Sunday, August 13, 2006

 

The Union and Orangeism - 1801

Just before the outbreak of the 1798 Uprising in May of that year the first meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland took place in Dublin. On the 8th March 1798 Orangemen from all over Ireland met in the city. Gentry from Ulster were very well represented as the upper classes had put aside their early aloofness and joined the Orange Order in large numbers.

The chair was taken by young Thomas Verner and this resolution was put forward:

"That it is advisable that proper correspondence should be instituted forthwith between different Orange lodges in the Kingdom. That a Grand Lodge be formed for this purpose. That such a lodge be called the Grand Lodge of Ireland. To facilitate organisation and administration, each county should be divided into districts by the Grand Master and other Masters of the county. That each county should have a Grand County Lodge to be formed of District Masters."

It was also put forward that the Grand Lodge's first meeting would be on Monday, 9th April 1798 in the house of Thomas Verner, Dawson Street, Dublin.

The resolutions were submitted to all Lodges for ratification. There were 471 issued warrants but only 281 of these were issued with full details. Of these 167 Lodges approved the resolutions including LOL 1 and LOL 36 which had James Sloan of Loughgall as it's Master.

The first meeting of the Grand Lodge was indeed a grand affair. Among the 46 who gathered in Thomas Verner's upstairs drawing room were: The Right Honourable Earl of Athlone; The Most Noble Marquis of Drogheda; The Right Honourable George Ogle MP; Lord Viscount Isaac Corry; The Right Honourable John Barry-Maxwell MP; Sir Richard Musgrave; Major Henry Sirr of Dublin; The Honourable JW Cole (later Lord Enniskillen); Captain John Claudius Beresford of the Dublin Cavalry; Captain John "Hunter" Cowan of Wexford; The Right Honourable Patrick Duigenan LLD MP, Grand Master of the Aldermen of Skinners Alley; and the Very Reverend Dean Keating who was Chaplain to the Irish House of Commons.

The first moved was to elect the officers for the Grand Lodge. George Ogle spoke first, he proposed Thomas Verner for Grand Master. 22 year old William Blacker rose next to second the proposal. Sir Richard Musgrave was elected Grand Treasurer, Captain John Beresford was elected Grand Secretary and Dean Keating was elected Grand Chaplain.

The last item which remained was the establishment of a committee to codify the rules and set one single set of ordinances for the whole Orange Order. This was entrusted to two young men Harding Giffard and Samuel Montgomery.

After the meeting closed the Brethren moved downstair and toasted the "Glorious and Immortal Memory" with whiskey, wine and porter. The porter was a gift from Arthur Guinness, a Kildare man who 20 years earlier established a brewery at St James' Gate Dublin for the production of a dark beer known as "Guinness, Black Protestant Porter". Arthur himself was well advanced in years but his four sons were among the founding members of LOL 176 in Dublin.

Following the 1798 uprising Westminister and Dublin Castle resolved to create a formal union between Great Britain and Ireland to try and stablise the Kingdom. The public at large was divded on the issue, as were the members of the Orange Order. In fact the Orange Order was for a time in danger of splitting over the issue. The Grand Lodge was moved to issue a statement on the issue:

"All brethren should strictly abstain from expressing any opinion, either pro or con, upon the question of legislative union because such expression of opinion and such discussion could only lead to disunion; that disunion would lead to disruption, and that disruption would promote the designs of the disaffected and in all probability lead to the destruction of the Empire."

However several lodges came out in defiance of the Grand Lodge, such as LOL 500 of Dublin who issued a statement to the press aganist Union. On 1st March 1800 31 lodges met at Maze in County Down and issued a draft stating: "We consider a legislative union with Great Britian as the inevitable ruin to peace, properity and happiness in this Kingdom."

A week later the County Grand Lodge of Antrim issued a pro union statement. On 12th March 1800 the Masters of 36 Lodges representing 2,100 Orangemen met in Armagh city and passed strong anti-union resolutions. LOL 253 of Charlemont in County Armagh went so far as to call for the Grand Master Thomas Verner to be replaced with the anti-union George Ogle.

However the issue was out of the hands of the Orangemen and on the 17th June 1800 the final reading of the Bill to create a union between Ireland and Great Britain was read in the Irish House of Commons. Passed the Act of Union received Royal assent in August and became law. On 1st January 1801 it came into action.

The new Union Flag was raised for the first time, with the saltire of Saint Patrick joining the crosses of Saint George and Saint Andrew. It was flown throughout the United Kingdom and has remained flying for the last 205 years.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

 

The Orange Tree Spreads it's Branches

From the beginning Orangeism took root and spread quickly in County Armagh. Within weeks new lodges had appeared across the county, in County Tyrone, and up into the Lagan Valley round Lisburn in Counties Down and Antrim.

Within the year of the foundation in Loughgall Orangeism have spread, through the use of "travelling warrants" through Ulster and lodges were found in far off Londonderry and Donegal.

Military lodges also held travelling warrants and they took Orangeism to the midlands of Ireland with lodges soon appearing in Limerick, Cork and Kerry.

Armagh man Bro James Hart even planted the Orange seed in the heart of Belfast, which at the time was a stronghold of the Republican United Irishmen. With the backing of high powered businessmen such as Henry Moore, William Ewart, Christopher Hudson, James Law and Stephen Daniel who gave financial support and joined the Belfast Orangemen the Order even took root in what was considered to be unpromising soil.

