The Lodge started life on the 15th September, 1828 and held the number L.O.L. 1237. The Warrant, (which is still in the possession of a Lodge member), was issued to Thomas McKinney of Ballylane, and the Lodge was known as “Ballylane Orange Heroes.” Again as there are no documents one must rely on stories and nostalgic reminisces passed down from father to son, but by all accounts Thomas McKinney seemed to have been somewhat of a character. He enforced a bye-law for example that all Lodge members must wear a pair of buff coloured moleskin trousers, and he led the Lodge to demonstrations on horseback. The Lodge apparently sat at his house, and until recent times the compass and square enhanced the look of the garden gate.
In 1873 the Lodge took out a new number and warrant which was a common practice at the time. The new Lodge number was L.O.L. 620 which had been previously held by Belleek, also of Markethill District, and who had acquired their new number 528. The new warrant was issued on 2nd December, 1873 and was signed by the then County Grand Master, Rt. Wor. Bro. Winfield Verner. (It may be of interest to note that although the Grand Lodge had dissolved itself after the Cumberland Plot, certain counties namely Armagh and Down continued to issue warrants and this is the reason there are so many duplicate numbers; L.O.L. 620 had a duplicate number in Saintfield, Co. Down).
For some reason in the early years of 620 the Lodge did not seem to have a home of its own and enjoyed the hospitality of various halls and houses for their meetings. They met for some time in Mountnorris Orange Hall, Lemmon’s house and other (probably members) homes in the Glenanne area. The last of these being Sydney Russell’s barn at Loughgilly before the move to the new hall at Lurgaross in 1936. During the nomadic years the Lodge acquired the rather ‘tongue-in-cheek’ title of “The Hounds,” an obvious reference to the number of times the Lodge had been hounded from one meeting place to another. However, in 1936 under the guidance of the then Worshipful Master Bob Bell the new hall was opened and the Lodge’s wandering days had ended
The Lodge seemed to have ran many socials and dances in the post war years, and would appear to have become somewhat of a social centre for the area. It would have been about this time that the hall was affectionately known as “Tin Town,” a reference to the corrugated iron construction of the hall at the time. An annual picnic seems also to have been a favourite event. This was held in June or July to various fields and venues, and would appear to have been a very popular outing for both young and old.
Lurgaross was always known as a drumming Lodge and no-one can remember having a band to lead them on the ’12th’ However, for a few years just after the war the services of two pipers were used. This was a common practice for Lodges at the time. Again Lambeg drums have made an appearance leading the Lodge on the ’12th’ since 1985 after an absence of about 20 years.
In 1986 due mainly to necessity, the Lodge undertook an extensive renovation of the hall. The work took about three years and was completed in 1989. The hall is now a more comfortable and secure building than the old tin structure but many of the original details have been left and the hall has not lost any of its character.
The Lodge has not been spared the torment of terrorism, and in late 1982 had two of its members murdered by the IRA. The first was Bro. Tommy Cochrane, a Part-time Sergeant in the UDR, who was abducted on 22nd October and found shot dead in South Armagh on 27th October. A memorial banner to his memory was unfurled in 1983 and depicts his portrait and the UDR crest. This banner was donated by a Lodge member. On 16th November 1982 whilst performing duty at the security barriers in Newry Street, Markethill, Bro. Snowden Corkey, a member of the RUC Reserve, was shot dead along with another colleague. Both these Brethren are remembered on a memorial plaque in the hall, which was unveiled on 10th June 1989 by the wives of Tommy and Snowden.