Genealogy Richard Remmé, The Hague, Netherlands » William Christian (1608-1663)

Personal data William Christian 

Source 1Sources 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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Ancestors (and descendant) of William Christian

Household of William Christian

He is married to Elizabeth Ann Collier.

between 1639 and 1659 at Ireland, he was 30 years old.Sources 4, 8


  1. George Christian  1634-1694
  2. William Christian  ± 1635-????
  3. Thomas Christian  ± 1636-1704 
  4. James Christian  1637-????
  5. Ewan Christian  ± 1638-1671
  6. John Christian  1640-????
  7. Charles Christian  1648-1699
  8. Patricias Christian  1650-1687
  9. Jane Christian  
  10. Henry Bensking Christian  
  11. Elizabeth Christian  
  12. Robert Christian  
  13. Mary Christian  
  14. Jones Rives Christian   

Notes about William Christian


[Thomas Christian Sr-Nov 23-2003.ged]

2 DATE 14 APR 1608



William Christian was born on the Isle of Man in 1608. At the time the Stanley family, the Earls of Derby controlled the Island, they had been given it by the King of England. William was born to a powerful family and was a Member of the House of Keys (the Manx parliament) by 1643. Soon afterwards, the Earl of Derby made him Receiver (second in charge of the Island). When the English Civil War began, the Earl went to fight leaving his wife, and William Christian in charge ......

The Civil War
The Parliamentarians soon captured the Earl of Derby. The Countess, the Earl's wife offered them the Island in return for her husband! William, now known as Illiam Dhone (Illiam is Manx for William and Dhone means brown - haired) decided that the Island Shoudy not be given to anyone! The Manx were very angry about certain taxes the Earl had forced them to pay, and about the English soldiers living there and joined Illiam in attacking the English forts on the Island. Meanwhile the parliamentarian's killed the Earl of Derby.

Illiam decided the parliamentarians would protect the Island from the King trying to get it back from the Manx and invited them to the Island. Illiam was made governor of the Island and reigned for six years.

Illiam's fall
In 1658 Illiam was accused of stealing money meant for the poor, he fled the Island in disgrace, despite there being no proof. He returned to the Island in 1662, when he was sentenced to death for his rebellion against the Earls of Derby. Illiam was put on trial and was sentenced to death. He was shot dead on the 2nd of January 1663. A pardon from the King was delayed by bad weather and arrived one week after the execution!


William Christian (Illiam Dhone)
Born: 1608 - Died: 1663


Popularly known as 'Illiam Dhone', (Brown William), he was the son of Demster Ewan Christian of Milntown. Nothing is known of his early life. He was a steward of the Abbey Lands in 1640 and a member of the House of Keys (Manx Parliament) in 1643. In the same year his farther presented him with the property of Ronaldsway, which he agreed to hold from the Earl of Derby on a lease for three lives instead of by the old straw tenure. He and his family were consequently received into favour, and he was appointed to the then high office of 'receiver'.

William Christian must have thoroughly gained the earl's confidence, since, when Lord Derby left the Island in August 1651 to join the Royalist forces, he not only put him in command of the insular militia, but committed his countess, the famous Charlotte De La Tremoille, to his care. It is exceedingly difficult to ascertain precisely what part William Christian played in the subsequent transactions, since the only statements that remain are conflicting and obscure. We know that the countess, on hearing that her husband was a prisoner, made proposals to Parliament for the surrender of the Isle of Man in the hope of saving his life. It is known also that William Christian and some of the most influential Manx men suspected she had done so, and they then excited their countrymen against her by declaring that the countess intended to save herself by sacrificing them. This being so, it is of no surprise to learn that on the night on which the bearer of these proposals sailed, insular militia, under William Christian's command, rose and attempted to seize all the forts, but failed to take Rushen and Peel. Burton, Governor Musgrove s biographer, remarked that they plundered the earl's property and ill used all the English that fell into their hands. This statement, however, is uncorroborated. Musgrave demanded an explanation of the rising from Christian who replied that it was to procure the redress of certain grievances; and he added that the countess had sold the country into the hands of the Parliament. These grievances are known to have been connected with the 7th earl's action in depriving the people of their old system of land tenure, and there were also complaints of the free quarterage of troops upon them.

It is said that an agreement was then entered into between William Christian and the governor to defend the Isle of Man until satisfactory terms could be obtained, but, as both parties were negotiating with the Parliament, whose troops were now mustering for its capture, the agreement was, in reality, a mere pretence for the sake of gaining time. These troops arrived on the 20th October, but, being delayed by storms did not land until the 28th. They had been assured by William Christian that they would not be opposed by the soldiers under his command.

