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Fraternal Organisation

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Did you know?

Twenty facts related to the Battle of the Boyne

1) William rode a dark horse, and not a white one, at the Battle of the Boyne. A white horse in battle would have made the rider an easy target for the enemy. He did acquire a light-coloured horse, which became his favourite. It’s name was Sorrel.

2) William Prince of Orange was not only a cousin of King James II, he was also his son-in-law. 

3) When William, Prince of Orange, landed at Brixham in November 1688 and moved on London, King James II was forced to flee. He was, however, captured by fishermen and brought back to London and imprisoned. James would later ‘escape’ and mount an attempt to retake his throne.
4) The Battle of the Boyne was fought on 1 July 1690. Loyal Order celebrations take place on 12 July because the calendar was changed in 1752 – adding 11 days – and thus changing the anniversary date to 12 July. 

5) In places the Boyne River was not very wide so Williamite and Jacobite soldiers could hear each other’s conversations on the eve of the battle!

6) The Pope quietly supported King William III in his campaign against James II and Louis XIV. 

7) The Glorious Revolution and the subsequent campaign in Ireland and Scotland cemented the only period when we have had a Joint Monarchy in the British Isles. William and Mary had exactly the same powers under the new settlement. 

8) Several Nationalities were to see combat in the armies that fought at the Battle of the Boyne. These included French, Dutch, German, and Swiss. 

9) Casualties. Many casualties did not die directly in battle but would die from secondary infections such as blood poisoning, cholera or disease. 

10) William’s principal commander in Ireland, prior to the Battle of the Boyne was the Duke of Schomberg. He had previously served King Louis XIV of France.

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11) The Siege of Londonderry lasted 105 days – one of the longest in modern Western European history.

12) A Mighty Armada. In June 1690 newspaper reports recorded that there were so many Williamite Ships in what is now Belfast Lough, that a person might be able to walk from Carrickfergus to Groomsport without getting their feet wet!

13) The official colour of the Williamite army at the Battle of the Boyne was…Green! Because so many of the soldiers were dressed the same, they tended to adopt colours to show who was on each side. At the Boyne the Jacobites wore the colour white on their uniforms and Williams soldiers broke off small twigs and sprigs of green to wear in theirs. 

14) King William III was almost killed the night before the Battle of the Boyne. Accompanied by a number of officers, he was slowly reviewing where the Jacobite army was dispersed on the south side of the river, when a keen-eyed Jacobite gunnery party fired a cannon. William was knocked off his horse and wounded. The event became know as the fortunate escape of William III.

15) Orange Lodges originally carried large flags before these evolved into the banners we see today. 

16) The first ‘official’ Twelfth of July celebrations took place on Lord Gosford’s demesne, Markethill, in 1796. 

17) A Sweet tooth. During the redevelopment of Hampton Court Palace for King William III and Queen Mary (1690), Christopher Wren included the creation of The Chocolate Kitchens. Chocolate was an expensive luxury and was enjoyed by the King and Queen each morning!

18) Did you know that two Popes fought for King William at the Boyne! Lt. Colonel Pope and Lieutenant Pope from John Coy’s regiment. 

19) A man called John Collis was paid £23.00 for providing fireworks to celebrate King William III’s birthday on 4 November 1690!

20) The Lambeg Drum. One theory is that the Lambeg Drum evolved from the large drums that arrived in Ireland with the two armies during the war to secure the Glorious Revolution. These were used to beat out order and commands on the battlefield. Centuries later they had evolved into one of the loudest musical instruments in the World and are unique to Ulster. 

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