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Hango Hill, Malew

Period: 17th century

NGR Easting: 227604

NGR Northing: 467803

Description: Medieval burial mound; execution site; banquetting hall; gun battery. This prominent artificial mound stands on a natural summit at the northernmost point of Castletown Bay. It is believed to have served several uses, the earliest perhaps being for prehistoric burials. It is more likely to have been a pagan Viking burial monument, similar to mounds at Knock Rushen and Balladoole just to the west, and to others around Jurby in the north of the Island. The Vikings seem later to have used it as a place of execution, since its name is derived from the Old Norse for ‘hanging hill’.

The site is most well-known as the place where William Christian was executed in 1663 for his part in surrendering the Royalist-held Island to Parliamentary forces in 1651.

The Earls of Derby built a hall on the top of the hill shortly after, of which only the ruinous northern end survives: it was originally about 10m long. Early drawings show a building with battlements, though it seems only ever to have served as a banqueting hall and a summerhouse. It is associated with horseracing organised by the Earls along the dunes to the east onto Langness - the first ‘Derby’ races.

A battery of four small cannon is recorded as present in the later 17th century but had fallen into decay in the first half of the following century.

The banqueting hall was undermined by coastal erosion and was in ruins by the end of the 18th century. The hill is now protected from further damage by a seawall.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: summer house

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0031.00

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