On the 3rd of November, the countess, finding that she could not rely upon the fidelity of her soldiers, surrendered the castles of Rushen and Peel, and soon afterwards she left the Island. In December, William Christian and his brother John, the Deemster, who were described in the Journals of the House of Commons as "two of the ablest and honest gentlemen in the Island", were summoned to London to be consulted about the Manx Laws and other matters. He was continued in his office of receiver under Lord Fairfax, and, between 1656 and 1658, he also held the office of governor. In the latter year, James Chaloner, who had then been appointed governor, ordered his arrest on the charge of having misappropriated the revenues of the sequestrated bishopric, which Fairfax intended to be used for the support of the Grammar Schools, and for the augmentation of the stipends of the poor clergy. The accusation does not seem to have been proved, and William Christian, through his son George, produced statements showing the substantial accuracy of his accounts. However, it is curious that he should have fled to England without attempting to defend himself personally..

It is not known where he spent the interval years between 1658 and 1660. In the latter year he went to London with many others to have a sight of the King. His visit however was an unfortunate one, for he was arrested for a debt of £20,000, and put into the Fleet prison, where he was kept for nearly a year until he was able to find bail. Some months after his release, being assured that the 'Act of Indemnity' secured him against all the legal consequences of his political actions, he rashly returned to the Isle of Man. His advisors forgot that his offences were not against the Crown, but against the Lord of Man, who, in September 1662, issued a mandate to his officers to proceed against him. "for all his illegal actions and rebellions" in 1651, or before that Year. He was thereupon imprisoned in Castle Rushen.

At the trial which followed, William Christian refused to plea. This was a fatal mistake, because he thereby subjected himself to the same judgement as if he had pleaded guilty, or had been found guilty by a jury. In consequence of this, no evidence was taken on his behalf, so that he was virtually condemned without a trial. His sentence was to be "hanged, drawn and quartered", but this was commuted by an order of the deputy-governor that he be "shot to death". This was accordingly carried out on the 2nd January 1663. An entry relating to his execution in the Parish Register of Malew states that "he died most penitently and most courageously, made a good end, preyed earnestly, made a good speech, and next day was buried in the chancel of Kirk Malew".

According to his dying speech he protested against the charge of treason brought against him by "a prompted and threatened jury, a pretended Court of Justice, of which the greater part were by no means qualified". He appealed to those present to bear witness how unjust the accusation against him was, and he declared that "the rising of the people" in which he had engaged, "did not at all, or in the least degree, intend the prejudice or ruin of the Derby family". During William Christians imprisonment in Castle Rushen, he had addressed a petition to the King and Council, pleading that the proceedings taken against him by the Earl of Derby were a violation of the Act of Indemnity, and praying that his case might be heard before them, but it did not reach London until a week after his execution.

In ignorance of this event, orders were sent to Lord Derby to produce his prisoner. Illiam Dhone's sons, George and Ewan, presented petitions for redress, and, after some delay, the earl, the Deemster, and three other members of 'the pretended court of justice' were brought before the King in Council, who decided that "the Act of General Pardon and Indemnity did and ought to be understood to extend to the Isle of Man".

William Christian has been variously represented as a perjured traitor, or as the patriotic victim of a judicial murder, according to the sympathies of the writer. Whatever his faults, William Christian undoubtedly suffered for the part he took in endeavoring to protect his countrymen's laws and liberties. It is this that has enlisted their sympathies in his favour, while the plaintive ballad Baase Illiam Dhone "Brown William's Death" has invested his memory with the halo of a martyr.


Extracts taken from the book Manx Worthies by A W Moore, First published in 1901.



Ballad of Iliam Dhone
(source unknown, English translation from Manx, anyone have the Manx original?)

In so shifting a scene, who would confidence place
In family, youth, power, or personal grace?
No character's proof against enemy foul;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

You are Derby's receiver of patriot zeal,
Replete with good sense, and reputed genteel,
Your justice applauded by the young and the old;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

A kind, able patron both to church and state
What roused their resentment but talents so great?
No character's proof against enmity foul;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

Thy pardon, 'tis rumour'd, came over the main
Nor late, but conceal'd by villian in grain;
'Twas fear forced the jury to a sentence so foul;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

Triumphant stood Calcott, he wish'd for no more,
When the pride of the Christians lay welt'ring in gore,
To malice a victim, though steady and bold;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

With adultery stain'd, and polluted with gore,
He Ronaldsway eyed, as Lough Molly before,
'Twas land sought the culprit, like Ahab of old;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

Proceed to the once famed abode of the nuns,
Call the Calcotts aloud, till you torture your lung,
Their short triumph's ended, extinct are the whole;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

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

No one's heard to grieve, seek the country all through;
Nor lament for the name that Bemaccon once knew;
The poor rather load it with curses untold;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

Ballalough 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, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

The opulent Scarlet on which the sea flows,
Is piecemeal disposed of to whom the Lord knows,
It's heirs without bread or defence from the cold;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, 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.

