#OTD in 1883 – The Harbour Grace Affray between Irish Catholics and Protestant Orangemen causes five deaths in Newfoundland.

Tensions between Irish Catholics and Orangemen were not confined to the streets of Belfast. In Newfoundland, Canada a riot breaks out during an Orange parade in which five people are killed. A group of up to 400 hundred marching men of the Loyal Orange Association were confronted by an estimated 150 Catholics who believed the post-Christmas march encroached on Catholic territory. Violence broke out resulting in the death of one Catholic, three Orangemen and an apparently innocent bystander. The local police constable – a Protestant and Orange order supporter was charged with the murder of the Catholic marcher but acquitted.

Harbour Grace appears to have been a hotbed of religious intolerance on both side. The official Harbour Grace website notes that “A riot is noted in The Colonial Records of Harbour Grace in 1764 as a group of Irish Roman Catholics assembled, “riotously…to destruct the peace of our Lord the King.. and upon several persons… did make assault.” The offenders received lashes and/or fines. In 1775 several people were convicted of having Mass said at their homes. The offending people received such punishments as having their homes burnt down, their fish rooms demolished, their possessions sold, receiving fines, or being expelled from the island.”

Further information: http://newfoundlandtreasures.com/yetgen/affray.htm


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