The Virtual Twelfth

Welcome to the Twelfth Celebrations of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution. We hope you join with us and enjoy this family orientated festival of faith, freedom and the future.

Welcome from the Imperial Grand Master, James Anderson

I am delighted to welcome you to our Virtual Twelfth as Grand Master of our Institution. it is an exciting new venture for us and we hope you will all enjoy the Online Orange Day and join with us as we take all the best bits of the day and put them together into a package that you and and all the family can enjoy.

The County Grand Lodge of Antrim have organised a festival leading up to the Twelfth. Many of you will not realise that as soon as one Twelfth ends there are  many behind the scenes in our Order who are already planing for the next year. Indeed I would like to pay tribute to all those who organise our events and activities, and to all those who turn up and enjoy them I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the hard work that goes in. This year despite those plans and preparations, the Corona Virus Pandemic has meant that they all have had to be changed. Therefore  I want to congratulate the committee on how they have worked to take all the events online, and to provide a virtual experience that we can not only enjoy this year, but which will act as a showcase for our cause and its culture for years to come.

For the many Independents who over past decades have emigrated and for their descendants in America, Canada and Australia this will be the first time they can relive the Twelfths of their youth, and explain to younger generations just what a special day this is. It is  also a marvellous way for those interested in Orangeism, or members of the other Loyal Orders   to see how we do things. Just as many of us have had the privilege of watching other church services online recently we welcome visitors and hope that you will enjoy our messages and music.

Since our last 12th Celebrations, we as an organisation remembered the Centenary of Northern Ireland and the birth of our nation. Commemorations and how it unites a nation demonstrate the power and necessity of commemorating the past, and giving thanks for what we see as God’s deliverance in dark, dangerous times. It is part of our identity, it contributes to who we are today, and it also teaches us lessons for the future. We are all acutely aware of how Britain looked back to its wartime experience as a way of coping with the present pandemic.  Similarly we look back to the events of the Glorious Revolution as both part of our identity and to draw inspiration and guidance for the future.

We hope our Virtual Twelfth will excite, engage and inspire you. As you watch and learn take a moment to consider if you would like to join us next year for the real thing. No matter how hard we have worked to capture the spirit of the day, nothing beats the Real Twelfth

Brethren, Sisters, bandsmen, bandsgirls and supporters can I take this opportunity on behalf of Grand Lodge to wish you all well for the Twelfth and look forward seeing you online and in real time, let’s make it a Glorious One!

In Glorious Memory

William of Orange lived from 14 November 1650 to 8 March 1702. He became King William III of England and of Ireland on 22 January 1689, ruling as joint monarch with his wife, Mary II, until her death on 28 December 1694, and then ruling as sole monarch.

He was born on 4 November 1650 in the Hague, the son of William II, Prince of Orange, and Mary Stuart, sister of Charles II and James VII/II of England. He came to power in the Netherlands in the aftermath of an occupation by the French forces of King Louis in 1672. He made peace with England in 1674, and in 1677 married Mary, daughter of his uncle James. The wedding took place in London on 4 November 1677.

William’s uncle and father-in-law father became James II in 1685, an unpopular Catholic King. Matters came to a head in 1688 when James put seven Bishops on trial for seditious libel. And then, on 10 June, James’ Catholic second wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart, and Protestants found themselves looking at the prospect of a Catholic dynasty.

On the Continent William of Orange was regarded across Europe as something of a Protestant hero, and on 30 June 1688 a group of Protestant nobles asked him to come to England to overthrow James. William landed with an army comprising troops from Holland and many other nations in Brixham in south west England on 5 November 1688. It was the start of the “Glorious Revolution”.

On 22 January 1689 an English Convention Parliament declared William III and Mary II to be rightful joint monarchs. However James having fled to France soon returned to Ireland in an attempt to retake his throne. Protestants there who were loyal to William held out in a few strongholds like Londonderry and Enniskillen long enough to give William a beachhead to land his army in Ireland. 

