Category Archives: Bygone Days of Yore: At Home in the Orange Citadel

Twelfth of July 1934: Last Twelfth for District Secretary James Dermott

Twelfth of July 1934: Last Twelfth for District Secretary James Dermott

Twelfth of July 1934: Portadown

Eleventh Night


“The night before and the Twelfth in Portadown is always one to be remembered for weeks afterwards and this year’s Twelfth was no exception”.


On the 1st July, Edenderry had held its usual Bonfire which always gathered a large crowd.  On the Eleventh night there was the main large bonfires at Edgarstown and Parkmount.  The community had spent weeks building them and they were the main attraction of the night.


Earlier in the evening, the local streets lit their bonfires in celebration before making their way to the bigger ones.  The local street bonfires were the highlight of the year for many of the local children.  They spent days before going out and gathering the old tree stumps and branches and the adults made sure the turf was there to help with the building efforts.


In 1934, there was street bonfires recorded at Mandeville Square, Alexandra Gardens, Fowlers Entry, North Street, David Street, Jervis Street, Mary Street, Wilson Street, Hanover Street, Ormonde Street, Mourneview Street, Meadow Lane and Clounagh.  There were many more, but the streets have not been recorded.


“Around the Edgarstown Bonfire the older generation reminisced about the barrel beacons that used to be set alight at Lisavague Hill and Whitesides Hill about thirty years ago before the Labourer’s Cottages were built.  You could see them for miles and miles around, they were the signal to start the celebrations”.




Some Country Lodges worked hard on Arches for the big day with the ‘young Stothers brothers who constructed an arch for Kilmore’.  The Arch at Mullantine was also described as an ‘attractive one’.


Some Country Lodges; Drummnahuncheon, Ballyworkan and Brackagh paraded to Carleton Street that morning via South Street to “salute the beautiful arch, which was unveiled a year ago”.  Craigwell Avenue also had ‘a splendid arch and was very well dressed with bunting’.


The Procession


The Procession to the railway station on the Twelfth morning was the biggest on record.  The Celebrations were held in Armagh.


“The scene in Carleton Street, where thirty banners and bannerettes and thirty Lodges, with a number of bands, was one that was at once striking and colourful”.


Under the guidance of Brothers James Dermott, County Grand Secretary and District Secretary, and District Assistant Secretary D Best, the procession was “marshalled to time and the procession down the street was watched by thousands of townspeople and others, who lined each side of the street from Carleton Street to the station”.


Brother James Dermott (County Grand Secretary and District Secretary) dressed as King William “wore his striking rosette in his hat, had his sword at his side, and wearing his spurs, was astride his horse, attended by his two aide-de-camps”.  Sadly, this would be Brother Dermott’s last twelfth as he died suddenly in the November of 1934.


The other officers leading included; Worshipful District Master Major David Graham Shillington, Brother David Rock District Assistant Secretary, Brother Doctor George Dougan District Treasurer and Deputy District Master Brother David Moore.


On the way to Armagh

The procession was headed by St Mark’s Old Boys Band.  Other bands present included; Thomas Street Old Boys Silver Band, Conn’s Hill Melodeon Band, Portadown and Battlehill Pipe Bands, Colonel Saunderson Memorial Band, Portadown Christian Accordion Band and Seagoe Church Lads Brigade Pipe Band.


The procession stopped at the War Memorial, where District Master David Graham Shillington, on behalf of the District Lodges, laid a wreath in remembrance.  David Graham Shillington had lost his nephew, Geoffrey Shillington Cather VC and his son, Tom Shillington in the Great War.


David Graham Shillington


The procession ‘formed up’ in Armagh and made the two-mile walk to the field situated on the Tandragee Road. The procession gathered at the platform for the service which was led by County Grand Master Sir William Allen.


They made their way back to the station. Once in Portadown, the parade returned to Carleton Street, before the Lodges dispersed for their evening dinners.


Remembering Brother James Dermott

The 1934 Twelfth was sadly the last for popular County and District Secretary Brother James Dermott.  He died suddenly four months later in November 1934.


“Orangeism in County Armagh and particularly Portadown, has suffered an irreplaceable loss by the sudden passing of Brother James Dermott, at his residence, Tea Tree Cottage, Brackagh”.


He was a member of Rehab’s True Blues LOL 89 for around twenty-five years, where he also held the office of Secretary.  In 1925, on the death of the late WDM Brother W H Wright, he was elected County Grand Treasurer and later County Grand Secretary in 1929.  He was also Portadown District Secretary from 1925.  James Dermott was also a proud Sir Knight and held the office of Treasurer in the County Grand Royal Black and Registrar of the Portadown Royal Black District Chapter.   His private preceptory was Allen’s Chosen Few RBP 25.