On the 12th July 1796 the Order found itself strong enough to mount it's first parades. Some, like General William Dalrymple the Army commander of Belfast, were apprehensive and felt trouble would break out. However the parades, which took place at Portadown, Lurgan and Waringstown, passed off calmly. Lord Gosford, a man considered to be no friend of Orangeism, was so impressed by the display he wrote the following to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the following day:

"I have the honour to acquaint Your Excellency that a meeting of Orangemen took place yesterday in different parts of the country. After parading through Portadown, Loughgall and Richfield they came towards this place. They halted about half a mile from my house and sent a courier to enquire whether I had any objection to allowing them to march through part of my demesne. My answer was that if they were sober and orderly I could have no objection.... They accordingly came here about 5 o'clock in the evening, marching in regular files with orange cockades, and distinguished by their number of flags.... The devices on the flags were chiefly portraits of King William, and on the reverse side some of them I perceived a portrait of his present Majesty and the motto, "God Save the King". They were perfectly quiet and sober.... The number who paraded amounted, I should imagine, to about fifteen hundred."

This was a remarkable change of point of view for Lord Gosford. General Dalrymple had a change of heart after the 12th July 1796 writing to the Chief Secretary that the Orange festival had passed off peacefully and the Orangemen were bringing calm to previously troubled areas of the country.

The Orangemen also worked hard for acceptance by the powers-that-be. They drafted a "humble petition and submitted it to the magistrates who were meeting for the Summer Assizes in Armagh. It read:

"That at a time when disloyalty and disaffection pervades that land we should think ourselves wanting were we not to declare our sentiments.... We declare that we are willing and ready at all times to step forward in support of our rightful sovereign King George III and his royal successors of the House of Brunswick, in support of the civil magistrates in the execution of their duty. Having learned with concern that every act of violence and outrage is imputed to us, we deny the charge with comtempt. Our principles bind us in a most sacred and solmn manner to the contrary. We abhor and detest Defenders, Peep O'Day Boys or others and declare ourselves separarte from them. Our principles are sacred and distinct as that venerable body of Brotherhood called Freemasons. If our principles were thoroughly known, your Honours would cherish and support our Institution. We therefore pray that you may appoint one of your number to inspect our principles which can be obtained by observing certain solmn obligations. Having declared our loyal intentions to our King and Constitution; we humbly pray that you will take us under your protection, grant us favours agreeable to our merits, as we intend to assemble in a peaceful, quiet and orderly manner to celebrate the Glorious and Immortal Memory on 12th July."

On the 4th June 1796 the first Orange Lodge in Dublin was established. It's first meetings where held in a hotel on Grafton Street under the warrant of LOL 176. The first Worshipful Master was Thomas Verner, the son of James Verner whose country seat was at Churchill in County Armagh. LOL 176 because a lodge for high-ranking and socially powerful people but it was not a Grand Lodge. On 2nd July 1796 a meeting was called at Portadown in order to form a central authority to bring uniformity to rituals and rules. The brethren spent the day in discussion but could not reach agreement. They adjourned and did not come together again for ten months. The problems were put aside and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland was formed.
The first Grand Master elected in 1797 was Tinity Collage student William Blacker, with Wolsey Atkinson becoming Grand Secretary. A resolution was passed that no lodge could sit in Ireland without a warrant signed by Bro Atkinson.

But within months Ireland was a country aflame with rebellion . On 23rd May 1798 the republican United Irishmen rose aganist British rule. In Ulster many Presbyterians took part in the rebillion beside Roman Catholics, as Presbyterians had also been subject laws curtailling their worship, and the rebillion was of an non sectarian nature. The same could not be said of the southern parts of Ireland. Here the United Irishmen were almost totally Catholic. Outrages aganist Protestants happened in two areas of County Wexford. At Scullabogue 224 Protestant hostages, including 20 women and children were burnt to death in a barn on the 15th June 1798. The shrieks of pain and fear as the flames arose were drowned out by the cries of excitement and joy of the rebels outside.

In the town of Wexford local Protestants had been put in jail by the United Irishmen. On 20th June 1798 they were led out of the jail and taken to Wexford Bridge by the United Irishmen. The ghastly parade was led by a man carrying a large black flag with a red cross painted in the centre with the letters M W S underneath. These letters meant "Murder Without Sin". The Protestants were made to kneel down surrounded by pikemen who stuck their weapons into their victims ribs and raised them from the ground. They were held there until dead and then the bodies were tossed over the parapet of the bridge to the water below. Over the course of two hours 90 Protestants were murdered in this fashion.

The sectarian murder in the south made many Ulster Protestant rebels turn away from the United Irishmen and the rebellion all over Ireland was put down by the Crown forces. Orangemen were involved in the Militian and Yeomanry and were the mainstay for the Crown in the bloody battles aganist the rebels across the country.

After the defeat of the United Irishmen and the return of peace the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland Lord Camden stated that through their service in the Yeomanry the Orangemen of Ireland had earned for themselves the noble distinction of being the saviours of their country.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

 

The Founding of the Loyal Orange Institution


The leaders of the victors who had assembled in the field opposite Dan Winter's ruined pub on 21st September 1795 at the end of the Battle of the Diamond withdrew up the road to the ancestral home of the Winter family. They discussed the whole project before them and outlined another meeting that evening in the public house owned by James Sloan on the main street of Loughgall village. (Pictured left.)

The small group who met that evening was James Wilson, Dan Winter, James Sloan, John Dilly from Derryoughill, Thomas Sinclair of Derryscallop, Robert Irwin of Kinnego, a man by the name of Lockhart from Knocknacloy and Captain John Giffard of the Royal Dublin Militia. At this first meeting it was decided that the organisation should be exclusively Protestant and be better organised than before.

It was agreed that sounding should be taken in the local community on how the new organisation should proceed. A second meeting was held at James Sloan's Public House in Loughgall, again attended by Captain Giffard and two English regiment officers Colonel Sheldrake and Captain Cramp, and here it was agreed to push on.

One of the first decisions was that the new brotherhood should be named in honour of the Great Deliverer King William III and those initiated would be known as Orangemen. To move away from the tradition of naming the orgainisation after the area in which it was founded and to ensure people would not think it to localised the name chosen for the brotherhood was the Loyal Orange Society.

