Markethill District Loyal Orange Lodge is one of eleven districts in Co. Armagh. The District has a proud history, stretching back to the formation of the first Orange Lodges, following the Battle of the Diamond in 1795. Lodges were formed in most townlands at the time, and the areas around Markethill were no exception. The first Minute Book of the Grand Orange Lodge of Irealnd is dated 1798, the basis for Grand Lodge having been established in 1797. Lodges had come together to form Districts, with James Sloan of Loughgall the titular head of the movement.
Markethill District Lodge has fourteen Warrant numbers, two of which are dormant Warrants – L.O.L. No. 167 and 510. Of the remaining twelve Lodges, each has their own Orange Hall. It is a widespread District area, stretching from Tullyhappy (near Bessbrook) to Redrock (close to Armagh) and from Belleek (in South Armagh) to Mullabrack.
First Orange Parade
The first recorded local Orange parade was on 12th July 1796 in the Earl of Gosford’s Estate.
In 1930 the very first County 12th Demonstration in Markethill, the field being on the Newry Road, belonging to Mr F L Mallagh; other County Parades have been held in the town in 1959, 1969, 1980, 1991, and 2003 , the next County Demonstration is due to be held in Markethill in 2014.
Annual Church Service
We are not sure when the district held it’s first Annual Service but it was held on the last Sunday of July for many years, but was changed to the Sunday prior to the 12th at a District meeting in April 1968. This is one of the highlights on the Orange calendar within the District which is well supported by members from all Lodges in the District. The service visits a different Church each year with the parade being led by the District bannerette and colours. The collection each year goes to the Lord Enniskillen Orange Orphanage fund .
The District has had a number of bannerettes with records of one purchased in 1949 at a cost of £46. Further bannerettes where purchased in 1962, 1988 and the current bannerette displaying the Bible and Crown in 2003.
During the October District meeting in 1983 a decision was made to look at the possibility of purchasing an Arch for erection on the main street in Markethill, after much fund raising the arch was purchased . It was dedicated and opened on July 7th 1984 by Bro. Jim Nicholson MP and Bro. Rev. E D Smyth . The now Annual mini 12th parade held on the Saturday prior to the 12th is main focus of the District , it is primarily a Family night with a short parade of the town and then variety of musical items and a scripture address.
Ladies Lodges in Markethill District
There are a number of Women’s Loyal Orange Lodges in the Markethill District area, these are:
- Anne Sinton Memorial W.L.O.L. 105
- Mountnorris W.L.O.L. 24
- Daughters of Anne Sinton Memorial J.W.L.O.L. 24
Bands & Drums
Bands have always played an important part in parades within Markethill District, there are 8 in the district they include:
- Tullyhappy Accordion
- Kilcluney Volunteers Flute
- Markethill Protestant Boys Flute
- Markethill Pipe
- John Hunter Accordion Band Mountnorris
- Belleek Accordion
- Enagh Accordion
- Mullabrack Accordion