Cider for King William III’s Army

Cider for King William III’s Army

Portadown provided cider for King William’s army during its campaign which ended in victory over James II and his men at the Boyne.  Records show that the Rev. William Brooke who was rector of Drumcree from 1679 until his death in 1700, wrote an account of the barony in 1682, from which it was learned that good cider was available in Portadown at thirty shillings a hogshead.

From the same source it was gathered that the farmers of Portadown district were compelled by their leases to plant apple trees proportionate to the quality of their land.  In 1690, King William’s cider maker Paul Le Harper was sent to Portadown with the necessary equipment to make cider for the Williamite Army.  Harper was a Huguenot, a member of the Protestant faith in France who were persecuted for their religion and forced to emigrate to other countries.

Lord Drogheda, who commanded a Williamite regiment stationed at Tandragee, part of which was quartered in Portadown had recorded that there was much cider there in the spring of 1690.  It is remarkable that so many apple trees in North Armagh had escaped the ravages of the 1641 rebellion, when farm houses and houses of English Protestant settlers were being destroyed.

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