These two great European armies clashed at the River Boyne in July in a battle which held the future not only of Ireland and Britian but European and the world. The victory of William and his Protestant forces is celebrated to this this across the world and we welcome you to join us today to learn of the significance and to celebrate and commemorate with us. 

On this Day in History

The Battle of the Boyne 1690 

The Battle that shaped the future of Ireland, Britain, Europe and the World

The clash of three kings shook history to its foundations and we are still all living with the results and benefitting from the consequences. It saw the final success of the Glorious Revolution which defined parliamentary democracy, and provided the foundations for the growth of Britain as a world power.

Find out what happened on that fateful July day in 1690 as vast European armies met on the banks of an Irish river to decide the fate of three kingdoms. Follow in the footsteps of King William’s armies and find out why local men faced death that date. Finally we will look at the lasting legacy of the battle and why to this day it is celebrated across the world.

It is one of the most famous battles in European history and is commemorated in art, music and folklore throughout the English speaking world.

Explore the Exciting Story of Bygone Days of Yore 

Discover Independent Orange Heritage at our Online Museum

The Celebrations Begin

November 1688 William Prince of Orange landed in England, at the invite of the leaders of Protestantism there. His uncle and father-in-law James II was an ardent Roman Catholic whose arbitrary rule and policy in Ireland led many to fear he sought to persecute Protestants and re-establish Catholicism in Britain. Despite the ultimate success of William’s venture it was a risky one, and despite his popularity it was technically an invasion and that had never been attempted on such a scale before or after. Like his namesake William the Conqueror in 1066 the Prince of Orange took on overwhelming odds, and things could have turned our very differently.

However as his support grew and as news of his arrival spread there were scenes of joy and relief, not least in Ireland where the plight of Protestants was becoming increasingly precarious. Our modern Twelfth celebrations relate to the Battle of the Boyne, however there were over the years as much celebration in November each year. The 4-5 November commemorated the deliverance of Parliament from the Catholic terror plot led by Guy Fawkes and was also the birthday and date of the landing of King William. These dates were always celebrated with the building and lighting of bonfires, the burning of effigies and items related to the opposition of the day and of parades, dinners and services to give thanks to God. The modern Twelfth can trace its roots right back to the celebrations of those who first witnessed the landing of William Prince of Orange.

One of the first things these supporters did was to form an Orange Association which banded them together in support of the Prince of Orange and each other. This concept and the words penned by Bishop Burnett still for the basis of the Orange Order today. It saw success in the form of the Glorious Revolution which was finally secured at the Battle of the Boyne and this along with King William’s landing has given Orangeism its two great annual celebrations.

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The Origins of the Modern Twelfth

Ireland came to have the closest of associations with King William, as it was here he risked and almost lost his life in the fight not just for the cause of protestantism across Europe butler the very survival of Protestants there. King James and his Lord Deputy Richard ‘Lying Dick’ Talbot made it clear that if they succeeded Protestant settlers would have no life in Ireland. Behind the gates of Londonderry and Enniskillen the people rallied to the cause of the Prince of Orange.

The celebrations began the very year of the victory at the Boyne, as the people of Ireland gave thanks for their deliverance. The Lord Justices of Ireland  authorised a major public celebration on 4 November 1690, King Williams’s fortieth birthday. This took place in College Green in Dublin and consisted of a two-hour long firework display. The day ended with the ringing of bells, bonfires in all parts of the city and other demonstrations of ‘public joy and satisfaction’. Most of the nobility and gentry and ladies of quality in and about the city were invited by the Lord Justices to supper, where they had a splendid entertainment and banquet and afterwards ended the night with dancing.

Towns across Ireland competed to celebrate the event and in October 1696 Dublin Corporation had a monument erected at Thosel ‘in praise and honour’ of the King. The following year new mayoral chain for the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the centrepiece of which featured William III, was introduced, and Grinling Gibbons was commissioned to cast a statue of the King for a site on the Old Cornmarket. Eventually placed at College Green, across the road from Trinity College, the statue was unveiled amidst great pomp and ceremony on the eleventh anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne (1 July 1701).

