Where, When & How was the Orange Society Founded?
The Orange Association was first founded at Exeter Cathedral in Devonshire on 12th November 1688 in the presence of William, Prince of Orange, who later became King William III of England, Scotland and Ireland. One week earlier, at the request of many prominent members of the Nobility and Clergy, the Prince of Orange landed at Brixham with a large expeditionary force. The purpose of this expedition was to curtail James the Second's tyrannical rule, to end the prorogation of Parliament and to prevent Britain from acceding to the political and religious aspirations of Louis XIV of France. The Prince's expedition brought about The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and succeeded in guaranteeing certain rights and privileges which, today, are often taken for granted. These rights and privileges are embodied in The Bill of Rights of 1689 and The Act of Settlement of 1701 and in particular stress that the British Monarch cannot become, nor marry, a member of the Church of Rome. The origin of Orangeism consisted of an "engagement of the Nobles, Knights and Gentlemen of Exeter to assist the Prince of Orange in defence of the Protestant Religion and the Liberties of England".
Orangeism in Southampton
An Orange Lodge has existed continuously at Southampton since the early 1800s apart from a few years during the 1960s and early 1970s following the demise of the Wesley Memorial Loyal Orange Lodge. The idea of forming a new Lodge at Southampton was discussed over a period of many months. The formal proposal was not activated until August 1977 when an application seeking the establishment of Silver Jubilee Loyal Orange Lodge no. 1977 was submitted to the Grand Orange Lodge of England.
Members of the Lodge had previously agreed that the Lodge should be formed in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee commemoration and that we should endeavour to obtain a Warrant number that corresponded to the year. Grand Lodge agreed to the request and a warrant for the establishment of the Lodge was subsequently approved and granted. The date for forming the new Lodge was set for Saturday 15th October 1977.
John McDowell, who had applied for the Warrant, was duly appointed as Worshipful Master designate of the new Lodge. The first meeting of the Lodge took place at Fareham on Saturday 15th October 1977, when Portsmouth District Lodge met for the purpose of opening the new Lodge. Henry McWhinney, Portsmouth District Master opened the District Lodge meeting at 2.30 pm and subsequently proceeded to install the Officers and Members of the new Lodge. The Grand Lodge of England were represented at the Meeting by (the late) Stuart Steele, Deputy Grand Master, and (the late) Thomas Twist, Grand Treasurer
The Lodge sought to find a suitable meeting place at Southampton. Eventually contact was made with the Oddfellows Hall at Freemantle who welcomed us with great enthusiasm and co-operation. This continued until 1998 when the Lodge made arrangements to meet at a social club in the Northam area of Southampton.