Peel Castle as seen from the swing bridge at the entrance to Peel harbour
|Town or city||St Patrick's Isle, Peel|
|Country||Isle of Man|
|Construction started||11th century|
|Client||Magnus II of the Isle of Man|
|Design and construction|
Peel Castle (Cashtal Purt ny h-Inshey 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 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 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 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.
Cathedral of St German (ruins)
The cathedral ruins located within the walls of Peel Castle are those of the former Cathedral of St German. Like the structures throughout the castle grounds, the cathedral's roof is completely missing. Robert Anderson examined the ruins to determine what repairs were required to restore the cathedral, and he reported to the island's Lieutenant Governor in 1877. However, none of the suggested repairs were carried out.
There is a cemetery in what was once the cathedral's nave.
- "Isle of Man". Ron Wise's Banknoteworld. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
- 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
- Avalon's Location
- 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.
- 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. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Peel Castle.|
- Peel Castle - Manx National Heritage
- Peel Heritage site
- Cathedral of St. German floorplan c.1727
- Isle of Man Guide to Peel Castle