Peel Castle

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For the fortifications located in Northern England and the Scottish Borders, see Peel tower.
Not to be confused with Piel Castle, located 30 miles to the east on the coast of Great Britain.
Peel Castle
Isle of Man Peel Castle.jpg
Peel Castle as seen from the swing bridge at the entrance to Peel harbour
General information
Town or city St Patrick's Isle, Peel
Country Isle of Man
Construction started 11th century
Completed 1860
Client Magnus II of the Isle of Man
Design and construction
Architect Several

Peel Castle (Cashtal Purt-ny-Hinshey in Manx Gaelic) is a castle in Peel on the Isle of Man, originally constructed by Vikings. The castle stands on St Patrick's Isle which is connected to the town by a causeway. It is now owned by Manx National Heritage and is open to visitors during the summer.

The castle illuminated at night, from a similar viewpoint as above
Original Peel cathedral, inside the castle
Chancel of the Cathedral of St. German

The castle was built in the 11th century by the Vikings, under the rule of King Magnus Barefoot. While there were older stone Celtic monastic buildings on the island, the first Viking fortifications were built of wood. The prominent round tower was originally part of the Celtic monastery, but has had battlements added at a later date. In the early 14th century, the majority of the walls and towers were built primarily from local red sandstone, which is found abundantly in the area. After the rule of the Vikings, the castle continued to be used by the Church due to the cathedral built there – the see of the diocese of Sodor and Man – but was eventually abandoned in the 18th century.

The castle remained fortified, and new defensive positions were added as late as 1860. The buildings within the castle are now mostly ruined, but the outer walls remain intact. Excavations in 1982-87 revealed an extensive graveyard as well as the remains of Magnus Barefoot's original wooden fort. The most spectacular finds were the 10th century grave of "The Pagan Lady" which included a fine example of a Viking necklace and a cache of silver coins dating from about 1030. The Castle's most famous "resident" is the so-called Moddey Dhoo or "Black Dog" ghost.

Peel Castle features today on the reverse side of the £10 notes issued by the Isle of Man Government.[1]

Peel Castle may occasionally be confused with Piel Castle, located on Piel Island, around 30 miles to the east in the Irish Sea. This particularly occurs in reference to the William Wordsworth poem describing Piel, spelling its name as 'Peele': especially as Wordsworth is documented as having visited Peel Castle, and wrote several times about the Isle of Man.[2]

Peel Castle has been proposed as a possible location of the Arthurian Avalon.[3]

Cathedral of St. German (ruins)[edit]

Peel Castle seen from the Peel coastline.
The round tower was modified with later battlements

The cathedral ruins located within the walls of Peel Castle are those of the former Cathedral of St. German.[4] Like the structures throughout the castle grounds, the cathedral's roof is completely missing. An examination by Robert Anderson to determine what repairs were required to restore the cathedral was completed and reported to the island's lieutenant governor in 1877.[5] However, none of the suggested repairs were carried out.

A pointed barrel-vaulted crypt exists below the chancel measuring 34 feet by 16 feet by 9 feet high at the west end, sloping to the entrance at the east.[5]

In the middle of the transept is the tomb where Bishop Rutter was interred in 1661.[5]

A cemetery exists in what was once the cathedral's nave.

In 1980 the parish of German, part of the Church of England's Diocese of Sodor and Man, was officially transferred to the newer Cathedral Church of St German on Albany Road in Peel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Isle of Man". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  2. ^ William Wordsworth - Itinerary Poems of 1833 Isle-of-man.com; accessed April 2007; Wordsworth's lines on Peele Castle, though sometimes ascribed to Peel Castle, IoM, do in fact refer to the Peele at Foudrey near Barrow
  3. ^ Avalon's Location
  4. ^ Coakley, Frances (2007). "The Ruined Cathedral of St. German, Peel, Isle of Man". A Manx Note Book: An Electronic Compendium of Matters Past and Present Connected with the Isle of Man. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Anderson, Robert (1877). "Scheme for an Extensive Reparation of the Ruins of Peel Castle and St. German's Cathedral, Isle of Man". A Manx Note Book: An Electronic Compendium of Matters Past and Present Connected with the Isle of Man. Archived from [archiveurl=http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/fulltext/pc1877/index.htm the original] on 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°13′35.22″N 4°41′56.76″W / 54.2264500°N 4.6991000°W / 54.2264500; -4.6991000