The nominal head of the new brotherhood was James Sloan and he was given the authority to issue warrants to enable the first lodges to be established. These were rough and ready documents at first, slips of paper with the name of the person who the proper warrant would be issued to in time, signed by Sloan and with a crude seal of William on horse back. A 19th century Orange historian gave the following as an example:

"Number 89 - Timakeel July 7th 1796
James Sloan
To be renewed in the name of Daniel Balla
Portadown District."



Later Wolsey Atkinson took over a Grand Secretary and the warrants became more sophisticated. Again the historian gave the below details of what was to become known as the Atkinson Warrant:

"Number 670 -
To whom all these present shall come.
Our well beloved Brother John Hyde, of
Ballymagerny in County Armagh, is hereby
permitted to hold a Lodge or Orange Society
at Ballymagernry, in the said county - to act as
Master, and perform the Requisites thereof.
Given under my hand and seal of office at
Portadown in the County of Armagh, this
3rd day of September 1798.
Wolsey Atkinson,
Grand Secretary of the
Orange Societies of Ireland."

There are at least three different accounts of how the early warrants were allocated and how the first one was sercured by the men of Dyan in County Tyrone. Edward Rogers of Armagh wrote that following the Battle of the Diamond the men of Loughgall came to Sloan's Pub to receive the first warrant. Sloan didn't have pen nor paper and directed them to a shop to get some. While they were gone the Dyan men arrived on the same business. When Sloan told them he had send someone for paper the Dyan men replied that they could do better than that. They took a sprig of hyssop from a tree in Sloan's garden and presented to him with a covering letter. Sloan was taken aback at the novelty of the proceeding and carelessly signed the paper giving warrant one to Dyan.

The second account came from Bro Woods, a Loughgall Orangeman, who said that many men when to Sloan's Pub after the battle and the Dyan men just happened to receive the first warrant by chance. The third account tells of the warrants being placed in a hat and the Dyan men drawing Number one.

The details of the following warrants issued are as follows:

  • No 2. Received by Thomas Sinclair, who came from Derryscallop, County Armagh. He fought at the Diamond and remained Master of his lodge until his death.
  • No 3. Went to a man named Bartley of Derryoughill, a master tailor. So excited was he with his prized that he swam across the Blackwater river to take a short cut home.
  • No 4. Given to a man called Lockhart from Knocknaclog. He fought at the Diamond and was present at the first meeting in James Sloan's pub.
  • No 5. Was obtained by Robert Irwin of Kinnego. Like many early Orangemen he was initiated during a ceremony behind a ditch.
  • No 6. To Killilea in County Armagh, however the name of the man to which it was issued has not survived.
  • No 7. To Thomas Lecky of Breagh County Armagh. He was said to have brandished his blackthorn stick over the heads of his Orange Brethren to receive an early number.
  • No 8. Went to Richard Robinson of Timakeel. He had been involved in the fight at Loughgall fair and played a leading part in the Battle of the Diamond.
  • No 9. Went to a man from Portadown whose name has not survived.
  • N0 10. Went to George Templeton who led the assault against the Defenders at Faughart Hill.

Such was the anxiety of Orangemen to receive a low number that James Sloan himself had to make do with Number 28. At this time all lodges were of equal status but Sloan's could be described as first among equals as a warrant was not a warrant unless it was issued by Sloan or his brother-in-law Wolsey Atkinson.

Jame Sloan's house is today an Orange Museum. On display with the many sashes, flags and banners is the table which Sloan issued the first warrants from, and hanging on the wall in pride of place is the blunderbuss used by Quigley, the leader of the Defender mob, at the Battle of the Diamond.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

 

Before the Beginning Part 4 - The Battle of the Diamond


In the late 1700's there was unsettlement among Protestants living in Ireland. The Irish parliament had passed the Catholic Relief Act, allowing Catholics onto local councils, to take rank in the army and in some cases to vote, at the same time Catholics started to make threats towards their Protestant neighbours saying that their day was coming and when it did they would deal with the Protestants of Ireland.

From the 1790's onwards there was an upsurge of sectarian violence in mid-Ulster with rival groups clashing after dark. "The Defenders" was the name given to a Catholic group who went around attacking Protestants and the "Peep O'Day Boys" was their Protestant counterpart.

The Peep O'Day Boys got their name from their dawn raids on Catholic homesteads. They would check for arms, wreck the houses and smash weaving looms. The Defenders would in turn attack Protestant homes to the same results and the sectarian wheel would go on turning. The Defenders also started to develop a lodge system with secret signs, passwords and handshakes.

In 1791 an outrage near Forkhill in County Armagh was to really set the sectarian fire burning. A landlord called Richard Jackson died and in his will left instructions that four vocational schools were to be established on waste ground on his estate at Mullaghbawn just outside Forkhill. He also said a small colony of Protestants were to be settled on the ground but the existing tentants, both Catholic and Protestant, were not to be disturbed. Alexander Barclay arrived in the area to establish the interdenominaional schools soon after. However the local Catholics were outraged that Protestants were to be settled near them and that there was to be no Irish taught in the schools.

Attacks started to occur on the Protestants. The Rev Edward Hudson, a trustee of the will, had his corn and turf set alight, his horse was shot out from under him during at attempt on his life and threatening notices where pasted to his front door.

On the evening of 28th January 1791 Barclay answered a knock at his door. 50 men under the leadership of a man called Terence Byrne lay in wait outside. They rushed into his house, attacking the schoolmaster. They forced out his tongue and cut it off. His wife was violated and battered, she died as the gang attempted to cut off one of her breasts. After this they attacked Barclay's brother-in-law also cutting out his tongue and hacking away the calves of his legs. The gang then robbed the house and marched off four abreast in a touch light procession. Weeks later some of them were arrest and identified in court by the mute brother-in-law by nods of his head. One of them were found to be carrying Barclay's pocket-watch and others were wearing some of his clothing.

