Hango Hill is a small earthen mound overlooking Castletown Beach and may have been a prehistoric burial ground. Its name has its origins in the Norse for ‘Hanging Hill’ and has been used for executions since Medieval times but is best remembered as the place William Christian, (Illiam Dhone) was executed in 1663 for his part in surrendering the Royalist-held Island to Parliamentary forces in 1651. William Christian ii still a controversial figure in Manx history. Some view him as a patriotic martyr who stood up for rights of the Manx people, others as a traitor.
During the English Civil War, the Isle of Man was staunchly Royalist. The 7th Earl of Stanley left the island to fight for Charles II following the execution of Charles I. Christian was appointed as Receiver General. The Earl was taken prisoner in 1651 and executed. Cromwell sent an army to invade the island led by Colonel Robert Duckenfield. Christian supported the rebel Manx cause and was involved in negotiations with the Parliamentarians which resulted in the Countess being compelled to surrender Castle Rushen and Peel Castle. Christian was appointed Governor in 1656.
Two years later, however, Christian was accused of misappropriating money, although these charges were never substantiated. He fled to England, and was arrested in London in 1660. He served a year in prison before returning to the island. Charles Stanley, the new Earl, was determined to punish Christian and ordered his seizure. Christian refused to plead at his trial and a packed House of Keys declared that his life and property were at the mercy of the Lord of Mann. The Deemsters passed sentence, and Christian was executed by shooting on 2 January 1663. The execution was botched and he later died from his injuries. He was buried in “Malew Church”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/man/churchesandcrosses/churches/churches_two/malew/index.html .
The building remains on top of Hango Hill are nothing to do with the site of execution. They are the remains of a late C17th summerhouse built by the Earls of Derby after the execution of William Christian. It seems to have been linked to horse races organised by the Earl along the dunes on the east side of the Langness Peninsula. Much of the building has been eroded by the sea.
Hango Hill is easy to find – just follow the Derbyhaven road out of Castletown. The nearest post code is IM9 1BL and the grid reference is SC 276678.