Opinions and attitudes expressed in signed articles are solely those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. We do not publish personal attacks on individuals or hysterical abuse.

Home page  Pictures  Glenwood Publications  Facing reality  What's new  Contact us  Ballynafeigh Archives 2001-2006

Articles  Reviews  Feedback  What we're about  links

Orangeism in Scotland

THE ORANGE ORDER originated in September 1795 after the Battle of the Diamond in Loughgall, Co. Armagh.  Here, Protestant residents successfully beat off an attack by a Catholic secret society called the Defenders.

And it wasn’t too long before Ulster’s most famous export made it’s way across the North Channel to Scotland.  Thus Ulster Protestants who emigrated to lowland Scotland for economic reasons founded the Orange Order in Scotland.  Recession in the linen industry forced many handloom weavers into ruin and the only way many of them could continue their trade was by migrating to Scotland where work was plentiful.

Ex-servicemen formed the first Scottish Orange lodges around 1807.  They had returned to Scotland after serving in government militia regiments used to suppress the 1798 United Irishmen rebellion.  However, early growth was very slow.  Indeed, the first recorded Scottish  ‘Twelfth’, held in Glasgow, was in 1821.

This all changed during the 1830s with the transformation of Scotland’s industrial landscape.  The modern textile industry replaced handloom weaving, and the coal and iron industries developed, as did shipbuilding.  This scale of industrialisation ensured the survival of Orangeism.  Indeed, it has often been noted that Scottish Orangeism is essentially a by-product of the Industrial Revolution.

Politically, the Scottish Orange was very active.  Their 'Use and Wont’ campaign – to keep Bible study in Schools – saw many Orangemen being elected to school boards in 1873.  After the Great War there was even an Orange and Protestant political party in Scotland.  Also of great interest was the Scottish Orange’s response to the Home Rule crisis.  Around 6,000 heard Carson at a meeting in Glasgow – where seven UVF companies were raised.

In 1835, Scottish Orangeism fell upon hard times.  This was because the Loyal Orange Institution of Great Britain and Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland were ‘dissolved’ for their part in the ‘Orange Conspiracy’.  This was a bizarre yet treasonable plot to place the Duke of Cumberland (Imperial Grand Master of the Loyal Institution of Great Britain and the Loyal Institution of Ireland) on the throne in place of Princess Victoria.  In addition, the reigning monarch, King William IV was to be deposed for sanctioning reform!

However, in 1836, the Orange reformed as the Grand Protestant Confederation of Great Britain, later known as the Grand Protestant Association of Loyal Orangemen of Great Britain.

The Orange Order is well known for its family and kinship traditions. This is particularly so in Scotland where there is much more than the annual Twelfth Walk or Burns’ supper.  Indeed, entire communities have evolved based on an ethic of communal solidarity and mutual aid.

ONE OF the most fascinating aspects of Orangeism is its family and kinship traditions.  Many Lodges can boast links between the generations that span hundreds of years.  Sons and daughters follow their parents into Lodges, where, in many cases, they will be related to other members.  These articles  first appeared in the increasingly popular e-zine, British Loyalists Newsletter www.worldwideloyalists.com  and demonstrate this generational link.  The authors both hail from the East End of Glasgow.  Due to a climate of anti-Orange hatred and bigotry, both wish to remain anonymous. 

Like Father …

 For years I had followed Orange parades.  I’d never thought or even contemplated how I could become a member.  I was never approached by any members on the road to ask me why I was not on the road with them.

But five years ago that changed.  One member approached me and asked why I was always at the side of the road, and why did I not join.  I told him I was waiting to be asked.  He asked, I said yes, and the rest is history, but not quite.

After certain events, my date for joining the Order was set.  Me  - and my wee pal Joe - joined at the same time.  My first meeting I was a bag of nerve's.  My nerve's got worse at a certain other meeting, months further down the line.

Since that day, I have learned so much more of what my heritage and culture is all about.  I have also learned so much more about the Protestant faith, from Reformationists to Covenanters.  I have made bonds of Brotherhood, which will never be broken. Plus, I’ve made friends from all over the world.

On a wet November morning I made my first parade as an Orangeman.  Now following parades, I loved the music.  I loved that first tap of a drum.  But this was different, this time I was on the road.  The feeling of pride can’t be easily described on paper, but the hairs on the back of my neck were standing.

It’s no wonder I'm proud to be an Orangeman. 

Like Son …

 For years I had wanted to join the Orange Order.  I had marched beside the Orangemen with my Father each year from six years old.  At that age the walks seemed to last miles, with the 12th celebrations taking a heavy toll on my young legs.  But nothing would stop me from marching beside my icons and hero's.  I loved the men and woman all dressed up in suits, dresses and hats, they looked so proud to be marching along.  The reason to me at this time was unknown, but I had a burning curiosity and desire to learn about Orangeism.

My downfall was I had never been one for learning things when I was younger.  So my desire although strong was tapered by my laziness to learn new idea's.

I followed each year, until one year my Father eventually joined.  After years of wishing to become a member he had entered the fold.  It had now became easy for me. My desire grew greater to the point where all I would speak about was the Orange Order.  I was like a radio!

I eventually joined in November 1998.  Although I wished to join for so many years, I felt no nerves on the few days beforehand, even after my investigation still I felt it was just my natural progression in life.  I was to become an Orangeman and nothing would stop me.

My day of initiation arrived, still I felt no nerves.  But during my initiation I was overcome with nerves, I was shaking like a leaf.  After it I just sat and felt this burning pride within myself.  It lasted weeks.  I would sit in work and say to myself “I'm an Orangeman”.

It was a pride I had never felt before, I thought nothing could compare to this.  But then the day arrived when I took my Royal Arch Purple, and that is unrivalled.  But then that's another story...


Home page Pictures Glenwood Publications  Facing reality  What's new  Contact us  Ballynafeigh  Articles Archives 2001-2006

Reviews Images of the Twelfth  Feedback  What we're about  links

Copyright © 2000 - 2007  Glenwood Publications. All rights reserved.