A HISTORY OF NEWTOWNARDS DISTRICT NO. 4
Newtownards District Orange Lodge No. 4 is the governing body of some twelve private lodges who meet in and around the town of Newtownards.
Newtownards is what is known in Ireland as a planter town; that is to say, it was established by Scotsman Sir Hugh Montgomery in 1606, when he was given a grant of land in Ireland by King James the First. Although there had been an earlier settlement by the Normans in the 12th century, by the time Montgomery arrived little was left of that town except the ruins of an old castle.
Sir Hugh Montgomery brought settlers from Scotland and England to help establish the town. Throughout the centuries the town has flourished and from those small beginnings there now sits a town of 28 000 inhabitants set in a Borough Council area home to 156 000 people.
The Orange Institution was formed in County Armagh in 1795 to defend the persons and property of the Protestants in that area and it spread rapidly throughout the whole of Ireland.
The first Orange lodge was set up in Newtownards in 1798 and played some part in fighting against the rebels in the uprising of that year. Such was the increase in lodges in Ireland that by the early years of the 1800s it was found necessary to establish superior lodges in local areas to manage the workings of Orangeism at the grassroots. These superior lodges were known as District lodges and were given numbers within a County structure.
Ards District Lodge No. 4, based in Newtownards was set up in those early years and it managed Orangeism in the North Down area, which was comprised of Holywood and Bangor through to Donaghadee and the Ards Peninsula (except Portaferry) to Newtownards and Comber. During the 19th century the number of lodges increased so much that by the beginning of the 20th century extra District Lodges had to be formed for the area. Upper Ards District No. 11 was formed in 1861, Holywood No. 14 and Comber No. 15 by 1885 and Bangor District No. 18 in the early years of the 20th century.
Newtownards District Lodge No. 4 has had a long and varied history both in wartime and peacetime. It was involved with William Johnston of Ballykilbeg in 1867 when they organised a large illegal protest parade from Newtownards to Bangor on the 12th of July against the iniquitous Party Processions Act that restricted the right to parade. It held large celebrations in the town on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. It also led the celebrations in the town on the Relief of Mafeking during the South African War. During the First and Second World Wars a large number of its members served in the armed forces and many died especially at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
The District Lodge has always contributed generously to charitable causes both within Orangeism and the wider community and each year it nominates a charity for members to raise funds for.
Newtownards District Lodge hosts the annual 12th of July demonstration once every four years at which we are joined by District Nos. 11, 14 and 18. As Newtownards is a very peaceable and loyal town it is hoped and expected that all will go over peacefully and enjoyably as it has done for more than a century.
Why not join us?
Newtownards District consists of twelve lodges making up a membership of over 300. Each lodge holds a monthly meeting, where issues affecting the lodge are discussed. Though much of the business is of a formal nature, there is much social gathering between the members as well, at parades and other events which are organised throughout the year. If you would like to talk to someone about joining, contact us