St Patrick's Isle, off the coast at Peel, is now joined to the mainland by a bridge and a causeway.
It has been inhabited for at least 7,000 years and Irish monks founded a monastery in about AD 500.
In 1240 AD Bishop Simon began to build the red sandstone St German’s cathedral and the construction concluded with the short nave being finished in 1400 AD.
Bishop Simon and a few other bishops are buried in the chancel of the old cathedral.
Unfortunately, the building fell into disrepair after the Civil War and again in the 18th century. The last bishop to be enthroned in the old cathedal was in 1784.
In 1870, Bishop Rowley Hill wanted to restore the ruins of the cathedral and began to raise money. It was eventually decided that the task was too great and the money could be put to better use to build a new cathedral in Peel.
Knox was fascinated by the cathedral and Peel Castle in general and made many sketches there. It was hoped by Knox and his friend Canon John Quine that the cathedral would be repaired and reconsecrated for use by the Church of England.
This never happened but Knox tried to get a league of prayer together as witnessed in the newspaper articles shown below. Knox appointed himself prior of the cathedral and later the three silver communion pieces which can be seen in the new Peel cathedral were actually meant for the restored old St Geman's cathedral.
Aerial view of Old St German's Cathedral in Peel Castle
Letter to the Editor from Knox re league of prayer.
Photo of Peel by Knox c 1900
Peel, Isle of Man
Creator(s): Knox, Archibald
Place made: Peel
Scope & Content: Peel beach and promenade, including the new parish church with its spire which was removed in 1907.
Extent: photo format : 3.00 x 3.00
Physical description: glass
Item name: photograph
Photograph and description courtesy of Manx National Heritage.
A sketch of the old St German's cathedral by Knox.
Photograph courtesy of Michael Levine Decorative Arts.