Raving Loony Productions, Andrew J. Müller and Roy Barton
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