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Landmark nationalist tribute to Illiam Dhone

A large crowd is expected at a landmark commemoration at Hango Hill outside Castletown today (Jan 2) in honour of the man widely regarded as a Manx martyr, Illiam Dhone.

A wreath will be laid at the site of his execution by firing squad, on the 350th anniversary of his death.

William Christian known as Illiam Dhone led a campaign to prevent the Island being handed over to Parliamentarians during the English Civil War, but eventually surrendered to Oliver Cromwell.

For that he was sentenced to death in 1663 and controversy has raged since over whether he was patriot or traitor.

Many believe that the deal he struck with Cromwell's Parliamentary forces preserved Manx traditions and independence and prevented the inevitable bloodshed of an invasion, while others claim it was an act of treachery by a self-serving politician.

Orations will be given in Manx Gaelic by Christopher Lewin and in English by Mark Kermode of the nationalist group Mec Vannin, who's expected to give a critical view of the Manx government's handling of current economic difficulties. The service starts at 2pm.

The first dedicated biography of Illiam Dhone was published in November.

Speaking at the book's launch, author Jennifer Kewley-Draskau says whatever conclusions readers draw about his standing as a martyr, his story continues to grip generations:

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