Onchan Crest

Onchan CrestAs with all parishes on the Island, a board of Commissioners was established by Act of Tynwald in 1894. This was the Onchan Parish Commissioners but soon they realised that the village within the parish was in need of public sewers, street lighting etc. Being responsible people they felt it unfair to set a rate to be paid by all properties in the parish when only some would benefit from the proposals. As a result a separate local authority, Onchan Village Commissioners, was established in 1895.

The crest used by the Village Commissioners is not as old as most people think. The idea of a crest was that of amateur historian and commissioner Neil Mathieson (chairman 1949 – 50). Sketch designs were produced by Harold "Dusty" Miller a talented artist in 1948.

The design selected has a shield divided into four quarters. It is supported by a knight's head and hands with other armorial flourishes in the background. Above the Knight's helmet is a design taken from one of the ancient crosses to be found displayed inside the parish church.

The top left hand quarter shows a strange figure of a "dog head" also copied from one of the crosses and is the accepted ancient form for St Christopher, "Conchend" in Irish Gaelic, corrupted in Manx Gaelic and evolved to become Conchan and then Onchan.

In the Greek churches this eastern saint of the third century is usually depicted as having the head of a dog and looking like an ancient Egyptian divinity. The reason for this strange fact is not known but it is more then a coincidence that this figure and similar ones appear on other carved crosses found in Onchan.

The top right hand quarter shows a bridge, often thought to be the Whitebridge but not so. It symbolises the old name for the village, "Kiondroghad" meaning bridge head (see History of Onchan) and relates to the very beginning of the village nestled beneath the earliest church on the site of the present churchyard.

The bottom left hand quarter shows heraldic waves to relate to Onchan's position on the coast of the island whilst the final quarter shows the "Arms of Mann" the famous Three Legs which has been used to represent the island for centuries. This was used to signify that Onchan was part of the Isle of Man.

When the Village and Parish Commissioners amalgamated in 1986 the crest was adopted by the new board, known as Onchan District Commissioners.