Derryanvil Arch is located under a mile from Drumcree Parish Church. As it is in the countryside of Portadown, it is often forgot and overlooked when it comes to the Arches of Portadown. But the local rural community in the area are very proud of “their wee arch”.
An early arch was originally erected near Derrycarne Orange Hall. According to the older generation of the area, the last time it had been up, was sometime in the 1930’s. The old arch had been a wooden structure and was originally stored in Mr George Robinson’s hay shed.
“It’s time we had an arch again”
In the winter of 1962, Alex Hyde and William Dillworth had a conversation about the old arch. It was decided they would paint and restore the old arch and put it up the next July. The decision was made that instead of putting it up at the old location on the Derrycarne Road , it would be moved 2 miles to the small community at Derryanvil Crescent. In July 1962 it was erected at the new location. It was very much a community effort with Mr Tom Troughton and neighbours all involved.
The Following year, in 1963, the community decided they would invest in a new metal frame arch as the old wooden arch was falling in to disrepair. Mr Tom Troughton made a new frame from box metal. Mr William Dillworth was a great artist and he was able to draw the symbols needed for the arch. William knew of a gentleman named Albert Drummond who was skilled at cutting figures out of sheet metal. Once the symbols were cut, they went back to William who painted them in preparation for going on the Arch.
Opening of the New Arch
The new arch was opened on 2nd July 1963 by Herbert Whitten. Mr Whitten was a member of the Orange Order and Royal Black Institution. He was Worshipful Master of Portadown District LOL NO.1 from 1968 until his death in 1981. He also held the office of Deputy Grand Master of Ireland and was Worshipful District Master of Portadown Royal Black District Chapter No.5 in the early 1960’s.
Mr Whiitten was elected to Portadown Borough Council in 1968 and was MP for Central Armagh at Stormont from 1969 until 1972. He held office of Mayor in Portadown Borough Council from 1968-1969 and was Mayor of Craigavon Borough Council from 1977 until 1978. He was a founding member of Portadown Housing Association and was Managing Director of T A Shillington and Sons from 1955 until his retirement in 1979.
The music for the opening of the arch was provided by Pride of the Birches Accordion Band. The refreshments were served by the ladies of Derryanvil Crescent who had all come together to make and provide sandwiches, cakes, buns and tea.
The Arch was improved each year by adding new metal symbols from Albert Drummond and William Dillworth. A bonfire was originally part of the celebrations on the 11th night. It was located in a nearby field until new bungalows were built. The Bonfire was then moved to the rear of Derryanvil Crescent in the 1980’s.
Unfortunately, with Derryanvill Crescent being located under a mile from Drumcree Parish Church, the annual bonfire had to be stopped in 1996 due to the stand off at Drumcree.
The arch was unable to go up for two years during the early 2000’s this was due to insurance issues. This was overcome when Derrycarne Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 78 stepped in and provided the insurance costs.
The final metal attachment was made by Albert Drummond. It is the Bible and Crown located in the centre of the arch. It was painted by William Dillworth. Sadly, Mr Drummond died shortly after making the Bible and Crown.
The Arch is erected every year at Derryanvil Crescent. There is a strong unionist and Orange community in the local area including; Derryanvil, Derrycarne and Derrymacfall. That community is very proud to have the arch displayed as a long standing tradition of their beliefs and culture.