Peel Cathedral

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Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man
The Cathedral Church of St German
Peel Cathedral 2006.jpg
Isle of Man location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Peel Cathedral, Isle of Man
Shown within Isle of Man
Coordinates: 54°13′18″N4°41′28″W / 54.22167°N 4.69111°W / 54.22167; -4.69111
CountryIsle of Man
Denomination Church of England
Website Cathedral Isle of Man
Former name(s)Kirk German, Peel Parish Church
Consecrated 1893
Previous cathedralsPeel Cathedral & Castle (on St Patrick's Isle)
Bishopcourt chapel (pro-cathedral)
Province York
Diocese Sodor and Man
Bishop(s) Peter Eagles
Dean Nigel Godfrey
Canon(s) John Coldwell (St Patrick)
vacant (St Maughold)
Joe Heaton (St German)
Janice Ward (St Columba)
Curate(s) Ruth Walker
Archdeacon vacant
Director of music Peter 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] 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. St Germans' Cathedral, Peel Castle, Isle of Man.jpg
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; by 1960, St Nicholas' chapel was still pro-cathedral (or "Cathedral Chapel"). [7] Bishopscourt's sale in 1976 left the diocese without a cathedral, and forced the issue of choosing a new cathedral; after public consultation, [8] Kirk German Parish Church was so designated, and officially made the cathedral in a service on All Saints' Day (1 November 1980). [9] The 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". [10]

The cathedral has a dean and chapter. [11] 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; [12] this is thought to have been the historical arrangement from the 12th century until the late 19th century. [13] 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. [14]

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". [15]

Vicars of German

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

Deans of St German


As of 30 December 2020: [16]

Cathedra (throne) of the Bishop of Sodor and Man, in Peel Cathedral. Cathedra Sodor and Man.jpg
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

Organists and directors of music

Organ scholars

Associate organist

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  1. Church Act 1980 and Western Pastoral Scheme 2012
  2. "German Parish and Churches, Isle of Man". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  3. Cathedral Church Act 1980 (of Tynwald)
  4. "History". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  5. Qualtrough, John K. (May 2003). "Field Visit to Peel Castle & St. German's Cathedral" (PDF). Isle of Man College. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  6. "Unholy row erupts over St German". IOM Today. IOM Today. 1 June 2009. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  7. "Ruined Manx cathedral may be restored" . Church Times . No. 5061. 12 December 1960. p. 15. ISSN   0009-658X . Retrieved 27 June 2019 via UK Press Online archives.
  8. "Manx churchfolk to help pick cathedral" . Church Times . No. 6065. 11 May 1979. p. 3. ISSN   0009-658X . Retrieved 27 June 2019 via UK Press Online archives.
  9. "New Manx cathedral hallowed" . Church Times . No. 6143. 7 November 1980. p. 2. ISSN   0009-658X . Retrieved 27 June 2019 via UK Press Online archives.
  10. Betjeman, John. The Best of Betjeman (2000 ed.). Penguin Books. p. 162.
  11. Church Act 1895 (of Tynwald), section 4
  12. Church Offices Measure (Isle of Man) 2011 (Statutory Document 624/11) Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine , amending Church Act 1895 section 4
  13. "St German's Cathedral, Isle of Man: New dean installed". BBC News. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  14. "St. German's, Peel". The Church of England, Diocese of Sodor and Man. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  15. "Princess Royal attends Service of Thanksgiving in Peel". BBC News. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  16. 1 2 "Staff". Cathedral Isle Of Man. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  17. "Peel Cathedral". Friends of Cathedral Music. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.