Conlig Village Star (LOL 695)
695 was issued to Bro. Alexander Whitla in November 1894, and the first meeting of this lodge under the title “Conlig village Star” was held in Conlig on 22nd January 1895. This however was not the first record of Orangeism in Conlig or indeed the origin of warrant No. 695
The first detailed records appear in the registrar of warrants dated 1825 – 1829 This shows that warrant 695 was renewed to Thomas Boyd (W. M ) in Aghadowey in the County of Londonderry on l8th June 1829. L.0 L. 695 belonged to Ballyronan District and was one of the l5 lodges in that District. Nos. 10, 13, 15, 25, 38, 42, 56, 120, 292, 322, 480, 482, 495, 695 and 951.
No records can be found for the surrender of the warrant and the next documented evidence is the issue of the warrant to
Alexander Whitla in Conlig in November 1894. At this time the lodge was working under the jurisdiction of Holywood District Lodge No.14 in the county of Down until 1906, when it became part of the newly formed Bangor District No.18.
The earliest record of Orangeism in Conlig is on 22nd July 1862 when LOL 1056 held its first meeting in the village. The lodge disappeared sometime in the mid 1870’s before re-appearing in Dundonald in 1877, where it exists today as part of Holywood District. Between the disappearance of LOL 1056 and the issue of warrant 695, LOL 2008 met in the village and some of the minutes of this lodge are in our possession
Around 1906 there is evidence of a dispute within the membership of the lodge. This would appear to have arisen as a result of the rejection of an application for membership to the lodge by a Mr. Walsh. This clearly divided the membership of the lodge and the eventual outcome was the formation of a second lodge within the village in 1908, LOL 862. A degree of antagonism existed for some time afterwards but today both lodges have a harmonious and successful coexistence in the village and are fully supportive of each other in the many social functions held in the Conlig Orange Hall.
An almost complete set of minute books gives a very detailed and intimate account of the working of the lodge and of village over the past century. The Orange Hall was the centre for the village’s social activity, serving as a reading room during the day and in the evenings the lodges air rifle club, Gospel meetings and socials were regular events
The original Orange Hall, formally known at the Protestant Hall before the date stone was changed in March 1899, was situated in the centre of the village at the junction of Main Street and George Street. Its’ prominence in the village was represented in the fact that local community unofficially referred to Georges Street as Hall Street
The redevelopment of the village in the late sixties necessitated the demolishment of the hall and its replacement built in 1970s’
has been extended twice to cater for the social needs of the lodges and the local community.
As with most lodges, the records of the lodge show a large number of the membership on active service in France during 1914 -18. Unfortunately not all returned and both the village lodges erected a memorial stone to the fallen in 1920. This stone is the only piece of the original Orange hall that that survived the redevelopment.
The lodge has strong connections with the 36’h Ulster Division, not only through members of the lodge who served in the Division but because the Orange hall in the Village was used as a hospital while their training was being completed in the grounds in Lord Dufferin Estate The present lodge banner depicts a scene from the Somme and serves as a tribute to their sacrifice.
Two or three years ago, at an Orange parade in Bangor the members of the lodge became suspicious about a man in an Orange Collerette bearing the number 695. As he was not known to any of the lodge members, this character was viewed with a great deal of suspicion. It did appear that he was friendly with some of the members of our other village lodge and the suspicion was replaced with curiosity It transpired that the individual in question had come over from Liverpool and while working here had got to know some of the members of LOL 862 who had invited him to the parade His own lodge in Liverpool was also 695 and subsequent correspondence with his lodge has revealed a number of other coincidences.
The lodge in Liverpool was formed around the same time as warrant No. 695 was issued to Conlig and the title of the Liverpool lodge is ‘Sons of Derry’. Both lodges are researching their history and it will be interesting to see if the origins are the same.
The lodge meets in Conlig Orange Hall on the first Wednesday of each month and anyone interested in the Lodge or the Orange Institution in general will be welcomed.