John Mitchel and the Orange connection

Dear Sir,

I read with interest the article “Drumcree: unlikely setting for a republican love story” (BT 28th August)

While interesting in that Dumcree Church is associated with the parading dispute this story has a much more interesting angle which you readers might appreciate.

Jane (Jenny) Verner was one of eight daughters of Sir William Verner of Churchill, County Armagh – the family seat is now better known today as “Peatlands”.

Jenny’s father William Verner was the Grand Master of County Armagh Grand Orange Lodge from 1821 to 1836. Evidently, Jane eloped with John Mitchel while her father was Grand Master of County Armagh.

Her uncle Thomas Verner was instrumental in the foundation of the Orange Institution.  As well as founding an Orange Lodge on the Churchill Estate (LOL 162) he also founded the first Orange Lodge in Dublin (LOL 176). He held a variety of offices within the new fledging Institution, his finest achievement being the first Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland from 1798 to 1801.

Brian Kennaway (Rev)

Author: The Orange Order: A Tradition Betrayed