Loyal Orange Lodge History in Western Canada

Battle of the Boyne by Jan Wyck

 The Battle of the Boyne

    The Battle of the Boyne between King William III and his father-in-law, King James II, was fought on 1 July 1690 (11 July according to our modern calendar).

    Both kings commanded their armies in person.  William had 36,000 men and James had 25,000 - the largest number of troops ever deployed on an Irish battlefield.  English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Danish and Huguenots (French Protestants) made up William's army (Williamites) while James's men (Jacobites) were mainly Irish Catholics, reinforced by 6,500 French troops sent by King Louis XIV.  At stake were the British throne, French dominance in Europe and Religious power in Ireland.

    William's camp was on the north side of the river.  James's was on the south side with the two armies facing each other.  William's battle plan was to trap the Jacobite army in a pincer movement.  He sent 10,000 men towards Slane which drew the bulk of the Jacobites upstream in response.  With 1,300 Jacobites posted in Drogheda, only 6,000 were left at Oldbridge to confront 26,000 Williamites.  All the fighting took place on the south side of the river as the vastly outnumbered Jacobite forces defended their position against the advancing Williamites.  William himself crossed at Drybridge with 3,500 mounted troops.

    The pincer movement failed.  King James's army retreated across the river Nanny at Duleek and regrouped west of the Shannon to carry on the war.

Approximately 1,500 soldiers were killed at the Boyne.

YouTube video "Battle of the Boyne"  LINK

Story and picture from official Battle of Boyne site http://www.battleoftheboyne.ie/TheBattleoftheBoyne/

Battle of The Diamond

    Tucked away amid the rolling hills of Co. Armagh lies a district known as The Diamond, a short distance from loughgall village. Its niche in the hall of fame dates back to the month of September, 1795, following a series of disturbances in which Protestant families in the neighbourhood were attacked by their Roman Catholic  neighbours and their cohorts from adjoining areas.

    In that year the Archbishop of Armagh, Lord Charles Beresford, was attacked, and this was a signal for the Protestants to band themselves together for their own protection. It became known at that time that the Defenders (Roman Catholics) were organising in Counties Cavan, Monaghan, and Tyrone, and were planning to carry out major foray and cattle raid in Co. Armagh. In the light of these tidings the Protestants formed companies to protect themselves on their way to and from markets.

    The Defenders marched past Loughgall and on September 18, some 500 of them took possession of a gravel pit at Annaghmore and Faughart Hill which overlooked the hamlet of The Diamond. There they hoisted a white flag as their standard. This camp was chosen by one Quigley or O'Coigley who assumed the rank of Captain. Sensing an attack the Protestants assembled on Diamond Hill on the opposite side of the valley.

    On the morning of September 18 there was a skirmish in the townland of Teaguy in which a Defender lost his life, and this was the signal for increasing local concern. A leading figure on the Protestant side, Mr. James Verner, sent for a party of the North Mayo Militia, who were stationed in Dungannon. In the home of Mr. Atkinson at Crow Hill discussions took place between Mr. Archdall Cope. Mr. Camden Cope, Councillor Archdall, and three Roman Catholic priests - Revs. Taggart, McParland, and Traynor.

    On going to the hill where the Protestants were assembled Mr. Archdall Cope and Fr. Taggart suggested that the Protestants should lay down their arms. Mr. Atkinson, however, declared that they would not do so until the Defenders had done so, as they were actually breaking law in possessing arms. Fr. Taggart responded by stating that they should fight it out and Mr. Atkinson responded firmly by saying: "With all my heart!" The party then rode over to Faughart Hill where the Defenders pointed a gun at Mr. Atkinson, but a courageous woman grasped it and said her landlord must not be shot.


    On returning to Crow Hill "articles of amity" were drawn up and signed by Councillor Archdall and Fr. Taggart, each entering into security in the amount of £500 which was to be forfeited by the security of the party which broke the treaty.

    Over at Portadown lead was being used to put a new roof on the house of the Blacker Family at Carrick and it was "run" into bullets. Meanwhile, the valiant Dan Winter was defending hearth and home, saying that they would do so as long as he and his sons could fire a shot. In doing so one of their neighbours, McCann, was shot and several others wounded.

    During the ensuing Battle of the Diamond the Defenders were suddenly met by Blacker's Volunteers on the crest of the hill. Two tremendous volleys swept through their closely packed ranks and dozens fell dead and wounded. With a cheer the Protestants charged down the hill and chased the Defenders out of the Diamond.

    The Defenders attempted to make a final stand, but another Protestant charge proved effective and the Battle of the Diamond had been won and lost at Ruddock's Grange. All this before the military had arrived from Charlemont Fort! In their hasty and disorganised retreat the badly-mauled Defenders were intercepted by the Yeomanry and the troops marching from Charlemont. Before sunset, no fewer than 48 of them had paid the penalty with their lives.

    It is noteworthy that two of them, John Coey and Peter McCann - local men - were discovered to be wearing clothing belonging to Protestants whose houses had been plundered. Some of the bodies were not discovered until the fields of grain were reaped at harvest time. As they scurried from the Diamond the hapless Defenders left behind in the hands of the victorious Protestants old guns, rusty bayonets, fixed on poles, picks, spades, scythes, reaping hooks, tattered green uniforms, brogues, crosses, crucifixes, and several green and white flags, one of these being "Captain" Quigley's rallying standard. The latter was on white ground with a green shamrock border and on it was painted a representation of the Virgin Mary, presiding as a goddess. It had this inscription "deliver us from these heretic dogs and then we will be free."


    Today, more than 200 years after the Battle of the Diamond, descendants of those who created a part of Ireland's history continue to reside in the Diamond and surrounding townlands, actively engaged in the Orange Institution which was formed on the evening of that fateful day beside the home of that courageous stalwart, Dan Winter, and his family. The heroism of our forebears lives on in several ballads, such as "The Diamond Will Be Trumps Again."

Written by Douglas Sloan

The Siege of Londonderry

Sermon by The Reverend Ian Brown, Free Presbyterian Church, Londonderry
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