On the 12th July of the same year hundreds of men gathered at Aghaderg in County Down to march along the road behind a fife and drum band in celebration of the Battle of the Boyne. As they passed an old tree covered fairy fort at Lisnagraed they were attacked by a large group of Defenders. The Protestants were better armed than the Defenders and decided to attack up the hill. In the meantime the Defenders had raised the white flag of the Stuarts and a banner with the portrait of the Virgin Mary. It was then the Protestants rushed in commando style up the hill and took the Defenders by surprise. In the midst of the smoke and with shot flying around their head the Defender fled and the incident when down in song and verse as a great Protestant victory.

Near to Benburb in County Tyrone on the 24th June 1794 the funeral of a prominent Defender took place. It was a large affair with many Defenders arriving in the town from all over Tyrone and beyond to attend. After his remains were interred the Defenders retired to a local public house to drown their sorrows. After becoming drunk they started to abuse the Protestant townsfolk. Soon enough they were breaking windows, kicking in doors, and setting thatched roofs ablaze. The terrorised Protestants fled from their homes in fear of their lifes at the hands of the sectarian Defender mob.

The news of what was happening spread to the surrounding countryside and Protestant farmers started to flock to the town to fight off the Defenders. Among those in the thick of it was James "Buddra" Wilson, from the village of Dyan in County Tyrone, who happened to be attending his Freemason lodge in Benburb that day. He had pleaded with his Masonic brethren to join him in defending their co-religionists but they had flattly refused. After the Protestants had chased of the Defender mob James Wilson mounted his horse to return home, he saw his Masonic brethren watching from the road side. He shook his fist at them and swore that "he would light a star in Dyan which would soon eclipse them forever." The next day he set about forming an organisation for the defence of Protestants, it was called "The Orange Boys".

In 1795 trouble was brewing around the Diamond area just outside Loughgall in County Armagh. The Diamond was a crossroad with up to seven whitewashed cottages around it. On the Loughgall road a man by the name of Dan Winter owned a few houses, including a public house. Dan Winter wore his politics on his sleeve, he was nicknamed Orange Dan in the area. He was a relation of James Wilson and it was said that his pub was the meeting place for both the local Orange Boys and the Peep O'Day Boys, indeed the signboard of the pub bore a painting of King William crossing the Boyne.

At the May Fair Day that year a cock-fight took place at the crossroads. A Catholic was foolhardy to linger too long in this Protestant area and was beaten up by the Peep O'Day Boys. It was soon said that the Defenders had earmarked Dan Winter's pub for attack. Within days shots were fired into the pub by galloping horsemen. Further trouble broke out at the June Fair Day. A number of strangers were reported in the area, the local people noticed they took no interest in the livestock sale and were passing signals to each other. At 10am the Protestant farmers found themselves surrounded by the Catholic strangers. At the peep of a whistle the Catholics attacked and Protestant blood ran down the streets for up to half an hour. By 10.30am all the Protestants had been driven from the fair. They rallied and with reunforcements they returned to the fair some four hours later. The tables were turned on the strangers and they were driven out of the area.

Things went from bad to worse following this clash. Up to 50 Defenders were arrested and several Peep O'Day Boys were also picked up. The authorities wanted to revoke the licence of Dan Winter's pub but no action was taken. It was now inevitable that the Defenders would attack.

On the 14th September 1795 a large number of Defenders started to gather in Tartaraghan, the parish to the north of the Diamond, within days they had taken control of a gravel pit at Annaghmore and hoisted a white flag with a border of shamrocks and a banner showing the Virgin Mary with the inscription: "Deliver us from these heretic dogs and set us free." They were led by the self styled "Captain" Quigley, a Roman Catholic priest. Their numbers continued to increase with Defenders flocking in from Cavan, Monaghan and Louth.

The local Protestant population was scarried and quickly the menfolk started to gather together to defend their homes. The Orange Boys came, as did other Protestant groups, and they all took up position on Cranagill Hill opposing the Defenders across the townland of Teagy. On this day the first clash took place in Teagy with the Defenders coming off second best and one of their number being killed.

The gathering of such large numbers worried the local authorities who came together in the home of Joseph Atkinson, a Justice of the Peace, and they were joined by three Catholic priest who tried to broker a peace between the two sides. On the 19th September 1795 a treaty was signed and both groups began to withdraw. However soon after fresh Defender arrived on the scene and urged the treaty be broken and the Protestants forced out of the area. They started to gather on Faughart Hill overlooking the Diamond and started firing on the Protestant homes below.

The Protestants and Orange Boys regrouped and occupied Diamond Hill. Firing started between the two groups and then died off. The 20th September was a Sunday and all was quiet. The Defenders took the opportunity to change leaders and "Captain" Quigley was replaced with a "Captain" McGarry.

Just before dawn on Monday 21st September 1795 the Defenders lanched an attack on Dan Winter's pub. Dan had barricaded the building and with his sons returned fire through loopholes in the windows. For over an hour they kept the Defenders at bay, but by sheer weight of numbers the Defenders pressed on and set fire to the thatched roof of the pub. Within minutes the building was an inferno. There was no back door so Dan and his sons had to squeeze out through narrow windows and escaped uphill through an orchard to the safety of James Wilson's Orange Boys lines.

Meanwhile Quigley and his men rushed up the Diamond Hill to attack the Protestants but were beaten back with heavy loses. William Blacker, a 18 year old son of a Minister from Portadown, and other arrived with supplies for the relief of the Protestants including lead balls which Blacker made with a young carpenter called Macan from lead they striped from his father's church roof.

