William of Orange came to the throne in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, succeeding his father-in-law King James II. Judge Day celebrated this watershed of English and Irish history. Here is a time line of events before and after William’s arrival at Torbay.
1687 Lord Tyrconnel (Richard Talbot), James II’s Catholic appointee, is supreme in Ireland. Tyrconnel removes Protestants from the judiciary; the new judges begin to hear cases to overthrow the Cromwellian landed settlement.
1688 The Protestants are relieved of their arms, and Protestant officers are turned out of the army. Anarchy spreads through the country and Protestants depart for England. John Blennerhassett is among those later attainted by the Jacobites for having fled Ireland at this times. Armed associations are formed: Sir William Petty’s colony near Kenmare fortifies itself inside the ‘White House’ at Killowen.
1688 Irish troops are sent to England to support King James, causing great bitterness against the Irish; Roger MacElligott, of Ballymacelligott, commands one of these forces; he and his men bring mayhem to Portsmouth.
1688, November 5 (Guy Faukes Day), William of Orange arrives at Torbay, in Devon, and proceeds to London via Exeter; John Churchill and others abandon King James.
1688, 7 December: the Apprentice Boys of Derry close the gates against the Catholic commander Lord Antrim (Alexander MacDonnell) and his 12,000 Redshanks.
1688, December 24 James finally departs England for France where he becomes the pensioner of King Louis xiv. It is a brief three years since Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes which had afforded freedom of religion to the Huguenots, the French Protestants.