21 September 1795
Formation of the Loyal Orange Institution (Orange Order) in County Armagh.
Battle of the Diamond 1795
For a number of years leading up to 1795 there was open hostility on the part of the Roman Catholics or Defenders towards their Protestant neighbours.
This came to a head in the summer of 1795 when Protestant Orange Boys (a club started in Tyrone in 1792 by James Wilson - a near relative of Daniel Winter) heard of the Defenders plan to burn all the Protestant homes in the Richhill, Kilmore and Loughgall districts. The Protestants prepared themselves for action and they congregated from various quarters to a position at the Diamond.
The early hours of 21st September 1795 was the climax of a 3 day struggle from opposite hills overlooking the Diamond Crossroads. The Defenders on Faughart Hill (Tullymore). The Orange Boys and their allies on the Diamond Hill (Grangemore).
A farmer named Daniel Winter and his sons owned the field of action between the two hills, the ancestral home in the farmyard and the property at the Diamond Crossroads.
During the battle, the property at the crossroads was burned and became uninhabitable. Daniel Winter and his sons defended their property as long as possible, having to retreat to the Diamond Hill when the thatch was fired.
Tradition passed down the Winter family line from Daniel c 1730, one of the founding fathers of the Orange Society, that the first embryonic meeting of The Orange Society as we know it took place in the ancestral home in the farmyard 200 yards from the Diamond Crossroads.
Following the battle, the main leaders including James Wilson, Daniel Winter and James Sloan needed to get away from the throng to plan and think. They needed a representative readily available to act for the whole body. James Sloan was chosen as Secretary. He was an educated man, a farmer schoolmaster, who owned an inn on the main street in Loughgall.
Discussion took place to outine the new organisation and it was decided to hold further discussions later in the house of James Sloan.
In the actual room where these founding fathers met, are to be seen old muskets and pikes as well as an old sword found many years ago in the thatch. All had been used at the Battle of the Diamond. Heavy lead shot has been found recently in the roof space of this famous house.
When Daniel Winter was making enquiries and getting reports in favour of union among Protestants for the new organisation, he and his son Daniel were living in the house, better known as the Birthplace of Orangeism "Dan Winters House" The Diamond.