The pub was now a smoking ruin and the Defenders set about looting the contents including barrels of beer, sacks of flour, tea and sugar. They took down the signboard and smashed it to pieces to frenzied cheering. The action was nearly over. They Defenders under the command of Quigley had already been beaten and fled. Following their looting the Defenders followed up the hill to search for and kill the Winters. At the brow the Winters, local Protestants, and James Wilson with his Orange Boys lay low behind a blacktorn hedge. They were drawn up in ranks of two ready to fire on the advancing Defenders.

As they made their way up the slope James Wilson instructed the others: "Wait until you see the whites of their eyes." The first recorded use of the phrase. They held off until the Defenders where almost on top of them before rising up and letting loose. One volley of fire quickly followed another and the Defender toppled like nine pins. This was followed by a downhill bayont charge which overwhelmed the Defenders who were still advancing. Very many lay died and many more were wounded, the other fled in all directions. William Blacker later recalled:

"The affair was of brief duration. The Defenders, completely entrapped, made off, leaving a number killed and wounded on the spot. The exact number who fell in the occurrance, I have never been able to ascertain; from those who I saw carried off in cars that day and from the bodies found afterwards by reapers in the cornfields along the line of flight, I am inclined to think that not less than around thirty lost their lives."

The Protestant victory was total and complete. They lost on men and only a few were wounded. They had driving off the Defenders and stopped their plan to remove Protestants from the area.

There was still fear in the local area about more attacks from Catholics. With this in mind the men met in a field across the road from the ruins of Dan Winter's pub. There they joined hands around a small bush and vowed a solemn oath to form a greater Brotherhood for the mutual protection of Protestants from the sectarian Defender mobs.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

Before the Beginning Part 3 - 18th Century Ireland's Sectarian Strife


Since 1690 the 4th November, King William III's birthday, was annually celebrated in Dublin. In 1701 the City Council decided to commission a huge equestrain statue to stand in College Green. On 1st July 1702 the tour de force was unveiled with great ceremony. It was an excellent work (picture here on the left) in bronze and marble which showed King William, as was the style of the time for statues of great men, dressed as a Roman general with a laural wreath upon his head mounted on a prancing horse. The enscription on a white tablet upon the high marble pedestal read:

"Guielmo Tertio
Magnae Britanniae, Franciae, et Hiberniae Regi.
Ob Religonem Conservatom, Restitutas Legas,
Libertatem Assertam."
(William, Third of Great Britian, France and Ireland, King. Preserver of Religion, Restorer of Laws, Upholder of Liberty.)

However not everyone in city was so respectful of the King. in 1710 three students from Trinity College covered the statue in mud and stole the truncheon from the King's hand. Two of them were arrested and expelled from the College, they were also made to stand in front of the statue with signs hung around their necks stating the crime they had committed. Attacks on the statue continued sometimes it was covered in paint, sometimes it was covered in excrement. Other times scarecrow like figures representing James II or the Pope would be placed seated behind the King on his horse. In 1929 it was damaged by an IRA bomb attack. The southern government refused a request from the Northern Irish government to ship the statue to Belfast, and instead had it removed to a builders yard. It was here later the same year that the vandels completed their work by sawing off the King's head.

At the site of the Battle of the Boyne a huge obelisk was erected in 1736. The obelisk was built on a rock some ten meters high and soared up another 30 meters, being just a few meters short of the height of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. It's inscription read:

"Sacred to the memory of King William the Third, who on 1st July 1690, crossed the Boyne near this place to attack James the Second at the head of a popish army advantageously posted to the south of it, and did on that day, by a successful battle, secure us and our posterity our liberty, laws and religion. In consequence of this action James the Second left this kingdom and fled to France. This memorial to our deliverance was erected in the ninth year of the reign of King George the Second, the first stone laid by Lionel Sackville, Duke of Dorset, Lord Lieutenant of the Kingdom of Ireland MDCC XXXVI.

In perfectuam rei tam fortiter quam feliciter gartae memoriam, hic publicae gratitudinis monumenti. Fundamen manibus ipse suis posuit Lionellus Dux Dorsetiae 17 die Aprilis, Anno 1736.

This momument was erected by the contributions of several Protestants of Great Britain and Ireland.

Meinhard, Duke of Schomberg, in passing this river died bravely in defence of liberty."

The monument stood until the IRA blew it up in 1923 with three powerful landmines.

All over Ireland people gathered together in celebration of the Williamite wars. On the 1st July each year the people of Bandon, County Cork, came together to parade in the streets of the town behind a fife and drum band. There was also a Divine Service of thanksgiving and the centrepiece to the day's events was a "sham fight" on the Fair Green. An orange coated William accompanied by the Duke of Schomberg would come together with the green attired James and Patrick Sarsfield. Although the result was not recorded one can safely assume who won the fight each year! The tradition of the sham fight died out in Bandon but continues to the present day on the 13th July annually in the County Armagh village of Scarva.

The first Orange society formed in Ireland was called The Aldermen of Skinners Alley. This body was more or less a drinking club formed by Protestant aldermen of Dublin city council who were dismissed by James and reinstated by King William. They were well known for their often wild drink toasts. One of the milder went like this:

"To the glorious, pious and immortal memory of the great and good King William, not forgetting Oliver Cromwell, who assisted in redeeming us from popery, slavery, arbitrary power, brass money and wooden shoes. May we never want for a Williamite to kick the arse of a Jacobite! And a **** for the Bishops of Cork! And all who drink this, whether he be priest or bishop, deacon, bellows-blower, grave digger or any other of the fraternity of the clergy, may a north wind blow him to the south, and a west wind blow him to the east, may he never have a dark night, a lee shore, a rank storm and a leaky vessel to carry him over the River Styx. May the dog cerberus make a meal of his rump and pluto a snuff box of his skull, and may the devil jump down his throat with a red hot harrow, and with every pin tear out his gut and blow him with a clean carcass to hell! Amen."

