Banner unfurling marks another step for Ballee 474

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Members of one of Ballymena’s longest established orange lodges unfurled their new banner recently at the Protestant Hall.

Ballee LOL 474 members past and present gathered with friends for an evening of worship and celebration.

Ballee Banner. Submitted.

Ballee Banner. Submitted.

The banner was unfurled by Mrs Heather Houston who was presented with the scissors by Willis Brizzel.

Reverend Iain Jameson spoke at the unfurling, outlining the illustrious and lengthy history of the lodge.

He told the audience that Ballee 474 was originally formed in the townland of Ballylesson shortly after the 1798 rebellion.

“There are very few early records of the lodge at this time but it was in existence when the Loyal Orange Institution was dissolved but like many other Country Lodges in Ballymena it continued to work quietly behind the scenes.

“After the revival of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in the autumn of 1828 Ballylesson secured warrant no 474 and this number as we know has remained in Ballymena District ever since.

“In the later part of the 19th century its name changed to Ballee and the lodge met in a building belonging to the WM.

“The lodge has had many brothers who have been very active in the order, none more so than the late Senator James Baillie who served as County Grand Master.

“On Easter Monday 1934 Ballee 474 moved o the original old school at Ballee which they had secured use of for a hall.

“Unfortunately it was severely damaged by fire and later suffered vandalism during which time many lodge books, records and other items disappeared and were never found.”

. The Lodge continued to sit in Harryville and later moved to the Protestant Hall, where it remains.”