Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ballysillan LOL 1891

The Orange Order was founded in county Armagh in 1795 and the first Orange lodge in Belfast was formed in 1796.
However Ballysillan was a largely rural area until the start of the 20th century and it was well into the 19th century before an Orange lodge was formed in the area.

On 5 September 1865 the County Grand Lodge of Belfast authorised John Armstrong, James Gray, James Crothers, James McClean, Samuel Young, Thomas Mitchell, Thomas Riddell, William Armstrong and William Lutton to form a lodge that would be named Ballysillan LOL 1891.  The lodge was attached to number 3 district.
It is believed that the lodge originally met in the Cat-Cairn Quarry at Ligoniel and that for a number of years the meetings were held in a rear room of Squire's Hill Tavern, Upper Ballysillan.
The first Orange Hall at Ligoniel was built by the lodge in 1868 and on the afternoon of Sunday 27 September 1868 Rev Henry Henderson preached a sermon in Ballysillan Presbyterian Church in connection with 'the proposed Protestant Hall' at Ligoniel.  Henderson was minister of 1st Holywood Presbyterian Church and wrote in the News-Letter under the pseudonym Ulster-Scot.  His text was Jude 3 and his subject was The Religious Duties of Protestants at this Crisis.  There was a large attendance and £60 was raised for the hall, with the famous Orangeman William Johnston of Ballykilbeg being one of the collectors.

Today Ballysillan LOL 1891 is approaching its 150th anniversary.  There may well have been and almost certainly were individual Orangemen in the area before that but the first Orange lodge was organised almost 150 years ago.


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