In addition, he was a member of the Carleton Street Orange Hall Committee, also a member of the Ulster Unionists Council of the Central Armagh Unionists Association and of the Executive Committee of the Orange and Protestant approved Insurance Society.


James was also a devoted member of the Church of Ireland.  He had been secretary of the select vestry of Mullavilly Parish for twelve years.


James worked for seven years in Parkside Factory, Portadown and in 1913 he moved to Tavanagh Weaving Co LTD.


Brother James Dermott led the Twelfth parade every year dressed as a representation of King William on his horse.  He is remembered to this day within the history of Portadown Orangeism and his picture hangs in the Heritage Centre of Carleton Street Orange Hall.  He is buried in Mullavilly Churchyard.


“A man of many esteemed qualities, by his high ideals and quiet unassuming nature, he attracted and held the esteem of a wide circle of friends.  His various duties in connection with the offices he held were performed with tact, business capacity and resourcefulness, and his advice was always constructive”.













The Twelfth of July 1928: Sir John Lavery Painting

The Twelfth of July 1928: Sir John Lavery Painting

The Twelfth of July 1928: Sir John Lavery Painting


In 1928 the County Armagh demonstration was to be held in Lurgan.  The Brethren of Portadown assembled at Carleton Street Orange Hall for their parade through the town to the railway station at Edenderry.


However, there ‘was quite a stir in the town’ as one of Ulster’s greatest artists, Sir John Lavery, was present.  He had travelled to the town from Belfast on an early train and had set up his easel in rooms above the Classic Bar.


“During the day he sketched and painted the massed ranks of the Portadown Orange Lodges as they made their way through the town”.


The Heart of Orangeism

It was not a coincidence that Sir John Lavery selected Portadown as the setting for his painting.  Although Belfast had a bigger procession he came to Portadown as it was and is the heart of the Orange Institution. He thoroughly enjoyed his time on the day and wrote about in an unpublished diary:


“I have seen many processions and exhibitions of intense feeling but nothing to quite equal the austere passion of the Twelfth in Portadown.  The colour was more beautiful than anything I have seen in Morocco, black and orange predominating with every other colour except green adding to its beauty and the dozens of drums beaten with canes by drummers whose lives seemed to depend on the noise they were able to make, their coats off , their shirt sleeves rolled up, their wrists bleeding and a look in the eye that boded ill for any interference”.


Sir John Lavery was seventy-two and he was experiencing his first ever Orange Demonstration.  In his famous painting, Lavery managed to ‘capture the solemn mood of the marchers as well as the associated pageantry of the men on horseback, the long line of banners and the group of Lambeg drummers’.


The original painting entitled ‘Twelfth of July, Portadown 1928’ was on display in the Ulster Museum.


A copy of the painting hangs in many Orange Halls throughout Portadown and County Armagh.  In Carleton Street Orange Hall, it takes pride of place in the ‘Gracey Room’ where Portadown Orange District meetings are held by both the men and the women’s Institutions.




Twelfth of July 1925: Portadown –  Last Twelfth for Worshipful District Master W H Wright

Twelfth of July 1925: Portadown – Last Twelfth for Worshipful District Master W H Wright

The Twelfth of July 1925: Portadown – The last Twelfth for Worshipful District Master W H Wright


There were many very ‘beautiful banners’ in the Portadown Twelfth procession in 1925.  Amongst them was the banner for LOL 89 which was most admired.


Derrycarne Band led the District and the District Officers at the front included District Master W H Wright, Right Hon R Best, Major David Graham Shillington, Dr George Dougan, Deputy District Master David Moore, David Rock, Reverend Canon Moeran, Reverend W Hogarth and District Secretary James Dermott.


Corcrain and Parkmount bands also headed Lodges in the procession.


There were thirty-one Lodges on parade representing Portadown District.  The Worshipful Masters and Secretaries are listed below:


LOL 7 Breagh WM: David Carrick, Drumnevin SEC: Samuel Woodhouse, Breagh

LOL 8 Drumheriff WM: Samuel J Smyth, Timakell SEC: Samuel J Russell, Timakeel

LOL 9 Clounagh WM: James Hewitt, Jervis Street SEC: Joesph H Caddell, Charles Street

LOL 10 Derrinraw WM: Robert D Fox, Derrinraw SEC: Robert J McAdam, Derrinraw

LOL 13 Derryneskin WM: John Boyce, Derryvane SEC: George Nugent, Drumleum

LOL 18 Brackagh WM: John Toal, Annagh SEC: James Copeland, Hanover Street

LOL 19 Ballyworkan WM: Fred Pentland, Drumnakelly SEC: David Hampton, Ballyworkan