It is believed the reference to the Bishops of Cork was in reply to the Very Rev Peter Brown who had written a pious tract attacking the custom of toasting King William as a "silly old popish practice". The Aldermen of Skinners Alley for over one hundred years.

Men who had served under King William during the Williamite wars were also starting to come together in the 18th century to form old comrade associations to commemorate the Williamite victories. These small bodies started to come together under the banner of a governing body formed in Enniskillen, it was said, as early as 1690, it was called the Boyne Society. This was a semi-secret organisation and was also known by the names the Royal Boyne Society, the Orange Boyne Society and the Royal Orange Boyne Society.

By 1725 this had developed into a Freemason type society. There were secret signs, symbols, passwords and rituals. These were mainly to do with Williamite war inncidents. The sign for mutual recognition was for one member to place his left hand on his right shoulder, the spot where King William was wounded at the Boyne, with the second member replying by placing his right arm across the lower stomach, where King William held his arm as he went into battle.

There were also different grades of membership. The first was open to general members and they were called "Boynemen". The second was for the sellect few, membership kept to noblemen or gentry, and they were called "The Knights of the Most Glorious Order of the Boyne".

During the mid 1700's gangs of Catholic "Rapparees" started to attack Protestant settlements throughout Ireland. The Boyne Society at this time seems to have taken on a protective role and defended local Protestants aganist attack. It is unsure when the Boyne Society died out in Ireland but one school of thought has the Boynemen joining the Orange Order when it was formed later in the 18th century.

The scene was well and truely set for an outbreak of bloody sectarian violence within Ulster and a new body was to come to the fore in defence of Protestant people.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

Before the Beginning Part 2 - The Williamite Wars in Ireland 1688 - 1691

Just after his accesion to the throne King James II had elevated Richard Talbot, a Roman Catholic politician, to the newly created Earl of Tyrconnell. He was appointed the Lieutenant General of the army in Ireland and he quickly set about getting rid of Protestant officers and replacing them with Roman Catholics. This also happened in other branches of the Irish administration with Protestants dismissed and Roman Catholics replacing them as judges, on corporations and even in seats on the Privy Council.

By Januuary 1687 it was known that the Earl of Tyrconnell was to become the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He moved to strengthen the Irish army recruiting a great number of Roman Catholics until the numbers approached 40,000 men. These new recruits had an abiding hatred for their Protestant neighbours.

For the Irish Protestants a great alarm spread throughout the land. They remembered the Irish rebellion of the 1640's and it's wholesale sectarian slaughter of Protestant settlers all to well, and faced with Tyrconnell's army they feared the worst again.

When the word came to Ireland of that James had been overthrown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 there was great excitement. The Protestants declared for William of Orange immediately. The country was awash with rumour. The northern Province of Ulster was the stronghold of the Protestant Irish and Williamites. It was here on a street in the County Down town of Comber a semi-literate letter was found on the 3rd December. It was addressed to Lord Mountalexander, a leading Williamite, and read:

"To my Lord, this deliver with haste and care.
Good my Lord,
I have written to you, to let you know that all Irishmen through Ireland is sworn, that on the ninth of this month they are to fall on, to kill and murder, man, wife and child, and I desire your Lordship to take care of yourself and all others that are judged by our men to be heads, for whosoever of them can kill any of you, they are to have a Captain's place. So my desire to your honour is to look to yourself, and give other noblemen warning, and go not out either night or day without a good guard on you, and let no Irishman near you, whatsoever he be. So that is all from him who was your father's friend, and is your friend, and will be, through I dare not be known as yet, for fear of my life."

The letter may or may not have been a hoax but it set in motion as series of events which would change the course of Irish history forever, beginning with the fleeing of a large number of Protestants to the protection of the walled city of Londonderry.

Meanwhile elsewhere Williamites had attacked Jacobites, the followers of James, at Bandon in West County Cork and at Carrickfergus Castle in County Antrim. The Earl of Tyrconnell sent a Jacobite force into Ulster under the command of a former Williamite who turned his coat Richard Hamilton.

The Jacobites defeated the Ulster Williamites at the village of Dromore and sacked every village and town before them chasing the fleeing Protestants ever north. By April 1689 Hamilton's force with outside the city walls of Londonderry under besieged by Jacobite troops.

The Siege of Derry

In December 1688 Tyrconnell sent the Earl of Antrim with a force of 1,200 Roman Catholic troops to replace the Protestant garrison of Londonderry in north west Ulster. The city had found itself home to many thousands of fearful Protestants who had fled there for protection behind the walls from the Jacobites. On 16th December 1688 Antrim's troops stopped for the night at Limavady en-route to Londonderry. The town's proprietor was greatly alarmed by the poor behaviour of the Jacobite troops and sent a rider to Londonderry to set out the danger of admitting these troops.

When the rider arrived at the city he found the people listening to the Comber Letter being read from the steps of the market house. When he reported his news the crowd froze people believed they would be massacred by the Jacobite troops just as the letter had said. The leading citizens went into consultation on what action the city should take.

Not long after an advance party of Jacobites arrived on the east bank of the River Foyle. Two of them rowed across to the city with a warrent for reception of Antrim's troops. However the warrent was unsigned and the Londonderry citizens played for time. During their further consultation more Jacobites arrived on the east bank and crossed the river. They headed for the city gates to enter. It was at this critical moment 13 apprentice boys tired of the consultations, led by Henry Campsie, drew their swords, grabbed the key of the Ferryquay gate, and slammed the heavy gate closed in the faces of the advancing Jacobites thereafter they secured all the gates entering the city.

