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Apprentice Boys

Apprentice Boys. The Apprentice Boys are an Ulster loyalist organization whose title celebrates the thirteen apprentices who shut the city gates of Derry before the Jacobite siege (April–July 1689). The commemoration of the siege by the Williamites of Derry began possibly in 1692, though it only became an annual event after c.1790: the first Apprentice Boys Club appears to have been formed in 1714. With the shifting sectarian balance in the city in the 19th cent. the Apprentice Boys took on a more defensively protestant character. Like the Orange order, the movement appears to have been in abeyance in the second quarter of the 19th cent., but to have enjoyed a growth after c.1850. The Apprentice Boys remain in existence, with a membership of around 10,000.

Alvin Jackson

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