LOL 20 Kilmagamish WM: William Brownlee, Kilmagamish, SEC: Thomas Carrick, Derryanville

LOL 25 Portadown WM: Thomas Askin, Meadow Lane, SEC: Thomas H Mallon, Park Road

LOL 31 Kilmoriarty WM: James Conn, West Street SEC: Herbert Dunlop, Kilmoriarty

LOL 35 Kilmore WM: James Hampton, Drumard Primate SEC: Thomas Cloughley, Monle

LOL 40 Portadown WM: David Moore, Grange Lower, SEC: William H Wright, Edward Street

LOL 56 Portadown WM: David Rock, Bridge Street SEC: Carter Hamilton, Erin Crescent

LOL 58 Portadown WM: James Harris, Water Street, SEC: James Donnell, Castle Avenue

LOL 78 Derrycarne WM: Thomas Robinson, Derrycorry, SEC: Ralph Herron, Derrycarne

LOL 80 Ballylisk WM: John Joyce, Brackagh, SEC: William Harrison, Ballylisk

LOL 81 Derryhale WM: Richard Preston, Mullaletra, SEC: Arthur Barr, William Street

LOL 99 Portadown WM: George Watson, Annaghdale, SEC: Isaac McBroom, Queen Street

LOL 107 Knocknamuckley WM: John Porter, Ballydonaghy, SEC: Richard Duke, Ballydonaghy

LOL 127 Portadown WM: James McCullagh, King Street, SEC: John Cooke, Water Street

LOL 172 Clonroot WM: John Callaghan, Clonroot, SEC: Alfred Pearson, Clonroot

LOL 273 Portadown WM: William Whittle, Selshion SEC: William Johnston, Derrycarne

LOL 322 Edenderry WM: Robert J Magowan, Park Road, SEC: Twinem Jackson, Alexandra Garden

LOL 339 Corcrain WM: Thomas J Boyle, Drumcree, SEC: William J Gilpin, Obin Street

LOL 371 Drumnahuncheon WM: Robert Forde, Mulladry SEC: Alexander Wright, Drumnahuncheon

LOL 395 Battlehill WM: John Cooke, Montague Street, SEC: George Sleith, Drumard Primate

LOL 417 Portadown WM: John Martin, Legmore Terrarce, SEC –


Other Districts present included; Richill, Loughgall, Tandragee, Armagh, Lurgan,Killylea, Keady, Newtownhamilton, Markethill and Bessbrook.


WDM William Henry Wright

This was the last Twelfth of Worshipful District Master William Henry Wright.  Brother Wright was a member of LOL 40, which was later renamed in his memory.  He took over the leadership of Portadown District on the death of Brother W J Locke in October 1905 and ‘for the next twenty-one years he proved more than equal to the high office bestowed upon him’.


His profession was a Solicitor, and he was born and bred in Mullavilly.  He attended the local Church of Ireland in the townland and was a devoted member of the congregation, serving at various times as Churchwarden, nominator, synodsman and member of the vestry.


In his professional capacity as town Solicitor, W H Wright was held in high esteem.


“He always maintained a high standard of honour and enjoyed the respect and confidence of everyone who knew him”.


At one time he was a legal advisor to Portadown Urban District Council, as well as Lurgan Rural Council and he also had a large clientele among the commercial and farming community in the town and surrounding area.


His Role

As District Master of Portadown, Brother Wright enjoyed to a marked degree, ‘the affectionate regard of rank and file, who recognised him as a worthy leader’.  It was stated that in the whole jurisdiction of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland ‘there was not a more efficient District Master than Brother Wright’.  His counsel was also valued by members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the County Grand Lodge.


Brother Wright was involved in many aspects if the local community and was the honorary Secretary of the North Armagh Unionist Association, in which capacity he was often called upon to make speeches as part of any platform party.


He also played a leading role in the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1912-1914.  He was a well-known temperance advocate; he was president of the local branch of the Catch-My-Pal Society.


Brother Wright died on 10th April 1926 at the age of sixty-six, after a serious illness.  He is buried in Mullavilly Churchyard.  Major David Graham Shillington took over the leadership of Portadown District after Brother Wright’s death.



Portadown Orange District have a number of portraits which hang in the main stairway of Carleton Street Orange Hall.  Brother Wright’s portrait has pride of place amongst them and his history and influence on Portadown Orange District’s heritage is an important part of the Carleton Street Orange Hall Tour which is conducted by Portadown Heritage Tours.


The Twelfth of July 1922: Portadown unrest and a New Orange Hall at Derryhale

The Twelfth of July 1922: Portadown unrest and a New Orange Hall at Derryhale

The Twelfth of July 1922: Portadown


On the Twelfth the Orangemen of Portadown District celebrated the Boyne Anniversary at Derryhale.  There was a ‘monster demonstration’ held in a field kindly placed at the disposal of the brethren by Mr James Wright.  There was a record turnout of the members of the various Lodges.


