[From Manx Soc vol 16]


THE following entry is in the Parish Register of Malew, and has been sent me by the Rev. William Gell, the vicar.

"Mr. William Christian of Ronaldsway, late Receiver, was shott to death att Hangoe Hill, the 2nd of January [1662]. He died most penitently and most curragiously, made a good. end, prayed earnestly, made an excellent speech, and the next day was buried in the chancle of Malew"

Records and other documents relating to the life and times of this gentleman are intended to form one of the volumes of the Manx Society, and will embrace the text of the depositions, with notes, explanatory of the mode of trial which have never yet been printed. Various translations of the Manx ballad of " Illiam Dhône " have appeared. The following, having some slight variation from the Manx text given, is from an old copy in my possession, translated by the Rev. John Crebin, vicar of Kirk Michael in 1774. The ballad was composed some time after the execution of William Christian, and is a prophecy of what would befal the families who were concerned in his death. The Ronaldsway estate has continued in the representatives of the same family. It had been said that blankets were spread on the green under his feet, that not a drop of blood should be spilt when he fell; others again assert that not a drop of Christiains blood issued from his wounds when he fell. The air given of Illiam Dhône is from Barrow's Mona Melodies, 1820.



IN so shifting a scene who would confidence place
In family, youth power, or personal grace?
No character's proof against enmity foul:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


You were Derbys; Receiver of patriot zeal,
Replete with good sense, and reputed genteel;
Your justice applauded by the young and the old:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


Their short triumph's ended, extinct are the whole:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul


For years cruel Robert lay crippled in bed,
Nor knew the world's peace whilst he held up his head,
The neighbourhood's scourge, in iniquity old
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


Not one's heard to grieve, seek the country all through,
Or lament for the name Bemaccan' once knew;
The poor rather load it with curses untold :
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul


BaRalough and the Creggans mark strongly their sin,
Not a soul of the name's there to welcome you in;
In the power of the strangers is entered the whole
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


The opulent Scarlet,' on which the sea flows,
Is piecemeal disposed of, to whom the Lord knows;
Its heirs without bread, or defence from the cold
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


They assert then in vain that the law sought thy blood,
For all aiding the massacre never did good;
Like the rooted-up golding deprived of its mould,
They languish'd, were blasted, grew rotten and cold.



Where the shoots of a tree so corrupted remain,
lAe the briax or thistle, they goad us with pain
Deep, dark, undermining, they mimic the mole:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, betokens my soul


Round the in.faxaous wretches who spilt Christian's blood,
Dread spectres and conscience in sad array stood;
Not a man of the whole reaevd life's utmost goal:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul


Perdition, too, seized them who caused thee to bleed;
To decay fell their houses, their lands, and their seed,
Disappear'd, Ue a vapour when morn's flush'd with gold:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


From grief, all corroding, to hope rll repair,
That a branch of the Christians will soon grace the chair,
With royal instructions, his foes to control:
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul


With a rock for my pillow, I dreamt, as I lay,
That'a branch of the Christians would hold Ronaldsway;
His conquest his topic with friends o'er a bowl
And thy fate, Illiam Dhône, sickens my soul.


And now for a wish, at concluding my song:
May the Almighty withhold us ftom doing what's wrodg,
Protect every mortal from enmity foul :
And thy fate, 1lliam Dhône, sickens my soul.


1 Tyldesley of the Friary. 2 Norris of Scarlet.


LHIGG fer ayns y Thalloo ferelley 'syn air,
Agh Illiam M'Cowle lhig~sy voaugu chair.
Illiam M'Cowle sliught ny va -biiee:
She dty vaase, llham Dhone, ren brishey nyn gree.

One fired in the ground, the other into the air,
But William M'Cowle was the man who fired in the right place.
William M'Cowle was of a dark-complexioned race:
It is thy death, William Dhône, that breaketh our hearts.

Wimam M'Cowle is the name of the soldier who shot Illiam Dhône, and who is reported to have been rewarded with a grant of land in the north of the island for doing his duty.



Back index next


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