The battle of Saintfield

An interesting documentary and re-enactment of the battle of Saintfield will be screened later this year. It follows the battle between largely Presbyterian United Irishmen of County Down and the York Fencible Regiment who had founded their own Orange Lodge in 1796. It also delves into the complexity of the era showing brothers, fathers and sons on opposing sides of the battle.

The cast for the re-enactment was comprised of various re-enactment groups, cross-community living history groups, the North Irish Dragoon Society and several Orange Lodges. LOL 688 Cross of Saint Patrick being one such lodge who participated and have covered their activities in their monthly newsletter (you will need to download the DNL reader to read the newsletter). If you look closely at the pictures you will notice the “Union Jack” in the court room does not contain the Saint Patrick`s Cross as the Act of Union did not occur until 2 years later.

  • irishman

    This was certainly a fascinating period in our collective history. As part of the West Belfast festival, a tour re-traces the battles of the ’98 Rebellion in Antrim and Down, including Saintfield.

    One depressing feature is the shockingly poor condition of the part of the cemetery in which the United Irish dead are buried in Saintfield. Not permitted to be buried alongside the rest of the poor departed souls, they were buried to the side of the graveyard. Their graves today lie in tatters and the car park runs right into the graves- perhaps our unionist brethren could address this situation as a conciliatory- dare I say confidence-building measure- for republicans?

  • Metacom

    I had a similar experience a number of years ago during a bike excursion down the Ards. Spent a good houir searching for the Rev. James Porter’s grave in Greyabbey. I hope that someday the good people of Greyabbey feel able to commemorate the bravery and idealism of one of their own.

  • Alan

    Jemmy Hope’s grave was well tended for years in Mallusk Cemetery. It was knocked over once, but replaced. Myself and my brother tended the graves there and in Kilbride over the summers during University days.

    A lot of the older stones marked the bones of those who *Died a Patriot”. Now they lie quietly beside their fathers, brothers and sons who served other colours in India and elsewhere across the globe. The same family graves also name the dead of the Somme and after.