‘The annual commemoration of the judicial murder of Illiam Dhone (William Christian) will take place, as always, at 2.00pm prompt on the 2nd January at Hango Hill near Castletown, Isle of Man / Mannin. This year is the 350th anniversary of this crime.
Against the backdrop of the Lord of Mann’s wife, Countess Charlotte de Tremouille, preparing to use the Island and its people as a bargaining counter to secure her Royalist husband’s release (he was captured in England but, unknown to anyone in Mannin, then executed), Illiam Dhone / William Christian negotiated a peaceful surrender of the Island to English Parliamentarian forces on the precondition that the Island and its people “retained their former rights and liberties”. The alternative was a drawn out, bloody and ultimately futile defence with thousands dead and possible punitive massacres as had happened throughout Ireland. The Island would also be absorbed into England with its feudal system of laws.
Upon the restoration of the English Crown, the Lordship of Mann was returned to the Stanley family and the title passed to the executed Lord’s son. Driven by an irrational hatred of Illiam Dhone for a perceived but unfounded act of treachery (Illiam Dhone’s actions also probably saved both the lives of the Lord’s family and the Lordship for the twisted ingrate), the new Lord had Illiam Dhone arrested on a trumped up charge of treason.
After a trial which saw two juries sworn in, the second being both “packed” and threatened to return a guilty verdict, Illam Dhone was sentenced to death. A Royal Pardon from English King Charles II arrived hours too late to save his life: He was shot near to Hango Hill (a small, natural mound) on the 2nd January 1663.
An oration in the Manx language will be delivered by Christopher Lewin followed by another in English by Mark Kermode. Contrary to some people’s belief, these orations are not translations of each other. These will be followed by a wreath laying and the singing of the National Anthem. The attendants are then invited to warm themselves in the Ship Inn, Castletown and hopefully listen to some traditional music or continue to a Church service at Malew Church, where Illiam Dhone is buried.
Mannin Branch Secretary
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