After the procession had reached the field, the ceremony of opening the new hall, which would be home to LOL 81, was performed.  The hall was officially opened by Mrs Best, wife of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland. Mrs Best was presented with a silver key by the Worshipful Master Brother Richard Preston.


In declaring the hall open, Mrs Best said she hoped it would be a ‘centre of loyalty in the District’.  



It was after 2:00pm when the meeting in the field commenced. The meeting was led by Worshipful District Master Brother W H Wright.  Others on the platform included; Richard Best Attorney General for Northern Ireland, Mrs Best, Miss Best, Rev Canon Moeran, Rev J Heney, Rev Dr Johnston, J Callender, D Moore, William Gough, David Rock, J Sandford and R H Bell.


Colonel Sir William Allen in a letter of apology said:


“These are strange and dangerous times through which we are passing…. Today we should thank God that in our area, little of the trouble and crimes that have characterised other districts have taken place”.


Portadown and the Partition Years

Portadown had become refuge for scores of Protestants in 1921 as republican violence and intimidation, in the aftermath of the setting up of the Irish Free State, reached its height.  The Orange Order took a leading role in helping to resettle these families from the border counties of Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and other areas of the South.  They were helped by members of Portadown District to get housing and obtain employment.


Portadown earned the enviable reputation of being the largest town in Ireland to escape the worst horrors of 1920-22.  While the rest of Ireland experienced murders, bombings, shootings and rioting, the town of Portadown remained relatively unaffected.  This situation was due to the efforts of leading Portadown Orangeman Brother David Rock who worked very hard to keep the peace.


David Rock is renowned for his service to the Orange and Black Institutions.  He was District Commandant of the Ulster Special Constabulary in Portadown during the 1920’s.  It was his leadership combined with the discipline and dedication of his men which maintained peace in the town.


One incident that caused intense feeling throughout the town was the murder of a young Portadown Orangeman serving with the ‘A’ special Constabulary.  Brother William McKnight from Mary Street in the town, was wounded in an IRA ambush in County Tyrone in 1922 and died a few days later.


“He was a popular member of Seagoe LOL 26 and had served with distinction in the Great War with the Inniskillings.  Naturally, his murder caused outrage throughout the town”.


In spite of efforts to prevent retaliation, a young Roman Catholic man was shot by gunmen a few miles from the town.  There were real fears of rioting in the town, but prompt action by Brother David Rock and the specials maintained the peace.


Tributes to David Rock

Joe Devlin, MP for West Belfast, spoke at a Nationalist Function in Portadown a number of years later, he was eminently fair in paying tribute to the people of the town for their tolerance and good sense during this period.  David Rock was one of the prime reasons for this and he was a man who commanded admiration and respect.


Although David Rock was never District Master, his legacy lives on to this day.  As a mark of respect to his actions during the partition years a Lodge Room in Carleton Street Orange Hall is named after him.  All the other Lodge Rooms within the hall are named after past District Masters, with the exception being the Bell Room which is a designated room for the local Royal Black Chapter.


David Rock MBE JP



The Twelfth Concludes

A number of speeches followed, and the resolutions were read by Reverend Canon Moeran. Their thoughts were with members of the Orange Institution in Southern Ireland during the period of unrest.  The platform proceedings closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

The Twelfth of July 1919: Carrickblacker, Portadown

The Twelfth of July 1919: Carrickblacker, Portadown

The Twelfth of July 1919: Carrickblacker, Portadown


The Orangemen of Portadown District celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne at Carrickblacker.  A ‘Monster Demonstration’ for the Twelfth celebrations was held in the grounds kindly placed at their disposal by Lieutenant Colonel Blacker.


There was a very large crowd present and the proceedings were characterised with all the enthusiasm associated with the celebration of a great and historic event.



At 10:00am, the Lodges of Portadown District began to assemble at Carleton Street Orange Hall.  An hour later the procession started.


“The procession was a most imposing one and afforded striking evidence of the strength and influence of Orangeism in the District.  Parkmount’s fife and drum band headed the District, and many of the Lodges displayed artistically designed banners bearing the potraits of distinguished leaders in the movement”.



At 2:00pm the meeting commenced. Worshipful District Master Brother W H Wright presided.  The Reverend R B White opened the meeting with prayer, and the reading of a portion of scripture.


“At the end of the dark period through which our country has passed, I am sure we are all pleased to meet together to thank God for the great deliverance he has given us.  I am pleased that our meeting should take place in grounds where successive generations of Orangemen have met to celebrate deliverance of the past.  The grounds of Carrickblacker and the name of Blacker have an honoured place in the history of Orangeism”.




