11 July 2007

The "Brethren In Arms" Float

Presbyterian Irish Republican Rebels
fighting for Irish liberty and Catholic Emancipation
in battle with
Yorkshiremen, Anglican Orangemen and Catholic Militias
fighting for King, Constitution and the freedom of Britain
Only in ULSTER! Saintfield 1798


On our float you can see men of the York Fencible Regiment (a regiment from which our lodge was formed) and rebels of the '98 at Saintfield.

The Fencibles were fighting for the Government of the time, for the King and Constitution, for the status quo.

The Rebels, stirred on by what had happened in America and France, were fighting for a republic, free from kings and with freedom from religious intolerance, and most importantly freedom from taxes levied in Irish goods.

The Battle of Saintfield was one of the few where the Rebels gained the upper hand, however the rebellion in total was put down. The rebels in Ulster was mainly Presbyterian, following, in their way, the path their relatives in America had laid with independence and freedom, to this end, they also demanded emancipation for their fellow Roman Catholic Irishmen. After the rebellion was put down, it transpired that many of their fellow Irishmen, did not have their high ideal, and massacres of Protestants in the rest of Ireland during the rebellion was common, and shocked those in the North who had fought in what they felt was a "just cause".

Soon came the Act of Union, binding Ireland to the rest of Britain. It was unwanted by Orangemen (who wanted their own, ascendancy parliament in Ireland retained) and by Rebels, however, they would soon be brought round.

Union brought all that the rebels had fought for: Freedom, personal and Financial, and even Catholic Emancipation, though that would take another 3 decades. The Orangemen saw Union as a stronger means of protecting that "civil and religious liberty" which they espoused. So it was that the foes across the battlefield were finally brought together as...

...Brethren In Arms

The Fencible Regiment and the Battle of Saintfield

Presbyterian Irish Republican Rebels
fighting for Irish liberty and Catholic Emancipation
in battle with
Yorkshiremen, Anglican Orangemen and Catholic Militias
fighting for King, Constitution and the freedom of Britain
Only in ULSTER! Saintfield 1798


In 1786 Britain was facing a major crisis. The country was at war with France and invasion was expected any day. The greatest worry was that a French army would land in Ireland and then invade England and Scotland.

At the same time the recent American War of Independence had produced a great desire for religious and financial freedom among the huge numbers of Ulster Presbyterians who had brothers and cousins who had fought for America. Theses men set up the “United Irishmen” to promote the same ideals as those expressed in the American Declaration of Independence.

To defend against these twin threats, the British government raised a number of Fencible Regiments in England and Scotland and sent most of them to Ireland. The York Fencible Regiment was raised in the City of York in 1792 and was sent to Ulster soon afterwards. The Regiment was stationed in Belfast and Comber. In 1796 (one year after the formation of the very first Orange Lodge) a lodge was formed within the ranks of the York Fencibles. This lodge was called Royal York No. 145 (The Royal prefix because the first warrant was signed by a son of King George III who later became King of Hanover.).

In 1798 the Battle of Saintfield was the first major victory for the United Irishmen in Ulster. The York Fencibles took the major part in the battle and suffered very heavy losses (56 officers and men from a total force of 250).

However the Royal York Lodge remained in existence and to this day still meets every month. The Lodge is very proud of its origins and still honours the men of the York Fencible Regiment.

09 July 2007

"Brethren In Arms" Tie

Click on the above image to see a larger version of our "Brethren In Arms" Tie produced to commemorate the end of Operation Banner. See our "Brethren In Arms" Association.
Orders can be made, via the lodge e-mail address: info@royalyork.org.uk
Price: £15 including presentation pack.