The  Lord Lieutenant of Ireland would lead a parade of nobility and military from Dublin Castle to College Green to salute the statue of William III. On this day the Boyne Society marched through the streets of Dublin, with colours, banners and arms; and in the evenings there were bonfires, illuminations and ever more elaborate fireworks. This was a period when Orange celebrations were officially sanctioned and set a pattern for ordinary people who participated. The modern Twelfth still follows the same pattern, using many of the military and civic symbols developed in these early years.

The Twelfth Today

The Glorious Twelfth

The Battle that shaped the future of Ireland, Britain, Europe and the World

The clash of three kings shook history to its foundations and we are still all living with the results and benefitting from the consequences. It saw the final success of the Glorious Revolution which defined parliamentary democracy, and provided the foundations for the growth of Britain as a world power.

Find out what happened on that fateful July day in 1690 as vast European armies met on the banks of an Irish river to decide the fate of three kingdoms. Follow in the footsteps of King William’s armies and find out why local men faced death that date. Finally we will look at the lasting legacy of the battle and why to this day it is celebrated across the world.

It is one of the most famous battles in European history and is commemorated in art, music and folklore throughout the English speaking world.

Explore the Exciting Story of Bygone Days of Yore 

Discover Independent Orange Heritage at our Online Museum

The Twelfth Today

Despite the initial Government support for and involvement in these celebrations things changed when the Act of Union saw a greater role for English politicians and Government at Westminster. Within two decades blind and bigoted English politicians decided to outlaw the commemoration of Orangeism. It was labeled as a cause for ‘party’ or sectarian violence and very soon the very display of the colour Orange in public could led to harsh punishment.

However these draconian measures and the denial of Human Rights to the most loyal and law-abiding of citizens soon led to a popular response. The Grand Lodge of the Orange Order had been dominated by men of wealth, position and title who feared they would lose these and led the Order down a path of compromise and acquiesced in the denial of rights to members. The result was that a spirt of ‘Independence’ grew in Orangeism, as lodges formed and met and held events not only in defiance of the discriminatory laws but also of their Grand Lodge. It was from this period that the seeds of the 1903 split were sown, as grass roots Orangemen watched their leaders bow the knee to Governments who in turn sought to appease growing Irish Catholic pressure.

The ban on parades was finally challenged by the popular Orange hero William Johnston of Ballykilbeg, who led a parade which blew apart the ban. He suffered imprisonment but ensured that the Orange Order was once more free to celebrate the Twelfth in public. From that point in  1867 the Twelfth as we know it began to develop. While retaining many of the military and traditional features, it now had a more popular appeal. Crowds flocked to watch then attend the ‘field’ after, bands and music came to play a greater role and it also incorporated more of a festival feel.

With the advent of television the event came to our screens and in time as the internet grew so too did the range of online Orange material. Today we see for the first time a Virtual Twelfth streamed live and available on computer and across social media. This brings the Twelfth to international audiences and literally puts it in the hands of millions of people via their smart phones.

The Evolution of Orangeism

Just as the Twelfth has evolved so too has Orangeism. It was at one time the preserve of the gentry, antagonistic to Presbyterianism and a barrier to change. In later years it was seized by landlords and factory owners who used it to shore up their economic and social positions. These periods have cast a long shadow over Orangeism as it was used by men of  means to maintain their power and political control. This often cast it as a reactionary movement and a barrier to progress.

It also distracted it from its core principles and purpose which is to protect and promote Protestantism. The parades controversy of the mid 1800s exposed the lack of leadership and led to the rise of a Spirit of Independence personified by men like William Johnston of Ballykilbeg. As working class protestants slowly received the vote and other rights they wanted to see that democratic trend mirrored in Orangeism, but found their wishes and way blocked by the same leadership.

In 1903 the ordinary rank and file membership of the Orange Order had enough, a new radical popular leadership had arisen in the form of Tom Sloan a shipyard worker and first working class MP and they formed the Independent Orange Order. While many saw this ‘New Order’ as a new departure they saw themselves as returning to the popular roots of Orangeism and to its founding principles.

