- St Mary's Isle (Conister Rocks or Tower of Refuge)
St Mary's Isle (Conister Rocks or Tower of Refuge) is part of a reef in the
Isle of Man.
Conister is a corruption of the Manx _gv. "Kione y skeyr" meaning the 'end of the reef'.
It is a partially submerged rock at the tip of a reef in Douglas Bay. This reef is mostly obscured now by development into the sea, using the reef as a foundation.
Conister itself is fully submerged at exceptional spring high tides, and can be accessed very briefly on foot at the corresponding low tides.
The Tower of Refuge
The Tower of Refuge is the structure built upon it by Sir
William Hillary(who helped to found the Royal National Lifeboat Institution) in 1824. Having witnessed several shipwrecks upon the semi-submerged rock, he intended it as a refuge for survivors until help could arrive. He helped secure public contributions for funding the building and contributed a high proportion of the costs personally. The islet itself was privately owned, but was contributed by its owner. In the years shortly after its construction, it continued to be well stocked with provisions such as bread and fresh water. [ [http://www.iomguide.com/towerrefuge.php Tower of Refuge - History] Retrieved 15 February, 2008]
The refuge is designed to look like a
castle, by architectJohn Welch (also responsible for the design of other landmark buildings on the Isle of Man). The tower originally housed a bell for summoning of help and was stocked with dry provisions for the use of casualties. It is not far from the current ferry terminal and its eastern base (the Conister Shoals) had to be blasted away when the harbour had a new breakwater built in the early 1980s.
* [http://www.isleofman.com/Community/ePedia/Geography/Islands/StMarysIsle.aspx Information about St Mary's Isle (Conister Rocks or Tower of Refuge)]
* [http://www.island-images.co.uk/Data/BA0165.html Picture at a very high tide]
* [http://great.outdoors.com Picture of St Mary's Isle at extremely low water]
* [http://www.douglaslifeboat.iofm.net/Tower_of_Refuge.htm History of the Tower of Refuge]
* [http://www.isle-of-man.com/information/thetowerofrefuge.shtml Brief history of the Tower of Refuge]
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