A number of speeches continued, and the resolutions were read by Lieutenant Colonel Allen.


“We can never forget what the First of July 1916 meant, and would mean for many a long year, to Ulster when the men who from childhood days had been taught the cry of ‘No Surrender’, how they went over the top calling it out, and how they went into the fight determined that whatever happened they would show that Ulstermen were ready to lay down their lives for faith and freedom and truth”.




Lieutenant-Colonel Blacker extended a cordial welcome to the Brethren.  He said it was a great pleasure to him to see them all there and the pleasure was enhanced by the fact that this was the first celebration after the signing of peace.


“The glorious victory that was achieved had been won at an enormous cost, and I am glad to know that Ulster and the members of the Orange Order have contributed to the victory in no small measure.  They have done their share and more than their share.  As the commander of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers I can say that there was no more gallant, fearless men in that Battalion than the members of the Orange Institution.  They brought the spirt of unity, comradeship and determination, that under God won us the victory”.


Blacker also thanked the local Portadown community who had supplied the 9th Battalion with comforts and packages from home.  “There was no battalion in the whole British Army in France better looked after in the way of comforts than the 9th Battalion”. 


The home comforts and care packages were organised by District Master Brother W H Wright and Brother David Rock Worshipful Master of LOL 56. They helped keep the supply chain going from the town to the front.


Colonel Blacker then produced the battle flag carried by the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in France and Flanders.  Blacker stated that ‘no one had a better right to that flag than the Orange Order in Portadown’.


It was presented to the Orangemen of Portadown to be kept in Carleton Street Orange Hall as a loving reminder of the old battalion which many members of the local Orange Order joined.


The Twelfth of July 1916: Portadown

The Twelfth of July 1916: Portadown

The Twelfth of July 1916: Portadown in Mourning


The 12th July 1916 was a day like no other in the Orange Institution. Just eleven days previously the men of the 36th Ulster Division had taken part in the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.  The Battle of the Somme would last until November 1916.


The Battle of the Somme

On the opening day, they attacked German first line trenches and broke through the remaining trenches. They occupied part of the ‘Schwaben Redoubt’.  This was a large underground village supplying the German Forces.


On the left-hand side of the 36th Ulster Division advance, was the men of the 9th Battalion the Royal Irish Fusiliers.  They were nicknamed ‘Blacker’s Boys’ and many Portadown men including Orangemen of Portadown District were in the ranks. Their objective was ‘Beaucort Railway Station’, which was one mile away beyond the German third line trenches.


They reached their objective, but as nightfall fell, they had to withdraw due to lack of support from the attacking 29th division on their left-hand side. This division had suffered very heavy casualties and was unable to take the German First Line Trenches.  This left the 9th Battalion very exposed to German machine gun fire and artillery fire. This is where most of the 9th Battalion RIF casualties were received.


Sad Day for Ulster

Soon after, the long casualty lists began to arrive in the town with almost every home having someone, a father, brother or son, killed or wounded.  It was an extremely sad day in the history of Ulster.


As a consequence of the casualties amongst the 36th Ulster Division the Twelfth of July demonstrations were cancelled as the town and country mourned.  Flags were flown at half-mast and blinds were drawn in nearly every home.  Church services were arranged to pray for the wounded and the families of the fallen and to convey the sorrow felt by everyone.


“For the First time within the recollection of the oldest Orangeman in Portadown there was no demonstration in connection with the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, the lodges of the District complying with the request of the Grand Lodge of Ireland that there should be no celebration this year”.


There was a large attendance at a special church service.  ‘The flag of the empire and the flag of Ulster, draped in mourning, were displayed in a prominent position in front of the congregation’.  The service was led by Canon Moeran and he paid tribute to the soldiers of the Ulster Division ‘who had fought so valiantly in defence of the flags’.


At the end of the service a collection was taken up in aid of the Ulster Volunteer Force Patriotic Fund.



Twelfth of July 1914: Portadown and the start of the Great War

Twelfth of July 1914: Portadown and the start of the Great War

Twelfth of July 1914: Portadown and the start of the Great War


In the run up to the Twelfth celebrations in July 1914, tension was high in Europe after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo.


As Portadown District gathered to celebrate the ‘Twelfth’, this far off event seemed of little importance.  The issue of the Home Rule Crisis was of course at the forefront of everyone’s mind.



The 1914 celebration was held at Tynan, at the home of the Grand Master, Brother James Stronge.  The Brethren of Portadown left Carleton Street at 9:00am and paraded to Edenderry.  There they boarded the trains to Tynan.


