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The Plight of the Arches


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Review of 2017


Lodge History


The Orange Order


The Making of Two Cd's


Roll Of Past Masters


Blast From The Past



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In 1795 following the culmination of attacks on Protestants in County Armagh at the Battle of the Diamond, in which Protestants routed those who had attacked them and attempted to burn properties, it was decided to form an organisation which would protect Protestants. This body, drawing on existing Clubs in the neighbourhood, was named the Loyal Orange Institution.

Present at the first meeting of Orangemen were James Wilson, of the Dyan, Thomas Sinclair, of Derryscallop, and James Sloan, the Loughgall Inn Keeper at whose house they were held. Sloan was evidently regarded as the first leader.

At the beginning the membership was of the laboring and artisan classes. Only a few of the gentry joined among them Viscount Northland of Dungannon. The small number of professional men were represented by Joseph Athinson, the Rev George Maunsell, Curate of Drumcree in 1781 - 1804, the Rev George Marshall, Rector of Dromore, Co Tyrone, Captain Clarke, Summer Island, Mr Brownlow, Lurgan, and Major Warring , of Warringstown. The Verrons, of Church Hill, also became members.

The Institution grew so rapidly that District and County Lodges were formed. The several Counties had their own rules and soon the need was recognized that there should be uniformity of practice and with this in mind a delegates meeting was held on 12 July, 1796 at Portadown when the idea of a Grand Lodge was first mooted.

The Grand Master Edward Stevenson laying a wreath on Armistice Day 11/11/2011, watched by other senior Grand Lodge Officers outside Orange Headquarters Schomberg House, Belfast.

The first Orange Parades were held on 12 July, 1796 at Portadown, Lurgan and Warringstown. By 1798 large parades were held at Belfast, Lisburn and Lurgan where General Officer Commanding in Ulster, Lieutenant-General Lake, inspected the parade.

From 1815, the Institution had been seriously affected by internal disputes. Many of them were about Lodge ritual and the attempts to form higher orders. It was to stay in the doldrums until an Orange Order revival was brought about by the agragnan troubles of the 1820's the resurgence of the O'Connell movement and a new vice-regal administration with questionable aims in so far as Orangeism was concerned.

In January 1820 the Orange central leadership was strengthened by having the Grand Lodge meet twice a year in February and August, and a committee was appointed to take care of the affairs of the Institution between meetings. The first International Orange Conference was held in the Belfast Orange Hall on 18 July 1866, in response to the suggestion from Canada where Orangeism was now very strong, and where they say Bro Sir John Macdonald got the notion of the Conference of Canada from the organisation of the Grand Lodge of British America, the Orangemen of the World came together then to provide a means of consultation in the new Imperial Grand Orange Council.

The first Orange Lodges in Scotland were formed in Ayrshire and the movement has spread rapidly with Lodges now operating across the Country. It is very much part of Scottish life as reflected in the massive parade in Cumnock in 1998 commemorating 200 years of Orangeism in that Country.

In England soldiers brought the Institution into Manchester in the first instance. Within a few short years the Institution in England not only spread through the Country but enjoyed Royal Patronage.

Canada is probably the best example outside the British Iles of how Orangeism became part of a way of life. It is undoubtedly in Canada that we find the greatest ethnic mix. The structure of Government in Canada is said to be based on the Orange model of Lodge, District, County and Grand Lodge.

United States of America
Orangeism was brought to the United States of America by Irish Immigrants in the early years of the 1900 century and was largely confined to Eastern and Western seaports. There were difficulties for some in relevance of an Organisation committed to Civil and Religious Liberty in what is considered to be the World's Greatest Democracy and whose Constitution actually provides such freedom. However the Institution persisted and today we can actually witness a dramatic growth in membership and interest.

Orangeism was introduced to Australia in 1839 through a warrant sown into the tunic of a soldier, Andrew Alexander of the 50th Queen's Own Regiment. In 1845 this Lodge admitted the first Civilians into its ranks and began the development of the Institution across Australia. Today we have Lodges in all the States of that great Country.

New Zealand
It was through immigration that the Orange Institution was introduced to New Zealand in the 1840's and by the 1870's it had grown to such an extent that the Grand Lodge in New Zealand was the first Orange Jurisdiction in the Southern Hemisphere to host the World Governing Body the Imperial Orange Council when it met in Auckland in 1994.

The Orange Institution was probably into West Africa through a combination of military personnel and missionaries. The first Lodges were formed in Nigeria at the beginning of last century from there it spread into Togo and Ghana.

The political situation in West Africa has meant many difficulties for our Members there but they have persevered and ultimate recognition came in 1994 when the first African (and coincidentally the first French speaker) Emmanuel Aboki Essien was elected Imperial President of the Imperial Council.

In each of the Countries mentioned the Orange Institution is relevant to the people of that Country and is not an Organisation for displaced Ulster or Irish men and woman.