Corrin's Tower, or Corrin's Folly as it is known locally, is situated on Peel Hill. The tower is a large square building, 50 feet high and built around 1806 by Mr Thomas Corrin - an eccentric gentleman.
Thomas Corrin resided at the nearby by Knockaloe farm, and owned the 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 - and on one pillar we reads 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 the following words and date:
"Corrin's Pillar, 1840."
It stands on the highest point of land forming part of Konckaloe Beg, and was built as a memorial to his family - especially his wife who died in childbirth.
The tower 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.
The entrance is permanently locked by a steel door, except for a few specific times throughout the year when Manx Heritage Trust opens the building up to the public.
Inside are twelve memorial tablets which are inscribed as follows (descriptions by Fred Palmer):
"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 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 crenulated 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.
The light from the tower was seen for a great distance at sea due to its height and position, and was often mistaken for Peel breakwater light. After many complaints to the Government, Thomas Corris was made to seal them up.
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 un-consecrated ground, thus interring him in Kirk Patrick churchyard.
That night his friends exhumed the body and moved it to the hill; a compromise was struck by consecrating the walled area alongside the tower.
However the Manx Sun, on 12 Sept 1845 merely states:
"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."
Photo: Luke McKernan, CC BY-SA 2.0