The town of course was decorated to the highest standard.  The Triumphal arches were decorating the main streets as well as the usual flags and ribbons displayed from businesses and homes.


“The Arch erected in Edenderry attracted a great deal of attention.  It was a splendid model of the gates of Derry, with the Mountjoy on one side and Roaring Meg on the other, surmounted by the moto, ‘We will not have Home Rule’.  Beautiful Arches were also to be seen in Castle Street, Corcrain, Thomas Street, Carleton Street and many other thoroughfares”.



The Grounds around Tynan Abbey were crowded with a large number of Orangemen and Spectators who had travelled from all over the country.  They gathered around the platform for the meeting.  A number of speeches followed.  Members of Portadown District on the platform included Worshipful District Master W H Wright, Brother David Moore and Brother David Rock.


A time of change

For many Portadown Orangemen this would be their last Twelfth celebration.  The events in Europe had seemed of little relevance during the celebrations.  However, just under a month later on 4th August 1914, Britain, safeguarding Belgium’s neutrality, declared war on the invading Germans.   This led to events that changed the course of Irish History.


The Great War, a war that would cost the lives of hundreds of men from Portadown and wound even more, had begun.  Many of those hundreds of lives would include Orangemen of Portadown District.   Many Orangemen, who volunteered to fight for king and country, would never again have the opportunity to feel the pride of parading and celebrating the Twelfth and would never return to take up their seats in their Lodge Rooms.


The Orangemen’s Contribution

Hundreds of Portadown Orangemen enlisted during the Great War.  The Majority joined the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers which was commanded by Lt-Col Stewart Blacker, the commander of the 4th Portadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force.  The 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers’ recruitment office was in Carleton Street Orange Hall.


David Graham Shillington, later District Master of Portadown District, became a Major in the 9th Battalion RIF, he had been a company commander of the 4th Portadown Battalion Ulster Volunteer Force.  Also, Dr George Dougan, who was to succeed Brother Shillington as District Master, gained a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps.


“Portadown Brethren served in every aspect of the Great War.  From the retreat from Mons to the carnage of Ypres and from the mud-soaked trenches of the Somme to the heat, sun and death of Gallipoli”.







The Twelfth of July 1912: Portadown to Tandragee

The Twelfth of July 1912: Portadown to Tandragee

Twelfth Demonstration at Tandragee: Home Rule Peril


The anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne was celebrated in Portadown on the Twelfth with ‘an enthusiasm which demonstrated that lapse of time only serves to deepen the attachment of the Orangemen and Protestants of this loyal centre to the cause for which their forefathers bled and died’.


“Indeed, the demonstration for proportions and attractiveness far surpassed all its predecessors in this prosperous neighbourhood and formed a fitting reply to those who would have the British electorate believe that Ulster is weakening in its opposition to Home Rule”.


The streets were decorated to the highest of standards for the historical occasion.  The Triumphal Arches, along with rows of streamers, spanned the main streets and roadways leading to the town.


The Arch in Edenderry, had at the centre, a well-executed model of the gates of Derry.  Opposite the Orange Hall in Carleton Street, there was a particularly ‘nice Arch which attracted a great deal of attention and was generally admired by the Brethren who passed under it’.  Thomas Street was adorned with a ‘very striking and beautiful arch, which reflected credit on the artistic taste of those responsible for its production’.


The Procession

Shortly after 9:00am the Brethren of the country Lodges started to arrive in Carleton Street.  ‘For some time afterwards Carleton Street and the thoroughfares adjoining presented an animated appearance’.


“The growth of the Orange Institution in the Portadown District is remarkable, and during this past year its ranks have been added to by an unusually large number of new adherents”.


Off to Tandragee

When the procession had been formed the brethren started on their long march to Tandragee, where a ‘monster demonstration’ was held.  The procession was described as an ‘imposing one’ and ‘formed striking proof of the strength and influence of the Orange Society in this district’. 

Portadown District was led by the Worshipful District Master Brother William H Wright, Deputy District Master Brother David Moore, Chaplin’s Reverend Townley-Tilson, Brother William Jones and Brother R S Morrison, District Secretary Brother Valentine Wilson, District Treasurer Brother William Best and the Committee, Brothers John Patton, David Carrick, F W White, John Joyce and R H Hampton.


