St Marys Isle – The Tower of Refuge

Douglas Bay, IM1 2EN

Photo by Peter Gray

Built on a partially submerged reef in Douglas bay, the tower of refuge was originally designed to offer a safe place of shelter to shipwrecked sailors. Before the tower was built, the reef itself (St. Mary’s Isle) could cause ships to be damaged and sunk, so the tower served as an easily visible warning, and also a place of refuge if they were in trouble.

John Quane who owned the land, donated it to  Sir William Hillary, founder of the RNLI, who then started the petition for creating the tower in 1832.