GOVERNMENT HOUSE, Feb. 28th, 1877.
SIR,I think the time has arrived when an effort should be made to enlist public interest in the present state of the ruins of Peel Castle, and those of the Cathedral of St. Germans, with a view of raising funds for their preservation from further decay, and as a first step towards the restoration of the Cathedral, if such should hereafter be deemed advisable.
The accompanying report from Mr Anderson, a gentleman who has bestowed much time and study upon the restoration and preservation of similar works, such as the Cathedral of Iona and Jedburgh Abbey, explains the repairs which, in his opinion, should be immediately undertaken; and as the amount named is small in comparison with the importance of the object sought to be obtained, I trust the requisite funds may be forthcoming.
I am aware that an effort was made in 1859 for a some-what similar purpose, subscriptions to a considerable amount being promised, while, under the patronage of the then Lieut.-Governor (the Hon. Charles Hope), a bazaar was held at Peel Castle, in the expectation that a large sum would be thus raised in addition to these subscriptions. The weather, however, proving unfavourable, the bazaar failed in realizing this expectation, and the subscriptions being insufficient by themselves to effect the contemplated repairs, a sum was only expended sufficient to preserve from falling those buildings that were in the most immediate danger.
My attention being called, in 1871 , to the dangerous state of the Round Tower and other buildings, I sanctioned a small toll being levied upon persons visiting the ruins, to meet the expenses of a Custodian and to provide a small fund to be expended in the maintenance of the walls, &c.
Although the annual sum thus available has done much towards temporarily securing the walls and towers, and by enabling the Committee to remove large quantities of debris, has opened up and rendered the various buildings of greater interest, the amount is insufficient for the execution of any well conceived plan for their permanent preservation.
Mr Anderson, in his Report, states that an outlay of £1,000 will be required to make the Cathedral and various buildings secure ; and I trust that the Committee, to whom I am already so much indebted for their very able and cordial exertions in superintending the expenditure since 1871, will continue to afford the same assistance, both as regards the future repairs to be carried out, under Mr Andersons directions, and also in bringing prominently before the public the urgent need that exists for raising the requisite funds.
Doubtless, many who promised subscriptions may still be willing to assist in the work, now that there is every pro-bability of its being proceeded with under able supervision; and, as five or six hundred pounds of the sum may be raised on the security of the tolls, the amount left for the public to contribute is comparatively small.
I feel sure that the preservation of these interesting ruins, connected as they are with the ancient history of the Island, will commend itself to all Manxmen. as well as to the public generally.
The amount now required will be applied to the preservation of the building, but at the same time it will be observed from Mr. Andersons Report that this necessary work will be all in the direction of restoration, and I trust the future may see the ancient Cathedral of St. Germans restored to the service of the Church.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
HENRY B. LOCH.
The High-Bailiff of Peel.