The Following Lodges represented Portadown District and were led by the Worshipful Masters:


  • LOL 7 WM: David Carrick
  • LOL 8 WM: Samuel John Smyth
  • LOL 9 WM: James Uprichard
  • LOL 10 WM: Dawson McAdam
  • LOL 13 WM: John Boyce
  • LOL 18 WM: G E Toal
  • LOL 19 WM: John Hobson
  • LOL 20 WM: William Brownlee
  • LOL 25 WM: Robert J Freeburn
  • LOL 31 WM: Alex McMurray
  • LOL 35 WM: R D Hampton
  • LOL 40 WM: David Moore
  • LOL 56 WM: David Rock
  • LOL 58 WM: J Livingstone
  • LOL 78 WM: William James Dowd
  • LOL 80 WM: John Joyce
  • LOL 81 WM: John Lappin
  • LOL 89 WM: William Best
  • LOL 99 WM: Thomas Albiu
  • LOL 107 WM: Robert H England
  • LOL 127 WM: E McCann
  • LOL 172 WM: James McBroom
  • LOL 273 WM: William D Ruddock
  • LOL 322 WM: David Bright
  • LOL 339 WM: John Hughes
  • LOL 371 WM: Richard Hobson
  • LOL 395 WM: William J Magee
  • LOL 417 WM: John Patton



Speeches and the Home Rule Crisis

When the procession entered the field, they took up their designated positions around the platform.  Thousands congregated to hear the speeches, with special interest in the two Unionist representatives present, Sir John Lonsdale and Mr William Moore.


The chair at the meeting was occupied by Sir James Stronge, County Grand Master.  The proceedings were opened by the Reverend Andrew Dowds, who was rector of Aughnavilly, he opened in Prayer and the crowd sang the hymn ‘O God our help in ages Past’.


A number of speeches followed which centred around the Home Rule Crisis.  The speakers were Brother Sir James Stronge, Sir John Lonsdale, Mr William Moore, Brother W J Allen and Brother W H Wright.




The Twelfth of July 1909: Portadown

The Twelfth of July 1909: Portadown

The Twelfth of July 1909: Portadown


“One of the most important and successful demonstrations in Ulster took place in Portadown where over 20,000 Orangemen from all parts of County Armagh assembled on the 12th to commemorate the victory achieved at the Boyne”


The meeting was held in the grounds of Portadown Agriculture and Recreation Co (Shamrock Park).  Portadown District had also made arrangements for the accommodation of visiting Brethren.


“Portadown is known far and wide for its staunch Orangeism and unwavering loyalty, but on this occasion, it surpassed itself”.


A Number of Triumphal Arches were on the parade route and with banners displaying mottos such as “Welcome to Portadown”, “No Home Rule”, “God save the King” and “No Surrender”.


The upstairs windows of many shops and houses displayed flags, orange ribbons and other decorations.


“The visiting Brethren were everywhere accorded a most enthusiastic welcome, and the demonstration in point of numbers was one of the largest that ever took place under similar auspices”.



The districts attending were Portadown, Richill, Loughgall, Tandragee, Armagh, Lurgan, Killylea, Keady, Markethill and Bessbrook.  The Aghalee District attached to County Antrim also joined Portadown District.


The Great Northern Railway Company led on special trains from an early hour to bring visiting Lodges from the outlaying Districts.


“The March out to the grounds along the Armagh Road was witnessed by thousands of spectators, and in their bright regalia, headed by beautiful banners and first-rate bands”.


The Procession

The procession was led by Portadown District Master Brother William H Wright, Deputy District Master Brother David Moore, Chaplin’s Reverend Townley-Tilson and Reverend Jones, District Secretary Brother Valentine and District Treasurer Brother William Best.  Also Committee Members Brothers John Patton, David Carrick, Robert Hampton, Joseph Burns and Robert England.


The Lodges which represented Portadown District and were led by the Worshipful Masters:


-LOL 7 WM: Joseph H Saunderson

-LOL 8 WM: Samuel Gillespie

-LOL 9 WM: James Uprichard

-LOL 10 WM: John Turkington

-LOL 13 WM: John Boyce

-LOL 18 WM: George Toal

-LOL 19 WM: John Hobson

-LOL 20 WM: William Brownlee

-LOL 25 WM: Robert Freeburn

-LOL 31 WM: William McFadden

-LOL 35 WM: Robert Hampton

-LOL 40 WM: David Moore

-LOL 56 WM: David Rock

-LOL 58 WM: John Livingstone

-LOL 78 WM: Thomas Fulton

-LOL 80 WM: John Joyce

-LOL 81 WM: John Lappin

-LOL 89 WM: William Best

-LOL 99 WM: Thomas Albin

-LOL 107 WM: R H England

-LOL 127 WM: Ed McCann

-LOL 172 WM: James Broom

-LOL 273 WM: William Beattie

-LOL 322 WM: D M Bright

-LOL 339 WM: Andrew Boyle

-LOL 371 WM: R Hobson

-LOL 395 WM: William Magee

-LOL 417 WM: John Patton

-LOL 516 WM: Hugh Downey


The meeting at the field

The meeting began punctually at 1:30pm with approximately 20,000 people assembled in the grounds. The chair was supposed to be taken by Brother Sir James H Stronge, County Grand Master, but owing to the death of a relative he was unable to attend.  His place was taken by Brother William J Allen.


