[From Manx Families, A.W.Moore, MS 1889]

Christian’s of Ronaldsway: the Descendants of William Christian (Iliam Dhoan)


[Appeared in Manx Note Book no.3 pp98/102, 1885]

Arms: Azure, a chevron humetty between three covered cups, OR, on a canton argent, an anchor erect, with part of the cable round the tock proper.

Crest: Out of a naval coronet OR, a Unicorn’s head argent, collared gules

Mottos: Salus per Christum and Perseverando


William Christian (born April 1608, died January 1662-3), Receiver General, was the 3rd son of Deemster Ewan Christian, of Milntown, who presented him with the property of Ronaldsway, of which, in 1643, he accepted a lease for three lives, from James, Earl of Derby, on condition of surrendering the ancient ‘tenure of the straw.’ By his wife, Elizabeth, he had eight sons and one daughter. Ewan, the eldest died in infancy; George, (born 1635, died 1694, buried at Malew), obtained possession of Ronaldsway, which had been confiscated on his father’s death, in the autumn of 1663; for ‘having exhibited his complaint to his Majesty in Council,’ it was ordered ‘that intire restitution be made of all the said estate.’ Probably, owing to the expense attending this appeal, we find that, in 1677, he held only half the estate, and moreover, that ‘the houses on the said estate’ were ‘decayed and dilapidated.’ His only son, William, succeeded him, but in 1706, he was ejected, and ‘John Corrin entered . . . by virtue of our Honourable Lord’s decree.’ Christian appealed against this, and, in 1716, is again ‘entered by virtue of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales his order in Council.’ In 1720, ‘having contracted very considerable debts by reason of a long and expensive law suit in recovering my estate of Ronaldsway’ he was obliged to sell it. He had an only daughter, Elizabeth, who died without issue.

Ewan, (born 1637, died 1671, at Ronaldsway, buried at Malew), the third son, petitioned Charles II, ‘that those persons, who had been the Judge and Jurors upon that tryall of his father . . . may be brought up before your Matie to give an accompt of their said proceedings.’

Of the next two sons, John and William, nothing is known. Mary (born 1641) married Charles Stanley, of Ballacaighen, in Rushen, and had issue. The Stanleys of Ballacaighen, were a younger branch of the Derby family.

Patricius (born 1644) married Ann Moore, of Pulrose, and had three sons and one daughter. It is not known what has become of his descendants. He lived at Ballaquayle, in Braddan, and was a Member of the House of Keys in 1699. The eighth son, Charles (born 1649, died 1699 without issue), was a Major in the army.

It is only the descendants of the seventh son, Thomas (born 1646, died 1700), whom we can trace to the present day. He seems to have had charge of the family property in Lancashire and to have carried on a merchant’s business in Liverpool. He married Mary, daughter of the well-known Colonel Birch, who was governor of Liverpool under the Commonwealth, and had issue Hugh. Hugh (born 1679, died 1729), was captain and owner of a merchant vessel. His son Thomas (born1716, died 1752) was a Captain in the Royal Navy. Hepworth Dixon, in ‘Her Majesty’s Tower,’ mentions that he took out letters of marque and captured several Spanish galleons.

By his wife, Ann Hughes, he had issue Sir Hugh Cloberry, K.B. (born 1747, died 1798) Rear Admiral of the White. Between 1779 and 1783, he took part in various actions in the West Indies, and in 1796, he was appointed to the chief command there. Sir Ralph Abercromby, in his dispatch of the 31st of May, in that year, announcing the surrender of St. Lucia, wrote ‘Rear Admiral Sir Hugh Christian, and the Royal Navy, have never ceased to show the utmost alacrity in forwarding the public service. To their skill and unremitting labour the success which has attended his Majesty’s arms is in a great measure due.’ Early in 1798, he was commander-in-chief at the Cape of Good Hope, where he died suddenly in the November of the same year. ‘His services . . . had been arduous and useful; and by his death, the country lost an attentive, able, and excellent officer.’ By his wife Ann, daughter of Barnabas Leigh, of Thorley, in the Isle of Wight, he had issue three daughters and two sons. The daughters were all married: Ann, to Major General Frederick, Baron Hompesch; Mary to Count William Bylandt; and Joanna to Mr. R. Robinson. The eldest of the sons, Hood Hanway (born 1784, died 1849), went into the Navy and was made a Commander at the very early age of sixteen, ‘for the gallant way in which he commanded a division of boats at the siege of Genoa.’ In 1809, he took part in the ill-fated Walcheren expedition, after which he saw no active service. In 1838, he was made Rear Admiral. He had four sons and three daughters, of whom the only survivor is Mrs. Arthur Traherne, of Glan-y-dur, Brecknockshire. Sir Hugh’s younger son, Hugh George (born 1787, died 1861) was a very able East Indian Civilian. He left the college at Fort Williams with honours never before or since surpassed.' ‘Whilst in India, he held the appointment of Collector and Magistrate of various districts in the North-West Provinces, member of the Board of Revenue, and Commissioner for the settlement of the conquered and ceded Provinces.’ His eldest son Samuel, and two surviving sons, Major Hugh Henry Christian, J.P., Provost of Portobello, and Rev. Frederick Christian, Vicar of Wingfield, in Derbyshire, have issue.

