[From ManxNoteBook vol i,1885]

Old Manx Families - The Christians of Milntown in the Isle of Man and Ewanrigg Hall in Cumberland

ARMS-AZURE a chevron confree, between three chalices OR.
CREST-A unicorn's head ARGENT, erased, armed and crested OR.
MOTTO-Saluss per Christum

A FAMILY of Scandinavian origin, the MacCristens, Christins, or, as they now call themselves, Christians*, must have attained an important position in the Isle of Mann at an early date, as John McCristen, the first of whom there is any record, was one of the Judges or Deemsters in 1408 and a Member of the Tynwald Court in 1422. Of his three successors, who also bore the name of John, the first was seated at Altadale, in the Parish of Lezayre; the second was Deemster, from 1500-1510, and the third was also Deemster from 1511-1535.
This latter acquired the property adjoining Altadale and called the whole Milntown. He was the first to put the Manx Laws in writing. Daniel, his brother, was the ancestor of the Christians of Baldroma, in Maughold. His sister married Garret of Ballabrooie, and his eldest daughter Samsbury+ of Ronaldsway. John, his second son, was Water-Bailiff. William, the eldest, who was Deemster with his father, succeeded to the estate in 1535, but died four years afterwards. William's second son, Robert, was also Deemster. From him the Christians of Lewaigue, in Maughold, are descended. Ewan, the fourth in descent from William, changed his name from MacCristen to Christian. He succeeded to the property in 1593. In 1605, when only 26 years old, he was made Deemster, and held that office 51 years. He was also Deputy-Governor of Peel Castle, and the most influential man in the Island.¥ His sister, Jane, married Thomas Samsbury of Ronaldsway, and died s.p. He purchased that estate from her trustees, and presented it, in 1643, to his third son, William, the famous "Iliam Dhone."§ John, his eldest son, who died before him, was Assistant-Deemster. His eldest daughter, Mabel, born in 1599, was John Curghey of Ballakillingan's second wife. Ewan, John Curghey's son, by his first wife, married Margaret, born in 1617, a younger sister of Mabel's. Ewan was succeeded in 1656 by his grandson Edward, who was also Deemster. Edward's eldest son, Ewan,'' purchased the property of Ewanrigg Hall, in Cumberland, (circa 1680), and also succeeded to the Milntown property on his father's death in 1693. His eldest son, John, married Bridget, daughter of Humphrey Senhouse, of Netherhall, a lineal descendant of King Edward the First. Of his numerous daughters several married into Manx families-Ann to one of the Bacons of Ballabrooie, (Major Caesar Bacon was her grandson); Jane to Captain Charles Moore, of the Abbey; Elizabeth to William Fine, of Ballachott; Alice to Quayle Curphey, of Ballakillingan; Margaret to Thomas Wattleworth, of Peel: she had two daughters, one of whom, Elizabeth, was Archdeacon Moore's and W. F. Moore's grandmother; the other, Margaret, married her first cousin, Joseph, son of Thomas, vicar of Crosthwaite, in Cumberland, who was Edward Christian's fifth son. From him are descended a branch of the family who are numerously represented at the present day. We may mention Ewan and Joseph Henry Christian, architects to the Church Commissioners; Henry Bailey, Member of Council at the Cape of Good Hope; Henry, Admiral and Chief-Constable of Gloucestershire; Alfred, George, and William Christian, Merchants, and Mrs. W. F. Moore, of Cronkbourne. To return to the elder branch, John, the eldest son of John and Bridget Senhouse, married Jane, daughter of Eldred Curwen, of Workington Hall, Cumberland. He was High-Sheriff for Cumberland in 1766. His third son, Charles, married Ann, daughter and heiress of Jacob Dixon, of Moreland Close, and had issue, who still possess that property. Their second son,1 Fletcher, was Mate of H.M.S " Bounty," and leader of the mutineers. He settled in Pitcairn's Island, where he married an Otaheitan woman, by whom he had a son, called "Thursday October," and a daughter, who married the Rev. G. H. Nobbs, the Chaplain of the Island. Thursday October Christian died in 1850. His grandson, Andrew, now 41 years old, has a numerous family. In 1856, the whole community, consisting of 194 souls, viz., 40 adult males, 47 adult females, 54 boys, and 53 girls, were transferred to Norfolk Island, where land was allotted to them by the English Government. Mary, daughter of the above John and Bridget Senhouse, married Edward Law, D.D, Bishop of Carlisle, and had issue, among others, a son, who became Lord Ellenborough. John, the High-Sheriff, died in 1767, and was succeeded by his son John, then a child of twelve years old, who, in 1775, married (first) Margaret, daughter of John Taubman, of Castletown. (John Taubman had married Esther, John Christian Curwen's aunt. From him are descended the Goldie-Taubmans, of the Nunnery.) By her he had issue John, who became Deemster, and who succeeded to the Christian properties. Margaret Christian, nee Taubman, died in 1778. In 1782, he married Isabella, heiress of Henry Curwen, of Workington Hall, his first cousin, and assumed the name of Curwen. He was one of the first agriculturalists of his day, and he held a high position in the House of Commons.+ His descendant, Henry Curwen, is the present proprietor of Workington Hall. Deemster John Christian's son, William Bell Christian, Receiver General, M.C., M.A., J.P., the 19th in descent from John MacCristen, is the present proprietor of the family estates. His eldest son, Ewan John, is Commissioner of Police at Kimberley, South Africa.


* James the VIIth Earl of Derby writing to his son, in 1643, says-" There be many of the Christians in this Country-that is Christins, For that is the true name; but they have made themselves chief here., [see Manx Soc vol III pt Ch17]

¥ Samsbury, now Sansbury.
An account of the Christians of Ronaldsway will be given in the next issue of "The Manx Note Book."
** This Ewan Christian, together with his namesake of Lewaigue, and John Stevenson, of Balladoole, was appointed by the House of Keys, in 1703, to treat with the Earl of Derby concerning the "several disputes, questions, and differences . . . between the Lords of the Isle and their tenants," which were then arranged by the "Act of Settlement." (See
preamble to that Act in the Statute Law Book.)
+ A short Biography will be given under the head of " Manx Worthies," in a future number.
[note never appeared as such but Moore did have an entry in
Manx Worthies Ch3 pp73]
1 [FPC Some references state 10th son, others sixth son]


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