When the shoots of a tree so corrupted remain,
Like the brier or thistle, they goad us with pain;
Deep, dark, undermining, they mimic the mole;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

Round the infamous wretches who spilt Cesar's blood,
Dead spectres and conscience in sad array stood,
Not a man of the gang reach'd life's utmost goal,
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

Perdition, too, seized them who caused thee to bleed;
To decay fell their houses; their lands and their seed
Disappear'd like the vapour when morn's flushed with gold;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

From grief all corroding to hope I'll repair,
That a branch of the Christians will soon grace the chair,
With royal instructions his foes to control;
And thy fate, Iliam Dhone, 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, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.

And now for a wish at concluding my song -
May th' Almighty withhold us from doing what's wrong;
Protect every mortal from enmity foul,
For thy fate, Iliam Dhone, sickens my soul.


Bridge House Collection.

Document No. 69.


The collection of MSS. generously given to the Museum by Miss Quayle and Mrs. Tomlin includes a most interesting document. It is endorsed: An Inventory of William Christian's goods, moveable & un-movable.

An Inventory of all ye goods movable & unmovable of Mr Wm Christian of Raynolds-way deceased & his Widdow hath given upon oath to Itlr Quayle Atturney genrall & Mr Robt Calcott Coronr of Rushen Sheadinge whereof there is one half due unto yo Right Honrble Lord of this Isle & ye other halfe due unto ye widdow accordinge to ye Lawes of this Isle.


¶ In Kill loft 40 barrells of oates in ye farr house loft 24 barrells of oates
in yo Cattle house loft 45 barrells of barley
in ye old house 4 hogs-heads 3 Tubbs 3 barrels priced to 18s

¶ In ye Stable 7 carres 5 straddles 4s 100 oke poules & 4 oulder poules its vjd on(e) old plue [plough] & old plue beame & other peeces of old Tymber 4s 4 peeces of [Toyly] is 4d on old Chist & hatchett 3s 6d 7 Skines 4s 3 pike forkes 2 grappes 3s 2 hackes 2 Mankes spaddes 2 English spaddes 4s on(e) saddle & bridle 8s ye old beame ye old carther geares 5s

¶ In ye Oxe house a old wearne & paire of wheeles 12s 2 plues [ploughs] & old cart 5s a Coop & paire of wheeles 2lb 10s

¶ In ye hall a table frame & forme tens, one settle threes, a Chist a deske & 3 small boxes 7s one old Chist 2s 6d 2 Chaires 3s 6d, a paire of Tables 5s 2 Cov"ed Stoules 5s 191b of white woolen yarne 10s a paire of boutes 10s a linnen wheele & woolen wheele 3s 6d.

¶ In the Parler 1 Table & frame llb 10s 4 throne Chaires 8s 6d on(e) Rowne Table frame 10s 3 Carpetts 12 s. 7 Cussens 10s, a wooden Handish 2s 6d a blue stoule & Chaire 3s 6d 2 letther Chaires & lether Stoules 7s.

¶ In Patricks loft 4 paire of harrowes 16s all els in Patricks loft savinge yo Iron and ye Tarre 14s 8d.

¶ In his owne Chamber of ye best pewter fourscore beatinge one 31b 19s.

¶ 30lb of old pewter llb 5s 16 lb of raging Pewter 10s 13lb Chamberpot Pewter. 3s 8d 7lb & half of Candlesticke Pewter 4s a stile an closse Stoule 121b 8s old brasse Candle-stickes 5lb & ei 4s 6d 51b & ei of linnen yarne 5s one peece of Corke and of Tan'd lether 3s 2 dossen of Pewter Spoones 2s 2lbs & ei of Plate 81b 2s.

Note : 'ei' indicates a half.

¶ five Muskett barrells & a old Stocke sent to ye Castle.

