“A History of Orangeism in the Glenavy District”
The following is an extract taken from “A History of Orangeism in the Glenavy District – A Tercentenary Booklet 1690 – 1990” with the kind permission of the officers and Brethren in Glenavy District.
Fourscore True Blues L.O.L. 340
The lodge was working in the Fourscore area in the 1830’s. First mention of the Lodge was at the laying of the foundation stone of Fourscore School by Fortesque Gregg on the 12th July, 1837.
The W. Master was Worshipful Brother George Lyons. Other Brethren were brothers Thomas Green, Robert Thompson, John Wickliffe, William John Smyth, David Gray, Thomas Wheeler.
John Wickliffe was a long serving secretary of the Lodge – born early 1800’s – was still active in 1892 aged 86.
In 1892 Worshipful Brother William John Smyth was W.M. followed by Worshipful Brother John Johnston of Weir House, Glenavy who died in 1921.
Other Worshipful Masters were Worshipful Brother:- George Edward Ingram, sen., Alex Ferguson, James Arbuckle, George Edward Ingram Jnr., Robert Harkness, James Crawford, George Edward Ingram, Jnr., Stanley Lowry, James Tinsley (Sen.), Norman McKnight and William Stewart.
The Lodge now have 48 Brethren on roll.
The school closed on 30th September, 1952 and was handed back to Glenavy Parish Church by the Education Authorities. The lodge purchased it from the Parish for a Hall. After extensive renovation by the Brethren it was opened as Fourscore Orange hall on the 2nd October 1954 by brother Samuel Johnston, Weir House.
After three separate attempts by terrorists it was completely destroyed by fire on the 6th April 1979.
After rebuilding the hall was re-opened by the Rev. William McCrea on the 3rd May 1982. Dedicated by the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Rev. Martin Smyth. On that occasion the Chairman was Worshipful Brother Henry McF. Stewart.
The Officers of Lodge at the Opening were:-
Worshipful Master – James Tinsley
Deputy Master – Norman McKnight
Chaplain – Wm. Stewart
Secretary – Eric McKnight
Treasurer – George Edward Ingram, Past Master
Further to this history published above the lodge submitted a history for publication in “The Faithful and True – a History of Orangeism in County Antrim.”
Unfortunately the hall again was attacked and badly damaged on 31st August 1995 followed by a second attack on 1st June 1996.
As repairs took place, the hall was faithfully guarded by a group of members during the night for approximately five weeks. In an effort to stop further attacks taking place it was deemed necessary to have roller shutter doors fitted and all windows sealed. The interior of the hall also required to be completely decorated.
Membership of the Lodge has fluctuated between 45 and 51. There is a long history of lambed drums at the Fourscore and drums are taken on the Twelfth day. The Lodge also hold an annual drumming match.
Drooth, dreams and temperance
THE DIGGER looks back at the thorny issue of alcohol and the church
ON the 6th April, 1816 it was reported by the Belfast Newsletter that the innkeeper at Dundrod, David Mairs, lost the thatched roof from his dwelling house and adjoining barn during what was described as a “singular weather phenomenon.”
The report states that “a severe shower of hail, accompanied with loud peals of thunder, a body of matter was observed resembling a little dark cloud stretching itself to the ground and wreathing like that part of a water-spout which may be seen in a fluctuating state before it bursts.”
Some of the thatch from Mr. Mair’s homestead was located three quarters of a mile away.
Almost 20 years later the Ordnance Survey Memoirs make a brief reference to the “hamlet of Dundrod” and informs us that Dundrod “is merely a collection of 12 dirty-looking cottages and one two-storey house occupied as a whiskey shop.”
