the pub and main entrance to the Castle is:
8, Castletown Police Station, with its distinctive conical
roof. It was designed by the increasingly highly regarded Arts and
Crafts architect M H Baillie Scott, who allegedly came to the Island
for a holiday but set up in practice as he could not face the boat
To the right of the police station is the public entrance to Castle
Rushen; as previously mentioned you should allow at least
an hour for a visit. The tall windows high above the curtain wall
are of Derby House, which in the 17th, 18th
and early 19th centuries was the residence of the Island's
along the quay, towards the sea. Part of the long white building
on your right was formerly the Castletown office of the Isle of
Man Steam Packet Co. A little way beyond is a tall warehouse, now
called the Granary; notice the lintels which are of Pooilvaaish
Walk to the end of the quay, which is:
9. You will see the breakwater with the small lighthouse
on the end which bears the inscription "VR 1849". Castletown
harbour has always been difficult to enter and in Norse and later
times many visitors landed at Derbyhaven, a couple of miles to the
east. The Herring Tower, the large stone tower on Langness across
the bay, was built as a shipping mark in 1811, and the lighthouse
on the end of Langness followed in 1880. A little way on your right
is the old Lifeboat House, closed in 1922, since when the Douglas
and Port St Mary lifeboats have served this stretch of coast.
Castletown remains, albeit on a small scale, a working harbour;
coal is brought in and scrap metal exported. In the 1960's and 1970's
there was container traffic, the containers initially transported
on the steam railway.
back into the town up the narrow Parliament Lane to:
10, the back of Parliament Square. During the Civil War, when
Lord and Lady Derby held the castle for the King, Parliament Square
was cleared of the houses which formerly covered it to give a better
range of fire for the cannon in the castle.
On your right is the Rocket House, formerly the seat of
the Castletown Volunteer Rocket Brigade, with a bell to summon members
to assist ships in distress.
On your left is probably the finest early Georgian building on
the Island, 2 Parliament Square. Notice especially the fanlight
and doorcase, and the cannon, used as a hitching post, by the steps.
Walk past the front of 2 Parliament Square into the car park which,
until its clearance in the 1950's, contained the oldest part of
the town, Chapel Lane and School Lane.
building sitting forlornly in the middle is the Old
Grammar School, built in the 13th Century as
St Mary's Chapel and the town's church until 1698.
It then became the Castletown Grammar School until 1930 and is
now a tourist information centre and small museum.From here you
can see the full sweep of the bay. On the right is Scarlett; the
large rock, cut off at high tide, is the Stack, the remains of an
With your back to the sea, leave the car park by the exit which
is in front and slightly to the right of you, and follow the signpost
marked Castle Rushen passing between the houses on the left and
a square stone building on the right.
to Point 10 in Parliament Square, so called because
the square building was formerly the meeting place of the House
of Keys, the lower house of the Manx Parliament. When the House
of Keys finally moved to Douglas in 1874, Castletown ceased to be
the Island's capital.
In front of Compton's Restaurant are some of the few remaining
cobbles in the town.
Now turn left up Castle Street, noting some more fine shopfronts
and also the attractive Georgian fanlight above the front door of
Stanley House next to the Manx Electricity Authority.
You have returned to the Market Square where this short walk began.
It is hoped that the visitor who has time will be tempted to further
exploration of the old town and its environs.