¶ More in his owne Chamber 7 paire of y_ best Sheetes an a od one 31b 15s 12 paire of yo second soart of Sheetes 41b 10s 7 paire of ye course Sheetes llb 16s 13 Pillo beares 16s 20 & one Flaxen Napkins 12s 10 french Cloath Napkins 8s one dozen of Manske Cloo Napkins 9s 8 Tray Napkins Table Cloath 14s 24 Course Napkins & Table Cloath 10s 6 Touells 6s 2 large Table Cloathes 15s 4 Table Cloathes llb. 5 Cuppert Cloathes 13s Her owne bed an Cloathes 21b. One Trunkell bed & Cloathes belonginge llb 10s a old Chist 6s a wenscoate Chist 12s one old Trunke 6s a warming Pan 4s one Stoule 2s 6d

¶ In ye Clossett Chamber a bed an[d] Cloathes 2lb 15s on[e] Chist bound wth Iron 7s on[e] Boxe 4s 2 Chaires & old Stoule 4s 2 old Trunkes & old small firkin 6s 2 doz. yards of red Cloath 21b 6s on[e] Trounke 5s on[e] Cubbert & Cussen l1b 4 French Chaires 4s 5 blue stoules & Chaire 18s ye best Bed & cloathes 71b 10s a Trounkell Bed & cloathes 21b 10s 4 Stoules & Tables 10s 6 glasse bottles & on[e] looking glasse 6s

¶ In Buttry Chamber: ye best stand bed an[d] cloathes 61b another stand bed & cloathes 21b 15s a table & frame a old chist stoule llb. ~ In ye old Deemster's Chamber: ye cloathes of ye bed & ye bed 31b. a trounkell bed & blankett coverlett 21b 5s. on[e] old Chaire on[e] stoule 6s. a Table & frame 6s all thinges upon ye high loft 15s.

¶ In my antes Chamber: a bed steed & hangings & trounkell bed llb 2s a small prest 12s. a small Table & frame 8s.

¶ In ye buttry all ye Earthen weare upon ye Cubbert 6s ye Cubbert itself llb 3s. 3 dozen Trounkell (i e., Truckle) bed : a low bed on wheels. of Threncers 3s a old chist 5s a small canvas ( ?) Is. a baskett to take away ye Table 1s. 2 hogsheads 2 barrells 5 firkins & a old salt barrell & Cubbert 11b 2s. 24 Cowes & a yearlinge 401b. 6 heifers 3 steeres 131b. 12 of 2 year old 121b. 8 of one year old 51b 19 oxen 431b. 14 horses maires & coults 271b sixe score sheep young of [and?] old 201b.

¶ In ye kitchen : 4 old brasse potts 2 iron potts & mortar & pestell 31b. on[e] bigg brasse pan & 2 small pans & skellett 2 brasse laddles & skimr llb 9s 3 spits 3 Racks 1 fryinge pan an old dripinge pan 1lb.

¶ In ye milk-house: a large wenscoat chist 18s. on[e] old chist on[e] churne on[e] can on[e] Tubb on[e] cover 3 small Can[n]es a butter bason I Is 6d a old Table is 6d.

¶ In ye milke house loft: a bed steed 10s a small barrell 2s 6d 2 cheese fleahes 2s.

¶ In ye Clossett : 7 cheese fates 3 panes 4 Tubbes 5s 5 pan muggs 2s 2 old firkins 2s. milkinge vessells 4s.

¶ In ye meale lofft : on[e] hogshead 3 barrels & Tubb 8s 6d 4 Sives is 6d.

¶ In ye Brue house: 3 hogsheads 4 barrells 17s a come & cooler & come stoule 10s a Table & f rame 7s.

The Corne is not as yet praised because there is more to be added wch is yet unpriced.

There is alsoe 2 boates & nets yet unpraised as likewise certayne swine and poultery unpriced.

And for ye wearinge apparells Mrs Christian widdow desires yt her husband apparell to stand in lieu of her owne & that his may be praised & her owne to be reserved.

The Inventory hath been taken in November last & lately priced as afforesd.

