taking our culture forward

Thomas William Cain (known as William) was born in Peel in 1935 to James Arthur and Mary Edith Cain (nee Lamb), his father was an Advocate with the family firm of T W Cains which had been started by his father, also Thomas William Cain, a generation earlier. William talks of his genealogy and tells the story of his grandfather who initially started working in the family Joinery business, then went back in to education and started the family law firm.

William talks of his early memories of a childhood in Peel including time spent as a scholar at a small private school on Stanley Terrace and how his life changed when WW2 broke out. The family moved away as James Cain joined the RAF, firstly to Belfast then to Cambridge where William and his brother, Charles became choral scholars at one of the world’s most prestigious choirs, King’s College, Cambridge. William describes life as a chorister and then as a student at Marlborough where he attended from the age of 14, he visited the Island in the holidays and also visited his mother who spent two years at a sanatorium outside Ramsey with TB.

After two years spent as an Officer in a Tank Regiment during his National Service where he served in Egypt and Libya, he completed a Law degree at Worcester College, Oxford and after passing the English Bar in London, he finally returned to the Island to take his place in T W Cains. William talks of his legal career, of his thirteen years as Attorney General and of later the challenges of being Second Deemster and finally the five years he served as First Deemster, a position from which he retired in 2002.

William Cain has been involved in many areas outside of the legal world and talks of the Manx Wildlife Trust of which he and his wife were founder members, also of his connection to the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society.

The interview is the tip of the iceberg in a very interesting and fulfilled life and career.


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  • Deemster William Cain