The Orange Order

Orange Standard 1
Orange Standard 1

When William Prince of Orange landed in England in 1688 the protestants of Britain flocked to support him, and in an attempt to organise the followers his Chaplain Gilbert Burnett, later Bishop of Salisbury, founded the Orange Association in Exeter Cathedral. The British people joined William's cause which became known as the Glorious Revolution, and King James II who had wanted to impose Roman Catholicism on the country was forced to flee to France. The Bill of Rights 1689 and the Act of Settlement of 1701 guaranteed rights that we now take for granted, and in particular stress that the Monarch cannot become nor marry a member of the Church of Rome. The Association was "an engagement of Nobles, Knights and Gentlemen to assist the Prince of Orange in defence of the Protestant Religion and the Liberties of England" and spread throughout the British Isles.

Over the next century it fell into decline, however in Ireland where the Protestants had often banded together in self defence, in County Armagh in the 1790's they were subject to violent attacks by a secret society called the Defenders. Following the Battle of the Diamond at Loughall in 1795 the system of Orange Lodges was organised for mutual defence, and these quickly spread throughout the world. New lodges were founded in Volunteer and Yeomenry Regiments in the army and when these returned to England they brought Orange Lodges with them. The first lodge was founded by members of Colonel Stanley's Regiment of Lancashire Militia in 1798 and by 1807 the first Orange Parade had taken place on the mainland.

The Grand Orange Lodge of England was founded in Manchester in 1807 and the lodges given an organised structure. Later Liverpool became the stronghold of Orangeism in England.

The first lodge in Sheffield was started in 1811 by members of the 3rd West Yorkshire Militia and by the 1850's a Sheffield District was operating around the Solly Street area. The headquarters of the District were in St. Luke's Church, Garden Street where Rev. S.G. Potter was District Master. The present Sheffield male lodge, the John E. Bingham L.O.L. 844 was founded in 1913 and has met in the city continuously since.