In the Century that followed many of the demands of the ‘New Order’ such as an end to the party political domination of Orangeism were acceded to. Today we see both Orange Orders once more in step and working together on a range of issues. They have grown closer but each has a very unique and individual attitude and approach and Orangeism is better and stronger for this diversity and difference.

National Jubilee Bank Holiday

Event

ILOI Support the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday with their own events.

Somme Commemoration Parade 2021

Event

Annual Somme Commemoration Parade, held by Ballymoney District, 2021

Commemoration of the Landing of King William

Event

Commemorating the events of 5 November 1688, with the landing of William Price or Orange our Great Deliverer.

The Twelfth Morning

One of the most exciting busy times off the entire day is the preparation in the morning before the parades begin. Across the country lodges and bands assemble, often early in the morning. Some join together for a special Twelfth breakfast to set them up for the day, others get a few last minute touches to informs or regalia.
The lodge banner is unfurled and flags, sashes and equipment are given a last clean before the main event. Members and friends assemble often having not seen each other from one Twelfth to another, some returning home from overseas to parade.
Lodges then 'open' remaining in session throughout the day, with some business conducted and a focus on the devotional exercises connected with the Order. Time always seems to run away as buses or bands stand waiting to join in. Many lodges parade in their own areas in the morning, a local village, or country road rings out with music as the day begins.

Feeder Parades

Orangeism is a distinct and unique cultural identity, its rich heritage defines many lives and communities not only in Northern Ireland but across the globe. Its Orange Halls are at the heart of the community providing a programme of events and a range of services to thousands.
Independent Orangeism has a strong evangelical, and powerful democratic ethos looking to the Protestant martyrs and the powerful Scottish Covenanter tradition for inspiration. It shares many common features of Orangeism with a rich musical and artistic tradition showcased in our annual parades.

The Assembly Field

One of the most exciting busy times off the entire day is the preparation in the morning before the parades begin. Across the country lodges and bands assemble, often early in the morning. Some join together for a special Twelfth breakfast to set them up for the day, others get a few last minute touches to informs or regalia.
The lodge banner is unfurled and flags, sashes and equipment are given a last clean before the main event. Members and friends assemble often having not seen each other from one Twelfth to another, some returning home from overseas to parade.
Lodges then 'open' remaining in session throughout the day, with some business conducted and a focus on the devotional exercises connected with the Order. Time always seems to run away as buses or bands stand waiting to join in. Many lodges parade in their own areas in the morning, a local village, or country road rings out with music as the day begins.

Get Your Seats Early Along Our Virtual Parade Route

It is hard to recreate the excitement, colour and sound of the Twelfth Parade with its banners, bands and bunting it is an amazing sight to behold. The only advantage is you can pick your favourite armchair or sofa to enjoy it this year. The main video is an edited version of a recent Twelfth in Portrush just hit the arrow icon to play.

Then check out the range of bands and music on parade each year with our Bringing Back the Bands section. We know you each have a favourite so this year you can design your own parade. If you have been pining for the pipes, or imaging accordians the choice is yours. For some of you it wouldn't be the Twelfth without a ring of the lambeg for others you will be pleased to be able to turn the volume down a little! Whatever your preference we hope you enjoy the selection we have provided.

Which Part of the Twelfth Do You like the Most?

Brethren

We all enjoy watching a parade, waiting to see friends and loved ones. Visit our picture gallery to see lots of familiar faces.

Bands

Are you missing the music most? Whether you are pining for the pipes, or lamenting the loss of the lambegs we have music that will make your day.

Banners

Nothing adds more to the vibrancy and colour of the parade than the array of banners, learn more about how they are made and what they mean.

The Platform Proceedings

In the field as families and friends meet and catch up on news and events from the last year, and lines of hungry brethren and bandsmen queue for hot food and ice cream, preparations are under way for the platform proceedings. For younger members the Twelfth Field is a place of fun and games with rides and inflatable games, for others it is a picnic field for families to enjoy the best of food and friendship sharing sandwiches even BBQs weather permitting.

