Orangeism in the Isle of Man
The Orange Order was once a strong organisation in the Isle of Man and an article in the Defender newspaper of July 1910 highlighted this. The author, William MacArthur, outlined that Ulster exiles who had gone to work on the island were very much involved in spreading the seed of Orangeism.
In fact they literally sowed the seed, since the village of Tromode in 1910 was still sporting a profusion of Orange lilies, the work of a colony of Ulster folk who had planted them when they came to the village to obtain employment. But the ‘works’ had closed due to foreign competition, the author tells us (although sadly giving us no further information) and they moved on, leaving the Lily bulbs behind them.
In the capital, Douglas, however, Orangeism was still alive and well and members of the Order were to be found in the House of Keys, the Manx parliament.
There were men’s, ladies and juvenile lodges on the island, which looked back to a strong Protestant tradition, celebrating the Gunpowder Plot and also remembering the grounding of one of William of Orange’s ships – a large sandbank outside Ramsey was still referred to as ‘William’s Bank’.
On the day after the Twelfth in Belfast, the article informs us, York lodge in the city organised an excursion to the Isle of Man, which helped to cement the Orange bonds in the middle of the Irish Sea.
The article detailed that the late Bishop of Sodor and Man, Dr. Stratton, had been very sympathetic to the Institution, which had undoubtedly helped it, and it also speculated that it would not be long before there would be an Orange Hall on the island.
“Orangeism in the Isle of Man has a setting of unique interest and the whole hearted manner some of the best of her people have rallied to our Standard is worthy of marked notice in the record of the Order in our day,” the article concluded.