“Bangor and No Surrender”


"Let craven hearts to tyranny Their coward homage render; The watchword of the brave and free Will still be "No Surrender!" "We kept our commemoration In honour of our Hero great Who freed the British nation" "We shall up and we shall on"


"This song was written by William Johnston of Ballykilbeg while a prisoner in Downpatrick prison. He was serving a two months sentence for breaking the Party Processions Act as he had led Orangemen from Newtownards to Bangor on the Twelfth [of July] 1867."

"On the morning of 12th July 1867, Johnston headed a procession from Newtownards which consisted of over 10,000 Orangemen. As the parade reached Bangor it increased to such an extent that it is estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 people took part in the final march through the town." Johnston was among those sentenced to serve one month the following February. He was released early because of poor health. (source: "Johnston, Grand Lodge and the Party Processions Controversy" at Newtownards District [of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland] site).

"The Hero" of the song is William III and the commemoration is the Boyne celebration on July 12. It would not be clear without the OrangeLark comment. - BS

For the background of the phrase "No Surrender," which arose during the siege of (London)derry, see the notes to "No Surrender (I)" and "The Shutting of the Gates of Derry."

The Party Processions Act is just what it sounds like: An attempt by the British government to control the marches and demonstrations which so often ended in violence. According to the _Oxford Companion to Irish History_, it was passed in 1850 in the aftermath of the Dolly's Brae conflict (for which see "Dolly's Brae (I)"). The _Oxford Companion_ lists William Johnston (1829-1902), the author of this piece, as the measure's chief opponent. The Act was repealed in 1872. On the whole, it probably did help reduce violence -- but it also deepened the underlying resentment of both sides.

For background on William Johnston, who was once imprisoned for violating the Party Processions Act, see the notes to "William Johnston of Ballykilbeg." - RBW

Historical references

  • Jul 12, 1867 - William Johnston leads an Orange March in Bangor and is subsequently jailed for breaking the Party Processions Act (source: OrangeLark)


  1. OrangeLark 17, "Bangor and No Surrender" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, OrLa017


Author: William Johnston (source: OrangeLark)
Earliest date: 1987 (OrangeLark)