DEFEAT OF THE HOME RULE BILL
Gladstone speaking during a Commons debate on Irish Home Rule on 8 April 1886.
The Belfast Weekly News of Saturday, 12th June, contains the following, dated from Lurgan on Wednesday morning : —
"Flee to the old church tower.
Shortly before two o'clock yesterday morning a welcome telegram from the Belfast News-Letter to its local agent in this town announced the defeat of Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Bill. The intimation of the correct issue in this unprecedented battle was received with marked enthusiasm and immense cheers by an immense crowd who had, for a considerable time, thronged the thoroughfare in the neighbourhood of the Belfast News- Letter depot.
And unfurl your banner there."
Was the motto of the Lurgan Society of Change Ringers, and in less than five minutes time the bells of this parish were announcing alike to willing and unwilling ears the great victory, the exact majority being intimated by thirty cannons at the close of the peal. This peal was a preconcerted signal to all the
surrounding parishes, whose church bells in their turn and with one accord heralded the glad tidings to probably a hundred thousand Loyalists in Armagh, Down and Antrim.
In Lurgan town the ringing of the bells was backed by innumerable rushing feet, knocking of doors, and shouts of "No .Home Rule" in every Loyalist vicinity. A few minutes served to assemble a considerable crowd, who cheered lustily for Major Saunderson and the Ulster members, and 2.30 o'clock found two local bands, "Gideon Temperance'', and "Rising Sons of William.", marching round the parish church to the airs of " James has lost the battle, 0," and "No Surrender."
This was too much for the patience of the disappointed throng who had during the night been perfecting preparations in " The Pound " for a far different issue, and a mob collected to challenge the advance of the Loyalists in that sacred and forbidden direction. There was, indeed, an evident disposition for collision on both sides, and had it not been for the energetic efforts of District Inspector Bigley and a small force of police a desperate riot was inevitable. The Roman Catholic party threw stones and attacked the houses of some Protestants, and for some time intense excitement prevailed. In the course of two more hours the demonstration had swelled to at least 10,000 and the bands were supplemented by the drums of L.O L.'s Nos. 12, 16, 24, 43, 63, 82, 91, 252, and 556. The procession repeatedly passed through all the leading thoroughfares except Edward Street, "The Pound." The Home Rule mob
had been greatly augmented, and the conduct of its members was decidedly provoking. They kindled a bonfire in the centre of the street, and leaped round it in the most fantastic fashion, still adhering to the cry of " Home
Rule," while the Queen, King William, Major Saunderson, and heretic Orangemen were cursed with vigour. Repeated Loyalist efforts to pass the "neutral" ground were successfully resisted by Mr. Bigley and his
men, with the exception of some leading members of the Orange Institution, who. left nothing undone to prevent a collision.
In North Street one Home Ruler took in hand to beat back the whole procession, and here, too some stones were thrown by the Nationalists; but at the junction of Hill Street and the Pound, the most exciting scene was
witnessed. A number of the more ungovernable spirits seemed determined to press the band through the John Street end of the Pound, and an encounter with the police ensued. Constable Cullovin drew his baton, and dealt some blows, which excited so much indignation in the Loyalist ranks that Mr. Bigley found much difficulty in either forcing or persuading them to return by Hill Street. Here again a large Pound mob collected behind a cordon of constabulary, and behaved in a most outrageous manner" Several Protestants were assaulted. Mr. William Menary, the caretaker of the parochial graveyard,
being one of the number. The band left Hill Street, and proceeded to the Orange Hall amid manifestations of great enthusiasm. Loud cheers were given for the Queen and Constitution, and the Loyalist M.P.'s, while shouts of "No Home Rule," and strong denunciations of Parnell and Gladstone were on every lip. Flags were to be seen in Hill Street, Queen Street, Castle Lane, and other neighbourhoods.
In the afternoon many of the local facturies left off work, and bands again paraded the streets. Some scuffles and a few arrests followed. In all the rural districts around this town drumming parties turned out on the announcement of the bells, and marched through their respective vicinities. Great enthusiasm prevailed everywhere.
The information on this website is free and will always be so. However, there are many documents and records that we would like to show here that are only available for sale. If you would like to make a donation to the Lurgan Ancestry project, however small (or large!), to enable us to acquire these records, it would be very much appreciated. We could cover our pages in Goggle Ads to raise money, but feel that this would detract from the information we are trying to provide.
You can also help us to raise money by purchasing some of our ebooks on our sister website: www.genealogyebooks.com
The Lurgan Ancestry Project is a not for profit website, all monies raised from the site go back into it.