Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Old Grammar School

Open: Pre-booked groups by Special Request: Daily
Price: Free
Disabled: Limited access
Steps into building and into schoolroom.
Location: Castletown
Parking: Available
Visiting Time: 25min


The Old Grammar School was originally a chapel built about 1190 - 1230. In 1701 the chapel was turned into a school with a new extension added to accommodate the buildings new function. Thomas Castley was master of the school from 1757 - 1817. He had an eventful time in office. He managed to maintain his pay of 60 pounds by chancery proceedings, even when there was wish for it to be reduced to 30 pounds. In 1763, a committee of the House of Keys investigated complaints in the reduction of boys attending the school. Their findings were of excessively high fees and that Castley was a harsh and cruel man, who should not have been allowed to be a teacher. Throughout the 18th century the school gave many prominent men in Manx history their education.

In 1886, Mr Gilbert Holt was appointed to teach at the school and to the scholars. He received 60 pounds in total for these services, which was high compared to the 5 pound other teachers received. Life at school was hard and pupils were expected to do their best.

The school continued on till it closed in 1930. The building was saved from demolition in 1950 by Manx National Heritage and shortly after made into a tourist site. Everything left in the school from its final day can still be seen now. The Old Grammar School remains an important part of Manx History as a small building with a long past.


Castletown in the south of the Island.

By Vehicle:
Castletown is a main southern town, served by a multitude of roads. Just follow the road signs.

By Bus:
Plan your journey with our Bus and Rail Timetables.

By Railway:
Castletown can be reached by the taking the Electric Railway to Douglas and then the Steam Railway to Castletown.
Castletown can be reached on the Steam Railway from Douglas going to Port Erin or by taking the Port Erin (Port St Mary) train going to Douglas.

The Site

  • Original building, once chapel, then church and school.
  • Signs marking out the history of the school.
  • Display Cases with school items.
  • School room exactly as left by the last class in 1930.
  • Gift Shop

  • Visiting the Old Grammar School

    This small building painted in white over looks the sea. There have been many alterations to the original structure, which are clearly seen from the outside of the building. Inside lies a small shop, where gifts and books can be purchased. There are a number of signs and exhibits opposite the shop. Then there are a few steps into the school room. Everything is so real, yet looks like a place from an old movie. There are not many old style schoolrooms left by their classes for the public to later view.

    Though a small building, it has good atmosphere and allows a moment to step back in time. Back when schools were often in the local churches and had far less resources.

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