[additional notes]

The Irish Branch of the Christian’s of Ronaldsway

William Christian, grandson of Illiam Dhoane, after selling Ronaldsway, migrated to County Waterford, where he bought the property of ‘Old Grange.’ This we know from his will which is in the Record Office at Dublin. He had three children: Patricius & Elizabeth (died sans progeny) & Jonathan who married … Clarke, daughter of N. Clarke of Co. Kilkenny, and aunt of General Clarke, Duc de Jeltre, Marshal of France, & secretary to Napoleon I. Of their children, Brabazon was a Capt. R.N., William, the eldest, who succeeded to ‘Old Grange’ married Grace Baker & has issue Jonathan Whitby; Ann married Thomas Hamilton; Anastasia married Thomas Hutchinson M.D.; and George Baker who married Mary Cormick of Carrick-on-Siur. Their son, the Right Honorable Jonathan Whitby P.C., was the First Justice of Appeal in Ireland, and an eminent judge. He resided at Ravenswell Bras, Co. Wicklow, & in Merrion Square, Dublin. By his wife, Mary, daughter of Francis E. Thomas of Newtown Park, Co. Dublin, he had issue both sons and daughters. She was a cousin of her husband’s (see below). The eldest son of William and Grace Baker, Jonathan W. married Mary, eldest daughter of William Shaw of Landguilts, Co Kilkenny. Her mother, Mary Markham, was descended in the female line from Oliver Cromwell. They has issue William, a lieutenant R.N. (died sans progeny), Mary Anne, who married Arthur Bushe M.A.B.L., Master of Green’s Bouch, Dublin. He was a son of the celebrated Lord Chief Justice Charles Kendal Bushe & uncle of Lord Plunket, Lord Archbishop of Dublin & of the Hon David Plunket, M.P.; Emily married Francis E. Thomas & had issue Mary who married the Right Honorable J W C (see above); Charlotte Mabel, who married Charles Putland of Bray Head House, Bray; four sons, besides the eldest, Robert Calder, who was chief of the Record & Pleadings Department, Queens Bench Office, Four Courts, Dublin (died 1876). He married Marianna Elliot, daughter of General David Elliot, who was Grandnephew of the defender of Gibraltar, Lord Heathfield. They had issue Emily Francis (died sans progeny); Jonathan Whitby, an officer in the Merchant Service (died sans progeny); David Elliot, living at Chicago. He married Emma, daughter of L. Le-Clair, Michigan; George Douglas, also in Chicago, and James Alex Hamilton in Brooklyn; Lloyd H. Thomas, a barrister living at Dundrum. He married Edith, daughter of William Dauter(sp); two daughters (unmarried) & Robert Calder (died 1895), a barrister in Dublin. He married Frances, daughter of Charles Coates Hamilton, Ma.B.L, and their eldest surviving son, George Spencer is the present representative of the family. There are also Charles Coates, Francis Nigel, and two daughters.


1 Indenture dated 19 Car. I., in Record Office.
2 Surname unknown
3 Manx Society, VOI. XXVII. P. 55.
4 "Order from the Worshipll Richard Stevenson, Esqr., Depty. Govr., bearinge date ye 26th of 9br 1677."
5 The Corrin claim had been advanced more than sixty years before. See Manx Society, Vol. III, p. 17.
6 Lib. Vast. 1706.
7 do. 1716.
8 Deed of Sale. William Christian to James Somerville.
9 Manx Society, Vol. XXVI, P. 47.
10 Manx Society, Vol. XXVI, P. 48 : "That yor peticoner hath appealed to be tryed by yor Mats. Lawes of England, where he many years lived and hath an estate, but it was refused." (William Christian's Petition) ; P. 55 : In George Christian's Complaint: " Whereas the said William Christian the accused was one of two lives remaining in an estate in Lancashire."
11 NAVAL CHRONICLE, Vol. XXI, p. 187.
12 NAVAL CHRONICLE, Vol. XXI. p. 188.
13 " ROMANTIC ANNALS OF A NAVAL FAMILY," P. 239, by Mrs. Traberne. Those who wish to learn more about the Christian Family are advised to read this delightful book.
14 " BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF HUGH GEORGE CHRISTIAN," by Major Hugh Christian, p. 10. A very interesting and graphic memoir.
15 Do., p. 151.  


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