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Peel, Isle Of Man

PEEL, ISLE OF MAN, a seaport and watering-place of the Isle of Man, on the W. coast, n m. W.N.W. of Douglas by the Isle of Man railway. Pop. (1901), 3304. It lies on Peel Bay, at the mouth of the small river Neb, which forms the harbour. The old town consists of narrow streets and lanes, but a modern residential quarter has grown up to the east. On the west side of the river-mouth St Patrick's Isle is connected with the mainland by a causeway. It is occupied almost wholly by the ruins of Peel castle. St Patrick is said to have founded here the first church in Man, and a small chapel, dedicated to him, appears to date from the 8th or 10th century. There is a round tower, also of very early date, resembling in certain particulars the round towers of Ireland. The ruined cathedral of St German has a transitional Norman choir, with a very early crypt beneath, a nave with an early English triplet at the west end, transepts, and a low and massive central tower still standing. There are remains of the bishops' palace, of the so-called Fenella's tower, famous through Scott's Peveril of the Peak, of the palace of the Lords of Man, of the keep and guardroom above the entrance to the castle, and of the Moare or great tower, while the whole is surrounded by battlements. There are also a large artificial mound supposed to be a defensive earthwork of higher antiquity than the castle, and another mound known as the Giant's Grave. The guardroom is associated with the ghostly apparition of the Moddey Dhoo (black dog), to which reference is made in Peveril of the Peak. In 1397 Richard II. condemned the earl of Warwick to imprisonment in Peel Castle for conspiracy, and in 1444 Eleanor, duchess of Gloucester, received a like sentence on the ground of having compassed the death of Henry VI. by magic. Peel has a long-established fishing industry, which, however, has declined in modern times. In the town the most notable building is the church of St German, with a fine tower and spire. Peel was called by the Northmen Holen (island, i.e. St Patrick's Isle) ; the existing name is Celtic, meaning " fort " (cf. the peel towers of the borderland of England and Scotland).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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