The siege went on with the Protestant people inside the city enduring terrible conditions, with little to eat, illness all around, and under fire from the Jacobites outside. The city send a message to King William in London appealing for help and two English colonels and two regiments had arrived in Lough Foyle with orders to seek out the governor of Londonderry and act on his word.

The governor of the city at this time was Robert Lundy he told the colonels that there was little hope of the city and they should return to London. He drew up plans for surrending the city to the Jacobites. When the people in the city heard of the plans there was uproar and Lundy was deposed as governor. The people chose two new governor, Major Henry Baker and the Reverend George Walker, and Lundy fled under the cover of darkness, dressed as a porter with a bunch of sticks on his back, over the city's walls and into history.

James, who had landed in Ireland on 12th March 1689, had put himself at the head of the Irish army and was on his way to Londonderry to force the city to heel. He arrived at Londonderry and placed himself on horse back before the city walls. It was his belief that the very site of him would cause the defenders of the city to break the siege themselves. He had a shell with a list of demands for surrender fired into the city and called on the people inside to read them, accept it, and open the gates. The city folk came to the walls and stood facing the Jacobites before answering the demand with a great shout of "No Surrender!"

James was astonished and, after retreating from the range of firing from the city walls, sat all day in the rain upon his horse staring at Londonderry. He left the next day never to return giving orders that the city was to be taken by force. That however never happened with the Jacobite troops being repulsed from the walls on every occasion.

The garrison of Londonderry watched from the walls for relief as the siege continued. Food was little and people were dying of hunger and illness. On 11th June 1689 ships from a relief fleet send by King William arrived on Lough Foyle by none would try and reach the city due to a boom the Jacobites had strung across the Foyle.

However after orders from King William himself the ships Mountjoy and Phoenix rushed forward and broke the boom to reach and relief Londonderry on 28th July 1689. On 1st August 1689 with the prospect of facing fresh Williamite troops the Jacobites lifted the siege on Londonderry and marched off towards Strabane.

The maiden city was a maiden still. Londonderry had not surrendered.

The Battle of the Boyne

A Williamite force had been in Ireland since the Duke of Schomberg, a former Marshal of France and soldier of great skill and honour now in his 70's, had landed 10,000 men at Groomsport in County Down on 16th August 1688. The Williamites displaced the Jacobite garrison of Carrickfergus Castle and advanced to hold a line from Newry to the County Down coast. However the Williamites and the Jacobites did not engage and King William himself decided to come to Ireland to take command of his army.

King William landed at Carrickfergus on the County Antrim side of Belfast Lough in the afternoon of 14th June 1690. He had with him 15,000 troops and heavy field artillery. He mounted the steps from the water's edge and walked onto a red carpet. The town's chief citizens drew up to welcome him and the formal address was given my an local Quaker. He religious belief deterred him from doffing his hat or using royal titles so he came forward bare-headed and said: "William, thou art welcome to thy Kingdom." King William was clearly delighted with this quaint address and replied cheerfully: "You are the best bred gentleman which I have met since I have come hither." With that King William mounted and set off for Belfast.

Belfast was a mere town in those days with only three notable buildings Belfast Castle (standing on the site of the present day Castle Junction), an Anglican Church (standing at the present site of St George's church in High Street) and a Presbyterian meeting house in Rosemary Street. All of the 2,000 people who lived in the town turned out to greet King William and welcome him to their place.

On 19th June 1690 King William and his troops left Belfast marching south towards the Jacobite army in County Louth. By the 25th June King William's army was at Newry. The Jacobites retired southwards across the River Boyne where James decided they would defend the south bank aganist the Williamites.

On 30th June the Williamite force marched over the hills on the northern bank of the Boyne and set up camp facing the Jacobites across the river. King William surveyed the countryside from Tullesker Hill outside Drogheda town, he remarked: "Gentlemen, this is a country well worth fighting for." That night a troop of Williamites found 200 old scythes in a farmhouse nearby and brought them to King William for inspection. William eyed them thoughtfully for a moment then, winking knowingly to General Ginkel, said dryly: "These are very dangerous weapons."

On the eve of the battle King William and his commanders rode down to the banks of the Boyne to inspect the river crossing. While King William sat on the ground making plans he was spotted by the Jacobite who brought up a cannon and fired twice on him. The first ball killed two horses and a soldier nearby to William the second grazed the river bank, rose and struck King William on the right shoulder, tearing his coat and his flesh. The Jacobites rejoiced thinking they had killed William however it was soon clear the wound was slight and the King himself made little of it saying: "T'houbt niet naeder" (it need not have come nearer).

King William drew up his battle plan the Williamites would attack across the river in three sectors. Firstly Count Schomberg, the Duke's son, would take 13,000 troops across the Boyne on the right sector at Slane and Rosnaree. Next the Duke of Schomberg would take the bulk of the army cross the centre sector at Oldbridge and King William would himself lead the mounted troops across the river to the left.

Before dawn on 1st July 1690 Count Schomberg led his men up river towards his crossing point. At Rosnaree he found the crossing stubbornly protected by Jacobite troops under the command of Sir Neil O'Neill. With sheer weight of numbers the Williamites forced their way onto the opposing river bank. O'Neill was mortally wounded and his men broke ranks and fled towards the willage of Dunleek.

At 10am the Duke of Schomberg gave the word for the Williamite troops in the centre sector to advance into the river. The crack Dutch Blue Guards waded across with their rifles held above their heads to keep their gunpowder dry. They came under heavy fire from the Jacobites but soon established a foothold on the southern Boyne bank. The Huguenots, French Protestants, followed crossing a few hundred yards down river. Next came the Ulster Protestants, then the Danes, and then the English troops. James ordered his cavalry into action. The Williamite troop formed "hollow squares" and kept the Jacobite horse away.