William Christian (popularly known by the pet name 'Illiam Dhone') was born in 1608 and was shot to death in 1663. He was a younger son of Deemster Ewan Christian of Milntown. In 1643, he was a member of the Keys, and in the same year his father gave him Ronaldsway estate. The Earl of Derby soon after made him Receiver, and in 1651 put him in command of the Militia When the Earl was made a prisoner in England, the Countess made proposals to Parliament for the surrender of the Island, in the hope of saving his life. We know also that Christian and some of the most influential Manxmen suspected she had done so, and that they excited their countrymen against her by declaring that the Countess intended to save herself by sacrificing them. On the night on which the bearer of these proposals sailed, the Insular Militia, under Christian's command, rose and attempted to seize all the forts. They took all with the exception of Rushen and Peel. The English authorities (through Musgrove) demanded an explanation of the rebellion, and Christian replied that it was to procure the redress of certain grievances; and, he added, that the Countess had sold the country to the Parliament. These grievances we know (says A. W. Moore in
Manx Worthies' p. 64) to have been connected with the 7th Earl's action in depriving the people of their old system of land tenure and substituting the English system of three lives. There were also deep complaints of the free quarterage of the troops upon the farmers throughout the Island. The Parliamentary troops arrived and took the Island on the 28th October. On the 3rd November, 1651, the Countess surrendered to the Parliament the castles of Rushen and Peel, and soon afterwards she left the Island. Christian was continued in his office of Receiver under Lord Fairfax, and between 1656 and 1658 he also held the office of Governor. In 1660 he was in London, where he was arrested for a debt. He afterwards returned to the Isle of Man. James the 7th Earl had been beheaded at Bolton on 15th Oct. 1651, and when Charles the 8th Earl was re-instated in his
Kingdom of Man' he took measures to bring to justice those whom he considered had been instrumental in the
Rebellion' in the Island. He issued a mandate for the trial of Christian on 12th Sept. 1662. Christian refused to plead to the indictment. He was on the 31st December, 1662, sentenced to be shot to death at Hango Hill, which was carried into effect on 2nd January, 1663.

It would appear that after the above Inventory was made, the goods were equally divided according to law between the Lord of the Isle and the widow.

It remains to be stated that Illiam Dhone's son George made a successful appeal to King Charles 11, which resulted in the estate of Ronaldsway and other properties being restored to the family. Those responsible for the death of Christian were removed from office, including Henry Nowell, the Deputy Governor at the time.



Do you have supplementary information, corrections or questions with regards to William Christian?
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  1. "John D Newport," supplied by Newport, Updated: 2015-04-28; copy held by [RESEARCHER & CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PRIVATE USE]\., rootsweb : John. D. Newport, compiled by John D. Newport [(E-ADDRESS) FOR PRIVATE USE Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States of America
  2. Katherine Harrison
    Date of Import: 4 Dec 2003
    / RootsWeb's WorldConnect
  3. Mosher Family Lines, Date of Import: Nov 9, 2006 / RootsWeb's WorldConnect
  4. Billie J. Hall, Date of Import: Oct 31, 2006 / RootsWeb's WorldConnect
  5. Boddie, 17th Century Isle of Wight Co., Virginia, Database online.
    Record for Ewan Christian
  6. Bill Arnett
    Date of Import: Jul 3, 2007
  7. Manx Genealogy Bulletin Board, Steven Wacker
  8. Elizbeth Collier
    Date of Import: Nov 23, 2003
  9. Steve Coulson
    Date of Import: Oct 31, 2006
    / RootsWeb's WorldConnect

Timeline William Christian

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About the surname Christian

Historical context

  • Stadhouder Prins Maurits (Huis van Oranje) was from 1585 till 1625 sovereign of the Netherlands (also known as Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden)
  • In the year 1608: Source: Wikipedia
    • January 7 » Fire destroys Jamestown, Virginia.
    • January 17 » Emperor Susenyos I of Ethiopia surprises an Oromo army at Ebenat; his army reportedly kills 12,000 Oromo at the cost of 400 of his men.
    • May 14 » The Protestant Union, a coalition of Protestant German states, is founded to defend the rights, land and safety of each member against the Catholic Church and Catholic German states.
    • July 3 » Québec City is founded by Samuel de Champlain.
    • August 24 » The first official English representative to India lands in Surat.
    • September 10 » John Smith is elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.

  •  This page is only available in Dutch.
    Van 1650 tot 1672 kende Nederland (ookwel Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden) zijn Eerste Stadhouderloze Tijdperk.
  • In the year 1663: Source: Wikipedia
    • March 14 » According to his own account, Otto von Guericke completes his book De Vacuo.
    • March 24 » The Province of Carolina is granted by charter to eight Lords Proprietor in reward for their assistance in restoring Charles II of England to the throne.
    • June 8 » Portuguese victory at the Battle of Ameixial ensures Portugal's independence from Spain.
    • June 24 » The Spanish garrison of Évora capitulates, following the Portuguese victory at the Battle of Ameixial.
    • July 8 » Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal charter to Rhode Island.
    • July 27 » The English Parliament passes the second Navigation Act requiring that all goods bound for the American colonies have to be sent in English ships from English ports. After the Acts of Union 1707, Scotland would be included in the Act.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia


When copying data from this family tree, please include a reference to the origin:
Richard Remmé, "Genealogy Richard Remmé, The Hague, Netherlands", database, Genealogy Online ( : accessed June 23, 2021), "William Christian (1608-1663)".