How much do you know about the Orange Order?
Here are 25 facts you might not know:
1 The order was founded in 1795 by Daniel Winter, James Sloan and James Wilson after a dispute in Co Armagh between Protestant Peep o’ Day Boys and Catholic defenders ended in the Battle of the Diamond and the deaths of 30 Catholics. Dan Winter’s house near Loughgall, where the meeting to found the Orange Order was held after the battle as Protestants tried to protect their property, has been restored and is open to the public.
2 The order takes its name from the Protestant King William of Orange, who defeated the Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. Orange refers to the region of southeastern France that was part of Wilhelm’s family estate.
3 The first Marches of the Orange Order took place on 12th July 1796 at Gosford, outside Markethill, Co. Armagh.
4 William of Orange was asthmatic, and although he wasn’t a hunchback, he looked like one when he walked.
5 On February 20, 1702, William rode Sorrel, a new horse, in the park at Hampton Court. As the horse began to gallop, it tripped over a molehill and fell, throwing William, who broke his collarbone, with ultimately fatal consequences. A jolt in a carriage a few days later broke the bone again. Fever set in and he died on March 8th.
6 King Billy’s horse at the Battle of the Boyne was not white as it is famously portrayed, it was brown. A white horse would have made him an easy target.
7 William was one of the first to use mass media. He came to England in 1688, armed with a printing press, at the invitation of British politicians trying to rid the nation of Catholic King James II, and produced 60,000 copies of his declaration, which criticized the king and tried to persuade the English that he a friend was less likely to be an intruder.
8 The name Lambeg Drum literally means ‘little church drum’, quite inappropriate for one of the largest and loudest instruments in the world.
9 William’s father (William II, Prince of Orange) died two weeks before his birth and his mother (Mary, eldest daughter of King Charles I of England) when he was 10 years old.
10 Malahide Castle near Dublin is the ancestral seat of the Talbot family. You can still visit the Great Hall where 14 members of the Talbot family sat down to breakfast on the morning of July 12, 1690. Everyone was dead that night.
11 An estimated 50,000 took part in the Battle of the Boyne. Surprisingly, most survived, with the casualty list estimated at around 2,000 dead. The fighting lasted about four hours.
12 William of Orange was son-in-law and nephew of King James II, whom he defeated at the Battle of the Boyne. The fight was intended to prevent James from handing power in Ireland to the Catholics. Most of William’s army was made up of militias of Dutch and Danish nationality, and they had landed at Carrickfergus before moving south. An ally of France, James II was warned by King Louis XIV not to face William’s army and instead burn Dublin and retreat west of the River Shannon and hold his ground there to regroup. He refused. He lost.
13 William of Orange narrowly escaped at the Boyne. He was almost killed when (according to legend) was struck in the foot and shoulder by ricocheting cannon fire on July 11 while enjoying a picnic and overlooking the battlefield. He was also nearly hit by musket fire during the battle from one of his own soldiers during the turmoil of the battle.
14 While the Battle of the Boyne was won by William of Orange, he did not win the war. This did not come to a decisive conclusion until exactly one year later in Aughrim on July 12, 1691.
15 The original July 12 commemorations were intended to honor the Battle of Aughrim, not the Battle of the Boyne.
16 The Battle of the Boyne, according to the old Julian calendar then in use in Ireland, actually took place on July 1st. It was not until 1752 that the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Ireland, when the date of 12 July became relevant. But even after that date, The Twelfth continued to be celebrated in Aughrim. In fact, 1690 and the Boyne only gained prominence in the late 18th century, when the two battles were combined into a single commemoration.
17 In the 1960s the Orange Order had almost 100,000 members. Today there are fewer than 30,000.
18 The first meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ireland took place in Dublin. Dublin, as the island’s administrative capital, was the Orange Institution’s natural headquarters and remained so until the headquarters buildings, Fowler Memorial Hall in Rutland Square, were severely damaged in the Irish Civil War.
19 William’s wife, Queen Mary, had been devoted to him and he to her. After the shock of her unexpected death in 1694, William became very withdrawn. After her death, he always carried with him a gold ring and a lock of Mary’s hair. William was buried next to Mary in Westminster Abbey on Sunday 12 April.
20 New Zealand’s first Orange Lodge was founded in Auckland in 1842, just two years after the country became part of the British Empire, by James Carlton Hill of Co Wicklow.
21 Ghana, Nigeria and Togo are among the African countries that have adopted the organism. All have their own Orange Lodges.
22 stalls in the “field” sell all kinds of goods such as toy drums, band music CDs, mugs and printed t-shirts. Only recently have some entrepreneurs been more inventive. Nowadays you can train Lego Orangemen and Terry’s Chocolate Orangemen.
23 The headquarters of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland is at Schomberg House – named after Frederick Schomberg (originally Friedrich Hermann von Schönberg), who was appointed Commander-in-Chief of William of Orange in Ireland in 1689, now Duke of Schomberg, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in Ireland. Struck by musket fire, he died at the Battle of the Boyne and is buried in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
24 The River Boyne just scratches the top ten longest rivers in Ireland. It is tenth on the list at 112 km. The longest is the Shannon (360 km). The Foyle, the Ban and the Erne are all longer.
The 25 famous Orangemen included Dr. Thomas Barnardo, who joined the Order in Dublin, William Massey, who was Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Earl Alexander, the Second World War general.
https://www.independent.ie/news/25-facts-about-the-orange-order-ahead-of-the-twelfth-of-july-celebrations-41832733.html 25 facts about the Orange Order ahead of the July 12th celebrations