The sound of instruments being tried out or lambeg drum tattoos sounding loud and proud across the open space. However all this subsides as people take their seats and listen to what is a mix of religious service, and a platform to give the Order's position on matters of the day. The platform proceedings covers faith, current affairs, political and constitutional developments and gives the Order a unique opportunity to outline its position and plans for the ensuing year. It allows it to reinforce its core principles such as loyalty, faith, and its Unionism.

We have included a virtual Platform, with all the key elements from Resolutions to the Gospel Message and Hope that You will listen and learn as this years proceedings go virtual.

Listen to our Virtual Platform Proceedings

The Twelfth Resolutions

Each year from the Twelfth Platform the Order proposes as series of what are called resolutions. These are points of policy, or comments of current affairs. social issues or constitutional matters. They set out the Order’s opinions and attitudes to a range of issues, with calls to action or policy proposals. It is very much like a political party’s election manifesto issued before an election. The aim is to address important issues and to define policy and practice.

As a democratic organisation we use the most public event of the year to announce these resolutions and then a speaker explains them and why the Order believes they are in the interests of they cause. Then the membership are free in public to comment and assent to the resolutions. We know of not other public body which affords its members such a say in its future policy and direction.

The Resolutions usually confirm our Loyalty to the Sovereign and Government, but with provisos and often criticism of the government of the day where they pass laws which are to the detriment of our faith or heritage. Then we turn to current affairs, and while avoiding party politics we do give a voice to our membership and their views on matters such as the security of the Union, the appeasement of terrorism and the general political situation.

Faith is also central giving thanks to God and asking for his help in a very specific way for our land. Fraternity will also feature in terms of direction for our own Order and either encouragement or where necessary criticism for other Loyal Orders.

The resolutions are a central feature of what are called the “Platform Proceedings’ and are printed and distributed to the brethren and visitors as well as the order of service.

Biblical Protestantism

We are a faith based organisation, which seeks to protect and promote the Protestant Reformed faith. Our parades and public events are expression of our faith.

Constitutional Unionism

We commemorate the Glorious Revolution 1688 as the foundation of our modern democratic British Constitution, and the civil and religious freedom we all enjoy.

Cultural Heritage

Orangeism has developed a distinct unique cultural heritage which is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe which has shaped lives and communities.

Welcome to the Field

It is hard to recreate the excitement, colour and sound of the Twelfth Parade with its banners, bands and bunting it is an amazing sight to behold. The only advantage is you can pick your favourite armchair or sofa to enjoy it this year. The main video is an edited version of a recent Twelfth in Portrush just hit the arrow icon to play.

Then check out the range of bands and music on parade each year with our Bringing Back the Bands section. We know you each have a favourite so this year you can design your own parade. If you have been pining for the pipes, or imaging accordians the choice is yours. For some of you it wouldn't be the Twelfth without a ring of the lambeg for others you will be pleased to be able to turn the volume down a little! Whatever your preference we hope you enjoy the selection we have provided.

Our Virtual Twelfth Field Has All of Your Favourites

Food

From the chip vans, to the ice cream men or the traditional family picnic our food ideas will help you recreate this side of the day.

Fun

After the long walk some prefer to sit and relax but for our younger members its a time to enjoy all the fun of the fair, with rides and games for all.

Friends

Meeting friends and getting caught up on a years worth of news is important and we can still do this today to keep in touch. 
Online News

The Orange Independent

From 1903 the ILOI have keep their members and supporters as well as the wider community up to date with news and views primarily through their newspaper ‘The Orange Independent”. Today it is published in traditional print and online. You can read it right here or download it and back issues from our Library.

Download the Latest Edition of 'The Orange Independent'

Virtual Twelfth Resources

To Help you and Your Friends and Family to Get Involved and Enjoy the Virtual Twelfth You can Download our Programme, Twelfth Pack and other Resources

DOWNLOAD NOW