Orangeism in Blackburn in the 1860's

 Blackburn Coat of Arms

‘Blackburn – On Saturday 12 July, the brethren of lodge 163, met in their room at the house of Mr Briggs, Mason’s Arms, Northgate, to celebrate the glorious Battle of the Boyne.  The room was beautifully decorated with appropriate flags, banners and evergreens; and at 3 o’clock the lodge was opened with prayer, by Bro the Rev T Sharples, chaplain to the lodge, when 8 young men of promise were initiated.  The lodge being closed and dinner on the table, 100 sat down to partake of the excellent repast, enlivened by Brother Pedder’s band playing the Boyne Water, Croppies lie down, &c., stationed under the window of the lodge room, which acted like a magic on all who were dining, and the street was crowded with smiling faces.  After dinner the chair was occupied by Brother Harwood, W.M., and the vice-chair by Brother John Charlton, WDM.  ‘The Queen’ was the first toast given, after which the National Anthem was sung.  The Chaplain then rose and delivered a most excellent address, plainly demonstrating that the liberties we now enjoy were chiefly attributable, under Divine Providence, to that great and good man,  William the Third, Prince of Orange, and his followers; admonishing all present to be faithful to the end.  He sat down amidst rounds of applause and Kentish fire.  The Rev C Robinson, in a very energetic address, beautifully established the protestant religion as being of Divine origin, and plainly proved that Puseyism was nothing else but gross popery.  The Rev Wm Hartley also, in a neat speech, spoke highly on the principles of Orangeism.  The rev gentlemen then retired, with three-times-three and Orange fire.  After several toasts from the chair, Brother Samuel Arnold, agent for the Banner, gave ‘The Clergy of Blackburn’, and Brother Laurence Byrom gave ‘W H Hornby, Esq, and the Tory gentlemen of the borough’, followed by Orange honours.  The chairman called upon the vice-chairman for a song, ‘The Old Loyal Orangeman’, which filled every heart with joy.  At the conclusion the National Anthem was sung with great spirit, and the company separated full of satisfaction and delight.  The spark of Orangeism in Blackburn is fast growing into a flame, so that all the holy water between here and Rome will not be able to quench it.’

In July 1868 an Orange parade took place in Blackburn.  The newspaper report headed ‘Serious Disturbance at Blackburn’ wrote: ‘On Saturday last a disturbance took place between the Liberals and the Orangemen of Blackburn.  Both bodies had been holding a demonstration on the occasion of the opening of the public baths.  When the company which had attended the mayor’s luncheon were leaving the baths on their return to the town, the ringing of the church bells was proclaiming the near approach of the great Orange procession – the first of its kind ever held in Blackburn … although there was an immense crowd wearing not only the well-known party insignia, but orange-coloured ribbons and orange coloured ties and even in the case of many young women – though, these, numbering many thousands walked in array and made a plentiful display of banners … A large number of the Liberal body headed by a band of music, were proceeding from the Moor to the Reform Club along Church Street and when at a street crossing opposite the Old Bull Hotel, they met the Orangemen.  The ranks of the Liberal bandsmen were broken up and although some of the leaders of the Liberals tried their utmost to prevent anything like a disturbance, the Orangemen closed up their ranks, and after a good deal of provocation and display of party colours from both sides a general scrimmage took place … After the procession the Orangemen partook of tea in the assembly room of the Town Hall.  About 1,000 persons were present, a large number of whom were women.  After tea the meeting was presided over by Alderman James Thompson, and addresses were delivered by Mr E Harper, Mr Touchstone, Rev R Mayall and Mr W Webb and others’.


Read about Blackburn Orange Hall.

Manchester Orange

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William III, Prince of Orange

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