A letter from Mr J B Lonsdale MP was sent to Brother George Crozier (Grand Secretary);


“It is a matter of regret that I am unable to be present at the Orange Demonstration at Portadown on the Twelfth.  Nothing would have given me greater pleasure than to take part with my friend and colleague Mr Moore in the commemoration of this great anniversary; but having regard to the political situation, it is necessary for me as honour secretary to the Irish Unionist Party, to remain on duty in the House of Commons.  I hope, however, that I shall have the pleasure of meeting many of the Orangemen and Unionists of Armagh later in the year, when we shall assemble at Portadown to unveil the statue of our late revered leader, Colonel Saunderson.  In the meantime, I should like to offer my congratulations to the Orangemen of County Armagh upon the increasing strength and prosperity of the Institution”.


A number of speeches were made on the platform with the main topics being Home Rule and Unemployment.


During the day, Messrs Moffet and Co of Portadown took a great number of photographs of the procession and meeting.  Many homes in the local area would have had photos and portraits photographed by Moffet Studios throughout the years.


“Mr Moffet’s enterprise in this direction is making history and helping to spread far and wide the fame of Portadown, demonstrating the fact that the cradle of Orangeism is retaining its position, one of the leading centres for upholding the principles of the order”.


The photos were produced on postcards and were sold from Mrs Jeffers shop in Market Street.  Many of these post cards are in circulation today by collectors.  Other images produced at the same time for postcards included the views of the ‘Twelfth Field’ and Edenderry Arch.  They were considered a great souvenir for the many American and other visitors who came to Portadown for the twelfth celebrations.

Recent Years

Although in recent years many international visitors will stop at Belfast for the Twelfth Celebrations, Portadown and the County Armagh Demonstration still attracts a good number of international visitors, as well as those from the rest of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Many of these visitors return every year for the commemorations and celebrations.

The Twelfth of July 1895 : Celebrating 100 years of the Orange Institution

The Twelfth of July 1895 : Celebrating 100 years of the Orange Institution

The Twelfth of July 1895: Portadown to Loughgall


The Twelfth Celebrations in 1895 were celebrated by the Orangemen of Portadown, and the rest of the County Armagh districts, as they commemorated the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne at celebrations in Loughgall.


“a monster demonstration, in which all the districts in the County took part”.


The Portadown Brethren assembled at Carleton Street Orange Hall at 9:30am. Shortly afterwards, they marched to the railway station where they made their way to the meeting place in four special trains.


The procession was headed by Worshipful District Master Brother W J Locke, Deputy District Master Brother W H Wright and District Chaplin Reverend F W Austin.


The following Lodges, led by the Worshipful Masters, represented Portadown District:


-LOL 7 WM: Henry Kingsborough

-LOL 8 WM: Thomas Crockett

-LOL 9 WM: James Uprichard

-LOL 10 WM: John Turkington

-LOL 13 WM: Thomas Boyce

-LOL 18 WM: William Hodgen

-LOL 19: WM: John Knipe

-LOL 20: WM: William Brownlie

-LOL 25: WM: John Allen

-LOL 31: WM: W J McFadden

-LOL 35: WM: Robert D Hampton

-LOL 40: WM: David Moore

-LOL 56: WM: J G Livingston

-LOL 58: WM John Livingston

-LOL 78: WM: John Caddie

-LOL 80: WM: John Joyce

-LOL 81: WM: W J Emerson

-LOL 89: WM: William Best

-LOL 99: WM: William Young

-LOL 107: WM: William Lockhart McMurray

-LOL 127: WM: Edward McCann

-LOL 172: WM: Henry Gilpin

-LOL 273: WM: W J Locke

-LOL 322: WM: John Black

– LOL 352: WM: Thomas Cooper

-LOL 395: WM:  James Hyde

-LOL 417: WM: John Patton

-LOL 516: WM: John H Whitley

-LOL 524: WM: Arthur Campbell

-LOL 533: WM: John Anderson

-LOL 927: WM: David Porter

-LOL 977: WM: William Symington

The procession through the town was described as imposing and well conducted.


“The Large turnout of the Brethren was an evidence of the flourishing condition of the Institution in the District”.



At 1:00pm, the estate of Mrs Cope of Loughgall was crowded with Brethren and spectators. The platform was ‘nicely draped with a number of flags’.


This meeting in 1895, marked the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Orange Institution.  This led to a number of high-profile guests as part of the platform party with a number of speeches.  Colonel Edward Saunderson led the speeches with the main topic being the concerns of Home Rule.