Robert Kewley, served in the Royal Manx Fencibles in Ireland during the 1798 rebellion but lost his rank as Sergeant because of some military neglect.Some years after, he returned to the Isle of Man when an incident happened which involved a reputed thief who was tried for sheep stealing.  The thief was caught,arrested and condemned to be executed in 1816. Unexpectedly, the necessary official papers were mislaid , so the execution was never carried out.

However, a couple of years later Robert Kewley of the letter signature was also tried and convicted of stealing a sheep. Robert had led a very highly respected life on the island until this theft.  Many petitions were made in his support but failed to change the outcome. He was convicted and sentenced to be hanged.

There were 6,000 people assembled in 1818 to witness the execution of Robert Kewley at Castletown Isle of Man. The office of hangman was taken over by a prisoner in Castle Rushen which caused a great sensation as the previous hanging was at least 40 years before.  The authorities needed to set an example to the community and this they did accomplish.  Robert Kewley died a very repentant individual.

Surprisingly and to the astonishment of all, the hanging was performed by a man called Quilliam the very same person who escaped his own execution years earlier, due to mislaid documents!