Belfast Telegraph

No surprises as 100,000 watch King Billy emerge victorious in Scarva Sham Fight

By Rebecca Black

The result was never in doubt, but that did not stop 100,000 people heading to Scarva.

King William of Orange won his showdown with King James under the approving eye of First Minister Arlene Foster at the annual Sham Fight.

A huge crowd enjoyed the colourful spectacle of the Royal Black Preceptory (RBP) stepping out for their famous July 13 demonstration.

People lined the streets as 5,000 members of the Royal Black Institution, accompanied by some of the best marching bands, put on the biggest one-day event at a single location in Northern Ireland.

Neither rain nor lightning put off the visitors, many of whom brought Union flag-themed umbrellas and jackets to the colourful event.

This year saw the introduction of a new food court to the proceedings, with an emphasis on local produce, including apple products made from the produce of Co Armagh orchards.

The Sir Alfred Buller Memorial RBP organised the fun day out in Co Down.

Worshipful Master Sandy Heak said it had taken a year to put together, adding that work would start on organising next summer's event next week.

"It's really an incredible team effort," Mr Heak explained. "We aim to give people who come to see it a memorable day out for all the family."

Scarva boasts strong links with William and is reputed to be one of the locations where he and his troops camped in June 1690 before they travelled to the scene of the Battle of the Boyne in Co Louth. In the grounds of Scarva House, there is a huge Spanish chestnut tree under which William and his generals are reported to have spent the night ahead of their date with destiny.

Every year on July 13, people from the local RBP in Scarva play out the Sham Fight, a mock battle in which the Williamite and Jacobite forces meet on the lawns of Scarva House. Unsurprisingly, the Williamite forces always win to the great delight of spectators.

The day came as Lurgan Black District Chapter No 2 took part in its annual parade in Bangor.

Fifteen preceptories and eight bands from Northern Ireland and Scotland participated in the procession through the north Down town.

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