Peel Cathedral

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Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man
The Cathedral Church of St German
Peel Cathedral 2006.jpg
Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man is located in Isle of Man
Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man
Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man
Shown within Isle of Man
Coordinates: 54°13′18″N 4°41′28″W / 54.22167°N 4.69111°W / 54.22167; -4.69111
CountryIsle of Man
DenominationChurch of England
WebsiteCathedral Isle of Man
Former name(s)Kirk German, Peel Parish Church
Previous cathedralsPeel Cathedral & Castle (on St Patrick's Isle)
DioceseSodor and Man
Bishop(s)Peter Eagles
DeanNigel Godfrey
Canon(s)John Coldwell (St Patrick)
Clive Burgess (St Maughold)
Joe Heaton (St German)
Janice Ward (St Columba)
ArchdeaconAndie Brown
Director of musicPeter Litman

The Cathedral Church of Saint German or Peel Cathedral, rebranded as Cathedral Isle of Man, is located in Peel, Isle of Man. The cathedral is also one of the parish churches in the parish of the West Coast, which includes the town of Peel,[1] and was built in 1879–84.[2] It was made the cathedral by Act of Tynwald in 1980.[3]

It is the cathedral church of the Church of England Diocese of Sodor and Man.


Original cathedral on St Patrick's Isle.

The Patron of the Cathedral, St German of Man (not to be confused with Germanus of Auxerre), was a Celtic missionary and holy man who lived from about 410 to 474. St German's Day is celebrated each year on 13 July.[4]

The original cathedral of St German was inside the walls of Peel Castle and was built sometime in the 12th century when St Patrick's Isle was in the possession of Norse kings. At that time the church followed the Sarum Rite, prevalent throughout much of the British Isles. Around 1333 the Lords of Man refortified St Patrick's Isle and occupied the church as a fortress. In 1392 William Le Scroop repaired the Cathedral.[5]

The building fell into ruin in the 18th century. After a considerable period of debate over who owned the ruins and site, it was decided not to rebuild that cathedral. The present building was constructed in 1879–84 to replace St Peter's Church in Peel's market place.[6] In 1895, the bishop consecrated his chapel at the bishop's palace as pro-cathedral and instituted a chapter of canons with himself as Dean. That arrangement (bishop as dean) persisted even after the consecration of the new cathedral. The bishop was later described by John Betjeman as "that luckless Bishop whose cathedral is a beautiful ruin of green slate and red sandstone on an islet overlooking Peel".[7]

The cathedral has a Dean and Chapter.[8] Until 15 October 2011, the Bishop of Sodor and Man was Dean ex officio, but on that date the vicar of the parish became Dean ex officio;[9] this is thought to have been the historical arrangement from the 12th century until the late 19th century.[10] The chapter consists of the Archdeacon of Man ex officio and four canons who are all parochial clergy in the Diocese.

St German's Cathedral is the mother Church of the Diocese of Sodor and Man, which today consists of only the Isle of Man.[11]

In July 2015, Anne, Princess Royal attended a thanksgiving service at Peel Cathedral as Patron of the development campaign; the service also marked the rebranding of Peel Cathedral as "Cathedral Isle of Man".[12]

Vicars of German[edit]

The nave, looking towards the nave altar and, beyond it, the choir, chancel, and high altar.
1575–1585 Philip Hogget
1585–1621 John Cosnahan
1621–1660 William Cosnahan
1660–1661 Thomas Harrison
1661–1680 Henry Lowcay
1680–1682 John Woods (elder)
5 July 1682 – 1710 Samuel Wattleworth
10 June 1710 – 1730 Matthias Curghey
26 September 1730 – 1733 John Woods (younger)
1733–1741 Thomas Christian
28 July 1741 – 1742 John Craine
1744–1752 James Wilks
11 November 1752 – December 1754 Robert Christian
15 April 1758 – 1761 Robert Brew
4 March 1761 – November 1801 Henry Corlett
23 November 1801 – 1839 James Gelling
28 March 1839 – ? John Stowell

Deans of St German[edit]


As of 2 February 2019:[13]

  • Archdeacon of Man and Vicar of Douglas (St George & All Saints) — Andie Brown (since 15 October 2011 collation)[14]
  • Vicar of Douglas (St Ninian's), Diocesan Communications Officer and Canon of St Patrick — John Coldwell (canon since 2016)
  • Team Rector of Onchan and Canon of St Maughold — Clive Burgess (canon since 2016)
  • Vicar of Rushen and Canon of St German — Joe Heaton (canon since 2016)
  • Vicar of Marown and Canon of St Columba — Janice Ward (canon since 2016)
Cathedra (throne) of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, in Peel Cathedral.


Bishop Hildesley established a children's choir at his private chapel at Bishopscourt as early as 1755. At the opening of Peel New Church in 1884, Ms ML Wood ARCO was appointed the first organist and directed a large choir. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, first established at Truro Cathedral in 1880, made its first appearance in Peel in 1885.

However, the modern Cathedral Choir was re-established in 2012 and includes a mixed boy and girl treble line (aged 7–14 years) drawn from island schools, in addition to a large adult voluntary choir (SATB). Choral services are sung on Sundays and consist of a Choral Eucharist and Choral Evensong.

There is a developing programme of Choral Scholarships for secondary school students.

The Cathedral has a large two-manual Brindley & Foster organ in the chancel. It is planned that the pipe organ will be rebuilt, re-ordered and significantly enlarged over the next five years, to meet the demands of the cathedral's developing choral programme.

Organists and Choirmasters[edit]

  • 1983 Mike Porter
  • 1986 Bernard Clark
  • 1992 Stephen Dutton
  • 1995 Harvey Easton
  • 2001 Mike Porter

Organists and Directors of Music[edit]

  • 2008 Donald Roworth
  • 2012 Peter Litman[15]

Organ Scholars[edit]

  • 2015-2016 Jack Oades
  • 2016-2017 Max Smith
  • 2017-2018 Max Smith
  • 2018-2019 Christopher Beaumont


  1. ^ Church Act 1980 and Western Pastoral Scheme 2012
  2. ^ "German Parish and Churches, Isle of Man". Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  3. ^ Cathedral Church Act 1980 (of Tynwald)
  4. ^ "History". Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  5. ^ Qualtrough, John K. (May 2003). "Field Visit to Peel Castle & St. German's Cathedral" (PDF). Isle of Man College. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  6. ^ "Unholy row erupts over St German". IOM Today. IOM Today. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  7. ^ Betjeman, John. The Best of Betjeman (2000 ed.). Penguin Books. p. 162.
  8. ^ Church Act 1895 (of Tynwald), section 4
  9. ^ Church Offices Measure (Isle of Man) 2011 (Statutory Document 624/11)[1], amending Church Act 1895 section 4
  10. ^ "St German's Cathedral, Isle of Man: New dean installed". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  11. ^ "St. German's, Peel". The Church of England, Diocese of Sodor and Man. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  12. ^ "Princess Royal attends Service of Thanksgiving in Peel". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  13. ^ a b "Staff". Cathedral Isle Of Man. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  14. ^ "Diocese announces new Isle of Man Archdeacon". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  15. ^ "Peel Cathedral". Friends of Cathedral Music. Retrieved 2016-04-12.

External links[edit]