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Secrets of Peel Castle Are Revealed 20 July 2006

The sun was shining as visitors flocked to Peel Castle last Sunday to attend a special event day organized by Manx National Heritage, to coincide with National Archaeology Day. Through captivating guided talks and re-enactments, those who attended the event were transported back in time to meet some of the previous occupants of St Patrick’s Isle and to view the objects they left behind. Re-enactor Stuart Quayle entertains the crowds

Tours were led by Friends of Manx National Heritage volunteers, who took groups of visitors to meet a number of historical characters including a Celtic farmer, the Pagan Lady of Peel, a Christian monk, a Royalist soldier from the Civil War and a Victorian antiquary. Archaeological artefacts from the Manx Museum’s collection were on display, all of which have been excavated from Peel Castle, leaving clues about who has lived on St Patrick’s Isle in the past.

Nicola Tooms, Assistant Curator for Manx National Heritage, said:

“Re-enactors talked of how archaeologists discovered the earliest fleas in the British Isles on St Patrick’s Isle and how examination of the Pagan Lady’s bones tells us she had many children. A Christian monk was on hand to explain the conflicts between church and state at the Castle and how the Bishop of Sodor and Man was outraged when St German’s Cathedral was fortified by Sir William Le Scroop. Visitors could also meet one of Sir James Stanley’s Royalist soldiers and learn about the role Peel Castle played in the Civil War. Finally, those who attended were taken to meet a Victorian antiquary who told the story of how the Victorian interest in archaeology led to the creation of the Antiquarian Society which saved Peel Castle from ruin and eventually lead to the creation of the Manx Museum!”

The Castle guard, complete with weapons, helmets, chain mail and shields, entertained those waiting to start the tour. Families could also enjoy a number of exciting activities such as making a pagan lady necklace, playing some Viking games and learning about the geology of St Patrick’s Isle.

Manx National Heritage would like to say a big thank you to the Volunteers and Friends of Manx National Heritage who turn out to assist staff, making these busy event days so successful.

Peel Castle is part of the award-winning Story of Mann and is open daily from 10am to 5pm until October.

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