The History Of The Viking Castle In Peel, Isle Of Man

The Peel Castle situated on St. Patrick’s Isle, a small island connected to the seaside town of Peel in the Isle of Man, is a castle which was originally built by the Norsemen during the Viking Age. During the late part of the 11th century, the Isle of Man was under the control of King Magnus III of Norway (also known as Magnus Barefoot) along with other nearby islands in the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Isle of Man, together with the Hebrides and the islands of Clyde, constituted an early medieval kingdom known as the Kingdom of the Isles (or as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles), which went on an eventful period of skirmishes between the King of the Isles, the rulers of early medieval Ireland as well as with the Kingdom of Norway (either through the Norwegian monarchs or through their vassals, namely the earls of the Orkneys).

Peel Castle, Isle of Man, 19th century engraving by William Miller. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Viking raids are known to have unfolded on Manx soil commencing from the late part of the 8th century. Initially, the Norwegian Vikings raided the Catholic abbey of Iona which was located on a small island in the Inner Hebrides, but they subsequently voyaged southward to reach the Isle of Man as well. When King Harald Fairhair (Harald Hårfagre) became King of Norway, many of his rivals fled to Scotland or to the islands in the Irish Sea, at least according to Orkneyinga Saga.

When the Norse conquered the Isle of Man, they introduced the Manx legislature (the Tynwald) as well as many land divisions, still in use today. In the 13th century, King Magnus VI of Norway ceded the islands to Scotland in the Treaty of Perth.

Peel Castle, Isle of Man, in June, 2006. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The castle in Peel was most likely built for King Magnus III of Norway sometime during the late 11th century. Below you can watch a footage of the Peel Castle on St. Patrick’s Isle, Isle of Man from a youtuber’s channel:

Documentation sources and external links:

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7 Responses to The History Of The Viking Castle In Peel, Isle Of Man

  1. Erich Schubert says:

    awesome.was this castle ever attacked or taken by an opposing force?never realized the Norse were such impressive builders.thank you ,this was very interesting.

    • Brett K says:

      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.

      • G’day my name is Peter Gerard Fack an my family name Fack stands for Truth Loyalty Generosity and Splendour it also represents the most favoured ruler an the 12 th warrior who is Odin my date of birth stands for the 12 th warrior making me Odin’s heir

        • thors hammer says:

          yes you remind me of that famous norse saga odins BELL and freyas END , im sure youve been told it many times

    • Jon sargeant says:

      Most of that was built by William le Scrope, 1st Earl of Wiltshire in 1392.

  2. Paul Marks says:

    On my visit there (many years ago now) I seem to remember it is overlooked by a hill – a weakness.

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