Mullabrack Orange Lodge meets in its own Orange Hall built in 1931, beside the main Markethill / Portadown Road, approximately 1.5 miles from the town of Markethill. Traditionally, it has always been one of the largest Lodges in the District and it draws most of its membership from around the Mullabrack area itself.
The Lodge Warrant was first issued in 1798, three years after the Battle of the Diamond in 1795, and was itself the year of the United Irishmen rebellion. The fact that the Lodge Warrant was issued in the same year as this rebellion should be seen as no coincidence as the Warrant was issued to Brother John McMullen of an “Armagh Regiment.” Whilst the name of the Regiment is not given, it most probably was one of the local militias or yeomanry units raised in Co. Armagh to counter the rebellion that year. This view is given more credence by the fact that the Warrant was a “travelling” one, which allowed the Lodge to meet in whatever location or venue in which its members found themselves. So, if the “Armagh Regiment” was posted out of the Co. Armagh area, the Warrant went with it, thus allowing the Lodge to meet.
The title of the Lodge “Hearts of Steel” also gives an indication as to its origins. In the latter part of the 18th century, Ulster and particularly Co. Armagh was in the grip of an ongoing land war between both Roman Catholic and Protestant farmers. Both groups, due to the small acreage of land available to a dense rural population, often came to blows (and much worse) in arguments over who owned the land. Gangs were formed with the Catholic “Defenders” being the largest and best organised. Their counterparts on the Protestant side were the “Peep o’ Day Boys” and the “Hearts of Steel,” many of whom (and obviously so in the case of L.O.L. No. 1406) were later to be submerged into the newly formed Orange Order.
The first mention of the Warrant of L.O.L. No. 1406 “coming home” to Mullabrack seems to have been around 1856, when it was renewed by a Brother William Singleton, who was also Worshipful District Master of Markethill. Since then, the Lodge has formed an integral part of the life of the Mullabrack area, and has had close connections with the local Church of Ireland parish, St. John’s, where the Lodge holds its annual Church service on the first Sunday in July. That connection was re-emphasised when a portrait of the Parish Church was included on the new Lodge banner, unfurled in July 1989.
The Lodge had always a history of being a “drumming” Lodge. Since the end of World War II, the drums have been replaced by a flute band which was associated with the Lodge until its demise in the mid-1950s, and more recently by the Mullabrack Accordion Band, formed in 1984.
A final point of note was the unfurling of a new banner on 12th July 1989. The banner, as indicated previously, bears a portrait of St. John’s Parish Church on one side and the late Brother Charles Spence, who was murdered by the enemies of Ulster in November, 1982, on the other side. This banner now serves as a sombre reminder to us all of the supreme sacrifice which has been made by so many for the old cause.