L.O.L. 241's original warrant from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland was first issued in Newtownards District in 1856 according to Grand Lodge records, although further research from other sources indicates that the warrant was first issued as a military one by the Grand Orange Lodge of Great Britain in 1823 to 29th- Regiment of Foot who were stationed in Donaghadee at the time. Later becoming the Worcestershire Regiment, they went on to have a distinguished service history as part of the British Army. These military lodges were disbanded at the request of the King and were returned to civilian hands, thus enabling the warrant to remain in Donaghadee, and under the jurisdiction of G.O.L.I. Differences of opinion led to the formation of Upper Ards District No. 11 around 1861, with LOL 241 taking a leading role in it's inception. Since then our members have witnessed the Great Potato Famine, been involved, some paying the ultimate sacrifice, in Crimea, South Africa (Boer War), First World War, Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, Second World War and other smaller conflicts between and since including our own strife torn decades since 1969. This for King, Queen and Country. No Surrender is an apt name. They have also down the years stood for civil and religious liberty for all, walking in support of the great bard Bro; William Johnstone of Ballykillbeg against the Processions Act. This walk, which was deemed illegal, took place between Newtownards and Bangor in 1867 gaining the support of upwards of 30,000 people.
We have met in our Hall in Manor Street for many years; it was part of the De Lacherois estate. Major Daniel De Lacherois being of French Huguenot stock and a proud member of LOL 241. A painting of the Crossing of the Boyne by William III that he executed and donated to the Lodge in 1883 stills hangs behind the Worshipful Masters chair in pride of place. The estate passed in due course to the Stone family, then to the Days. We have always had a warm and friendly relationship with them down the years. This then is a potted history of one of the Lodges in Donaghadee, the others being L.O.L. 781 and L.O.L. 836 not forgetting W.L.O.L. No; 57. All fine Lodges in themselves and whom we work closely and in harmony with. This cannot tell you all that is in the workings of an Orange Lodge, but may go some way to explain its history and why members take such pride in the colours that they wear.
Portavogie True Blues L.O.L. 552
Portavogie possesses the oldest warrant number in North Down. LOL 552 originally sat in Portaferry. It was founded in 1797 with 55 members but in 1840 the lodge moved to Portavogie. The current warrant in possession of 552 was issued on 18th June 1892 by Grand Lodge to Bro. George Mahood then the Worshipful Master. Prior to the building of the current Orange Hall the lodge sat in premises belonging to the Ennis family now the site of 3 Cloughey Road. The longest serving Worshipful Master was Johm McMullan who held office from 1926 to 1939. During his time in the chair the lodge paid him the sum of £1.0.0 for house work carried out in the hall in 1934. Also amongst the receipts for 1934 was one for the hire of a 32 seat minibus from Portavogie to Kircubbin on 1st July for £1.10.00 and another for dues to the District Lodge for 10 shillings and sixpence.LOL 552 has had some well beloved Brethren. A headstone in Ballyeasborough graveyard erected by the Brethren of LOL 552 in memory of Bro. Alexander McConnell who died 23rd July 1906 aged 86 years is only one such example.
Various arches and banners too numerous to mention have been in possession of LOL 552, the largest banner hangs in the hall and measures 7ft x 7ft and was unfurled around 1960 and accompanied the Brethren on their visit to Scotland in the early 1970’s. LOL 552 has been fortunate that it has always had a good membership and can boast the best turnout in No. 11 District at many Twelfth demonstrations.
The laying of the foundation stone of Portavogie Orange Hall was reported in the Belfast News Letter of February 6th, 1873. The paper noted that several clergymen had been present at the event, and an Orange procession had been held from the school-house to the platform, where William Keown MP of Ballydugan House presided. Lodges from Greyabbey, Kircubbin, Ballyhalbert, Ballyeastboro' Kirkiston, Cloughey and Portaferry were represented at the historic occasion.
Portaferry L.O.L. 673
LOL 673 was formed in 1807 with John Clarke as Worshipful Master, and met in a house in Church Street which was owned by Bro. McCappin. After a few years the Lodge moved to Church Road to the Church Of Ireland Boys School. In 1872 LOL 673 moved again and this was to their new hall, which with the help of the Nugent family was built and paid for in a couple of years. Up to 1910 the Lodge was attached to Lecale District LOL No. 2 but in that year LOL 673 transferred to Upper Ards District LOL No. 11. Special mention must be made of Lieutenant Commander Mark McDonald who was Worshipful Master from 1912 to 1919 and was largely responsible for the present structure within the lodge. From the minutes of 1898 arrangements for the 12th July included the lodge engaging Elliotts for six horses and carts at a cost of £3.10.0 At the turn of the century if any member was absent for three consecutive meetings LOL 673 had a rule that the member be summoned to attend the next time the lodge met.
Entertainment in this era included dancing classes and shooting for a goose. In 1914 communication was received from County Grand Lodge containing disapproval of members of the order who were physically fit but had not joined the Ulster Volunteer Force. Portaferry replied by agreeing with County but stressed that the finger could not be pointed at them. In may 1915 the lodge heard of the sad loss of Bro. W.J. McClusky who was one of the first to answer the call for King and Country. In 1917 the lodge band disbanded due to the war and a piper was engaged to fulfil the position. By April 1918 things had improved and a new band called Portaferry Unionist Flute Band formed. The following resolution was sent to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Lord Craigavon and the Hon. H. Mullholland in 1932, that we the members of LOL 673 condemn the action of those responsible for the removal of a Union Flag from Newry Town Hall, and call on the Government to make it compulsory to fly the Union Flag on all Government and State buildings including schools. In 1932 the 12th demonstration was held in Portaferry. During this time it was lodge tradition to attend all church services without a band and this policy lasted to some time after World War II. A set of new drums was purchased in 1948 and dedicated to the memory of John Matthews who fell in World War II. The Nugent family again came to the assistance of the lodge by offering the purchase of the property they rented for the sum of £3.15.0. Lady Nugent unfurled the new lodge banner in 1968 and LOL 673 had the privilege to host the 12th Demonstration in 1984.