York L.O.L. 145 has the distinction of being one of the oldest working lodges in Belfast, having been formed before the 1798 Battle of Saintfield from the ranks of the York Fencible Regiment and originally called The Royal York Independent L.O.L. 145. The prefix 'Royal' was awarded by the signature on the warrant of the fifth son of King George III who later became King of Hanover. The suffix 'Independent' was dropped when the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland came into being in 1800.
According to a report in the Belfast News Letter, the Regiment distinguished itself during the Irish Rebellion if 1798, particularly at the battle of Ballynahinch (shown above) on June 12, 1798.
The English regiments were supplemented by loyal Ulster Protestants during the Rebellion, and some of these helped regulars from the "York Regiment" to form the "Royal York Independent Lodge 145".
The Lodge first met in Frederick Street, Belfast, in 1796, four years before the formation of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. The word "Royal" was used in the Lodge's title because the original warrant was signed by Prince Ernest, fifth son of King George III.
Prince Ernest became Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, and Earl of Armagh, and later, in 1837, became King of Hanover. The Prince was Imperial Grand Master in 1828.
According to the Newsletter in July 1799, the Lodge organised the first 12th July procession in Belfast, in that same year.
More recently the lodge has been on trips to the Boyne, Dan Winters Cottage, and to London for the Jubilee march through Trafalgar Square.
The lodge has a good family tradition with the descendants of many families being members though the years. It is the only lodge in No. 3 District to wear the traditional Sash on parade and carry a flag instead of a banner, this dating from the lodges military origins.
The membership of the lodge is made up of a wide cross section of the population comprising business men, surgeons and even an undertaker in its time.
The two most notable offices held by members of the lodge are that of Deputy County Grand Secretary (W,Bro. Val Young) and Grand and County Grand Treasurer (W.Bro. Mervyn Bishop).