Sunday 18 March 2007

Distinguished Brethren

The members of “York” have come from all walks of life: - Merchants, Artisans, the Medical Profession, the Law, Journalism and the Church. With such a varied source of members the lodge can boast many distinguished men who have been associated with it.

Notable amongst these was Wor. Brother Sir Joseph Davison, D.L.. He was Grand Master of Ireland from 1941 until 1948 and Imperial Grand Master for the Orange Council of the World from 1937 until 1948 the year in which he died.

Wor. Brother Barlow who was an authority on Orange History, also was Deputy Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Orange Council of the World.

Brother Robert J. Adgey, a good member of “York”, was one of the original planners of the famous gun running expedition. His work during those critical days brought him in contact with Ulster’s famous leader Lord Carson and Viscount Craigavon.

The lodge can boast many politicians in its history. It has had two Lord Mayors of Belfast. Wor. Brother Walter Johnston, P. M., Brother George Hall, Brother J. Harcourt and Brother T. L. Cole had all served in the Belfast Corporation, the latter also being a member of the Northern Ireland Parliament. Dr. Norman Laird, OBE also served as a member of the Northern Ireland Parliament.

In modern times, the lodge has a membership as varied from students and old age pensioners to peers of the realm.

Wor. Brother Lord John Laird of Artigarvan is a member of the lodge, as well as a crossbencher in the House of Lords, and is well known for his works for the Ulster-Scots agency. He was also (before its prorogation) a Member of the Northern Ireland Parliament.

Wor. Brother. Lord Dennis Rogan of Lower Ivegh is also a member of the lodge and was given his peerage at the same time as Lord Laird. He has been involved with politics in the Ulster Unionist Party for many years, serving as Secretary to the party and being its leader in the Lords.

Saturday 3 March 2007

A Short History of Royal York L.O.L. 145

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).