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In modern times the name Onchan is used to indicate both the parish of Onchan and the village of the same name. Both are now merged for administrative purposes under the one Board of Commissioners. It was not always so.

Until at least as late as the Census of 1841, the cluster of houses which centred around the Butt and the parish church, was known as Kiondroghad. It is usual to translate this name as Bridge Head from the Manx 'kione' meaning 'head' and 'droghad' meaning 'bridge'. However Kelly's Dictionary of Manks published in 1866 contains the entry 'Kione-droghaid' and gives the meaning as 'Bridge End'. Kneen's dictionary supports this alternative meaning of the word 'kione'.

An example of the distinction between Onchan village and Onchan parish is to be found in a conveyance, dated 1832, of St. Catherine's House. The property was described as "..situate at or near the Village of Kion Droughad in the parish of Conchan..".

The bridge referred to in the name was not a timber or stone structure, or in fact a bridge at all. Rather it was a place where the marshy area at the foot of the Butt could be crossed. The Manx Archaeological Survey states that "..the Droghad must have been the bridge or causeway...represented by that part of the road opposite the old school [at the site of Minay's Garage] which lead across the boggy depression...The little meadow here bore the curious name of Casa..". Kneen's Place Names relates 'Casa' to 'Cashey' meaning a causeway made of wickerwork, and boughs of trees.

The 1841 Census stated that the Village of Kiondroughad (sic) consisted of 51 inhabited houses and had 185 male and 178 female inhabitants.