However the horse did take a terrible toll on the Huguenots. The Duke of Schomberg, seeing this, rushed across the river on horseback to railly the French troop. He pointed his swords at the Jacobites and shouted: "Allons, messieurs, voila vos persecuteurs" (Come on gentlemen, these are your persecutors). In the melee the Duke was stuck in the neck by a Jacobite sabre and hit in the windpipe with a stray musketball. He died soon after. The Huguenots were maddened with the Duke's death and roared: "Tue!, tue!, tue!" (Kill!, kill!, kill!). They beat back the Jacobite horse and recovered Duke's body before carrying it back across the Boyne. The Rev George Walker of Londonderry was killed soon after the Duke in action with the Ulster troops.

At Drybridge on the left of the battlefield King William led the Williamite cavalry across the Boyne. His horse bacame stuck in the mud halfway and had to be dragged out, the strain on King William brought on an asthma attack and he had to lie down on the river bank and recover. Once he was back in the saddle he led a number of charges on the Jacobites.

By mid afternoon the writing was on the wall for the Jacobites and James commanded a retreat towards Dublin. The Williamites pursued the Jacobites for six miles before coming to a halt. The Battle of the Boyne was over and it was a great Williamite victory.

It should be mentioned that King William acted with conspicous courage being underfire many times. His heel was shot off his boot by a musket ball, another smashed one of his pistols. Fate stepped in again when an Enniskillen Williamite became mistaken and raised his pistol to fire upon the King. William defused the situation by having the presence of mind to quickly say: "What, are you angry with your friends?"

The Battle of Aughrim

James fled Ireland in the week after the defeat at the Boyne and King William entered Dublin in victory on 6th July 1690. In early September 1690 King William himself left Ireland never to return and left General Ginkel in overall command of the Williamite Army. Following engagements at Limerick and Athlone the final pitched battle of the Williamite war in Ireland came on the 12th July 1691 at Aughrim in County Galway.

The Jacobite commander was a Roman Catholic bigot called General St Ruth. His army took up a position atop a hill overlooking boggy ground. General Ginkel again drew up his troops in three sectors, the Duke of Wurttemburg was given the left wing, General Hugh Mackay was given the centre, and the Huguenot Ruvigny the right.

First the Danes attacked through the centre, they were driven back. The English tried again with the same result. The Danes tried again at 5pm to outflank the Jacobites but their fire made the Danes withdraw. The Huguenots attacked on the right but could not find a way through. However Ginkel kept up pressure on the Jacobite right and St Ruth withdrew forces from his centre and left to help with the troops on the right.

At this time the English horse under Ruvigny's command rushed through the Jacobite lines and behind their troops. St Ruth, on seeing this, decided to led a charge himself when he rushed forwards an Williamite cannon ball carried off his head.

The death of it's commander paralysed the Jacobite army and a rout followed. The Williamite cavalry did terrible damage to the rear of the Jacobite lines and the Williamite troops caused fearful trouble among the Jacobite forces.

What was left of the Jacobite forces retired to Limerick were after a siege and a short engagement they surrendered to the Williamite forces. General Ginkel was rewarded and became the Baron of Aughrim and Earl of Athlone.

In 1694 Queen Mary II died aged 33 years. William was heart-broken. He himself was not in good health and by 1701 was having trouble riding. On 21st February 1702 King William was cantering on his favourite horse Sorrel when it stumbled on a molehill and threw him. The King broke his collarbone and was in great pain. For a while it seemed his health was improving but on 4th March 1702 he took a turn for the worse an developed a high fever. Doctors were called but they could do little to improve him.On 8th March 1702 it was clear the King was dying. Soon after King William spoke his last words: "Je tire vers ma fin" (I draw towards my end). He died shortly after 8pm.

With victory in Ireland King William won fame and honour among his Irish Protestant subjects and it was soon that societies were being formed to protect the memory of the great victories of the Williamite Wars.

 

Before the Beginning Part 1 - Orangeism Gets it's King


The Loyal Orange Institution was founded in 1795 in Loughgall, County Armagh Ireland, in the aftermath of the Battle of the Diamond. However before we can look into the history of the organisation itself we must look back over one hundred years in history.

On the 23rd April 1685 James, son of King Charles I, succeeded his brother Charles II as King of England, Scotland and Ireland.

King James II was a Roman Catholic and set about appointing Roman Catholics to key positions in his government and the army. He dismissed Henry Compton from his position of Bishop of London and also serveral other Protestants from their political offices.

In April 1688 King James went a step too far. He issued the Declaration of Indulgence, ordering all Anglican ministers to read it in their churches. The Archbishop of Canterbury and six other Bishops signed a petition requesting a reconsideration of the King's religious policies and were arrested and put on trial for seditious libel. The charge could not be made to stick and on the 30th June 1688 they were acquitted.

On the very same day a group of Protestant noblemen, known to us in history as the Immortal Seven, called to William Prince of Orange, husband of James' Protestant daughter Mary, to come to England and assume the Crown for it was the will of the majority of James' subjects.

By September it was clear that William was going to accept the invitation and on 5th November 1688 at Brixham in south-west England at the head of an army of almost 15,000 men. When he came ashore he made his first immortal statement: "The Liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain".

On the march to London all of the Protestant officers and many of the men of James' army defected to William's force and Princess Anne, James other daughter, also joined William and his wife Mary. By December the writing was on the wall for King James and he attempted to flee on 11th December. He was caught by fishermen in Kent and returned to London. However William let him flee again on the 23rd December 1688.

William called a sitting of the Convention Parliament and on 12th February 1689 it declaired James' attempt to flee on 11th December an abdication and that the throne was vacant. The Crown was offered joinly to William and Mary. At Westminster Abbey on 11th April 1689 the coronation was performed and the couple became King William III and Queen Mary II.

Thus the Glorious Revolution which started on the 30th June 1688 was completed.

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