The Rev. Charles Watson in his book “Glenavy: Past and Present” (1892) makes reference to an area known as the Fourscore:
This place, so named on account of a four-score acre field, lies near Knockcairn, and possesses one of the finest country schools in the parish. Before being built, the school was held in a building at the Ligger Bridge, on the road to Crumlin, the walls of which were pulled down about two years ago. The foundation stone of Fourscore was laid by Fortescue Gregg, Esq., on July 12, 1837. The Orangemen attended in great numbers, George Lyons, Master of Lodge 340, Thomas Green, Robert Thompson, John Wickliffe, Wm. John Smyth, David Gray, and Thomas Wheeler being among the number. It was not opened till 1840, owing to Mr. Gregg’s death. The school-room and teacher’s residence were, however, completed by subscription. Mr. William Scott, uncle of the present Mr. William Scott, of Fourscore, was the first teacher. It was then under the Church Education Society, but the Rev. Ross Jebb, Vicar, placed it under the National Board. When the Rev. Edward Johnson-Smyth came to the parish, in 1852, he again put it under the Church Education Society; but, in 1885, it was again put in connexion with the Board by the present vicar, after many improvements, to which the people generously subscribed. The teachers have been Messrs. W. Scott, William Boston, John M’Farland, W. Crawford Bradshaw, and now Mr. James Farr occupies that post. Near Fourscore lives Mr. John Wickliffe, who, though in his 86th year, never misses attending the parish church and the meetings of the select vestry. His wife, who is a year older, is still both chatty and cheerful.
The Fourscore lies within the townland of Ballymoneymore. The 1830’s Ordnance Survey map records the acreage for this townland to be just over 146 acres.(146 acres and 1 perch). There are a number of prominent forts marked in this town land. These three forts appear as raths on modern maps now. The current Fourscore Orange Hall occupies the site of a former schoolhouse and is located at the junction of the Tullyrusk Road and what is known locally as “Codger’s Lane”. On the 1830’s map there appears not to be a building at this point and the Four Score School House is marked NNW of this location at a place known and marked as “Ligger Bridge”. This confirms the Rev. Watson’s account of the Fourscore.
Outside Fourscore Orange Hall
On the rear of the original photograph the following surnames are written:
Young, Crawford, Lowry, Campbell, Lowry, Steel, Crawford and Tinsley.
The number “55” has also been written on the rear of the photograph indicating it may have been taken in 1955?
The following is an extract from the Ulster Star on 18th May 1963 and is used with permission of the paper.
Fourscore LOL 340 (Ladies’ Committee)
A Mystery Tour will be held on Saturday, 1st june, 1963. Cars to assemble at Fourscore Orange Hall at 6 0’clock pm. Passengers 5 shillings. Drivers free. Children under 10 years 2s 6d. Please keep this date free.
Orange Hall Blast
The following extract is from the Ulster Star dated 24th April 1971 and appears with permission of the Ulster Star.
Police search for clues after Orange Hall blast
Police and army personnel searching for clues to the series of mystery attacks on Orange Halls in the Dundrod area at the weekend are convinced that the same gang is responsible.
The gang struck first at Mount Orange Hall, Ballydonaghy just over an hour after the Saturday night dance had closed down.
An explosion wrecked the building causing severe damage to the roof and walls. Up to five pounds of gelignite is assumed to have been planted in the building before hand.
But the raiders did not stop there. Three men were disturbed by Mr. Hugh James McCartney at Dundrod Orange Hall at 2a.m. on Sunday.
Experts called to the scene found a five gallon tin of diesel oil connected to a fuse and detonator lying beside the hall. Two windows were broken.
When chased by Mr. McCartney the raiders made off in a car towards the Hannahstown direction.
At Fourscore Orange Hall, Dundrod a similar contraption was found. But it did not ignite either.
Widower Hugh scared off night raiders.
Prompt action by 68 year old widower Hugh McCartney helped save the Orange Hall which he looks after and his home from being burned down.
He got up from his bed at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning last to chase off intruders bent on setting fire to Dundrod Orange Hall.
And as he relaxed at his cottage home adjoining the hall he reflected on the words from army and police chiefs.
Said Hugh, a widower for 24 years: “They told me that if I had not come on the scene the hall and my home would have been in ashes.”
Former local postman Hugh is a well known figure in the area. He has been a caretaker at Dundrod for 32 years. His father was a caretaker at Dundrod Presbyterian Church which is only a matter of yards away.