Corrin's Tower

 Corrin's Tower

Jenkinson's guide (1874) describes it thus:

Corrin’s Tower is a large square building, 50 feet high. It was erected about sixty years [i.e. c.1815] ago by Mr. Thomas Corrin, a somewhat eccentric gentleman, who died at his residence [Knockaloe] near the Tower, and owned this hill and other property in the neighbourhood. This spot was evidently a favourite of his, for here, beneath a small square plot of ground, he is interred with his wife and two children. Pillars have been erected, one on each side of the grave. On one pillar we read the following:

" Corrin’s Pillar, 1850. This pillar was erected six feet distant from the base of this mount, and within the inclosure, upon its top rest the mortal remains of Alice Corrin and her two beloved children. This pillar, tower, and mount, were erected by Thomas Corrin, to perpetuate her memory until reanimated by the power of God."

On the other pillar are merely the following words and date

" Corrin’s Pillar, 1840."

The tower was handed over to the Board of Trade about the year 1840 by the present proprietor of the estate, the tower having been used and laid down on the charts as a land-mark.

 

Built by Thomas Corrin in 1806, stands on the highest point of land forming part of Knockaloe Beg. Built as a memorial to his family, and especially his wife who died in childbirth. It was purchased by the Manx Government in 1836 for £57 after complaints by the fishermen that they used it as a landmark and did not want the family to demolish it.

As few people get a chance to see inside the tower the following description by Fred Palmer will answer many questions:

Inside are twelve memorial tablets One tablet answers many of the doubts of why the tower was built-
"Erected by Thomas Corrin in the year 1806 to perpetuate the memory of his beloved wife Alice Corrin otherwise Cowell who departed this life on the 31st of January of the above year, whose body became the Coffin of her unborn Infant" , "Also Thomas Corrin departed this life on the 5th, September, 1845, in. the 74th year of his life;"

"All these characters are deposited in the small enclosure 20 yards distant from the N.E. corner of the Tower built for that purpose," "Also Jane Corrin departed this life in the State of Ohio, North America, in the 34th. year of her life 1831"

"All flesh is grass,"

The tower is built with the corners pointing to the four cardinal points of the compass The entrance is by a small doorway facing the south-east, the step being a block of sandstone five feet long, 18 inches wide and one foot deep The door jambs being inserted in a block of limestone

The ground floor has two uninscribed blocks of limestone, and is ventilated by two air holes The interior is mostly taken up with a square pillar which runs to the top of the Tower forming a distinctive pinnacle, at which place it assumes a round shape, capped by a limestone finish in the form of a millstone. It has a flat roof surrounded by a wall about four feet high with crenellated battlements,

A steep flight of nine narrow stone flagged steps lead upwards through a square aperture and so through each chamber, 4 in all. There were originally narrow window lights on the first, second and third floors on the east side but these have all been blocked up, Mr. Corrin, prior to his death used to spend a lot of time reading on the third floor as there is a fireplace in the east wall.in the N.E. corner,

As a result of this the light from the tower was seen for a great distance at sea due to its height and position, and it was often mistaken for Peel breakwater light. -As a result of complaints to the Government he was made to seal them up,

Memorial tablets have now been placed in the windows of the ground floors and the first floor

The tower tapers and each chamber.is slightly smaller as you move up The apperture between each floor is fitted with a limestone trap to receive a wooden trap door There is a central pillar which appears to have been erected to support the floors

The internal inscriptions are-

On the first floor on the north wall-

"Phillip Corrin, son of John Corrin, of Colby, in the Parish of Arbory, who purchased this farm from Charles Wattleworth: departed this life on the 21st of February, 1776

We heard that he died in the Lord"

`Also Jane, his wife, formerly Kelly, departed this life on the 14th of,April, 1770, this pious woman prayed unto'God always excepting when she slept, she gave up the ghost suddenly in the twinkling of an eye,"

"Also 'Robert Corrin, their son, and father of Thomas Corrin, who erected all these monuments to the memory of departed worth; departed this life on the 15th, of July, 1804, aged 85 years, 'This honest man died in peace,"

Also Isabella, his wife, formerly Quirk, mother of the aforesaid Thomas Corrin, departed this life on the 7th, March, 1802, aged 54 years, This woman died lifting up her hands to God for his sweet mercy, "Death endeth all things"

'The inscriptions on the east wall are-

"Until the resurrection of the Dead To eternal Life

Through Jesus Christ our Lord Are deposited the Remains of Christian Corrin Daughter of Thomas and Alice Corrin of Knockaloebeg who departed this life the 17th, day of October, 1802 aged 3 years and 3 months,

While mortals wearied with a ceaseless' strife
To gain the trifles of this transparent Life;
My Christian lies secure from care and pain, '
Thy Parents loss is thy eternal gain,"

'The inscriptions in the ground floor chamber on the west wall -

"Sacred to the memory of Alice Corrin otherwise Cowell, daugheter of Matthew Cowell, of Ballaquane, in the Parish of Kirk German ; and wife of Thomas Corrin, of Knockaloebeg, in the Parish of Kirk Patrick; who departed this mortal life the 31st, day of January, 1806, aged 33 years"

"The body here lies awaiting the call of the last trumpet, for in a minute in the twinkling of an eye the trumpet shall sound, and the Dead shall be raised incorruptible, 1st, Cor, XV Chap, 52 ver,"

"Inclosed in native Earth, thy peaceful breast shall greive no more, affective scenes are past, Ordained to yield thy Breath, thy useful life was lost to human friends but found with 'God, Once faithful woman, heaven hath fixed thy fate early in life to be possessed of Bliss; Ere Life's wheel stopped by multiplying years, nor health, nor Spirits broke, by age oppressed.

Ye pure 'Seraphicks guard her sacred dust, O; screen her wasted fabric till it rise, when her dear thinking powers shall resume, then clothe my sisters heavenlike from the tomb,

An .inscription on a loose stone now placed in a former window-

"Erected by Thomas Corrin .in Memory of Alice his beloved wife who departed this life on the 31st, day of January, 1806, aged 33 years"

The actual burial ground is 30 yards from the tower, originally walled by a simple sod fence this was later replaced by stone walls and a stile as visitors destroyed it.

Thomas Corrin was apparently strongly associated with Athol Street Congregational Church in Douglas and wanted nothing to do with the established church expressing a wish that he too should be buried on the hill. The usual tale is told that his son had apparently turned religious and refused to bury his father in unconsecrated ground and thus interred him in Kirk Patrick churchyard. That night his friends exhumed the body and moved it to the hill; a compromise was struck by consectrating the walled area alongside the tower. However the Manx Sun 12 Sept 1845 merely states:

Novel Funeral

The late Mr Thomas Corrin of Knockaloe Beg, in the Parish of Patrick was interred on Tuesday in the Dissenters' burial ground beside the Tower, on Knockaloe hill. A large concourse of friends and neighbours attended. At the grave the 66th hymn of Dr Watts second book was sung. A suitable address was delivered by the Rev Saml Haining, and the solemn service concluded by prayer.

Reference

Fred Palmer Peel One: Peel Hill and Shore Road [Peel: Author's imprint]nd [c1950]


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001