King William's riding stirrups go on display in Limavady

royal riding stirrups Image copyright Graham Curry
Image caption Riding stirrups worn by King William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne are being displayed at the Orange Heritage Centre in Limavady

A pair of royal riding stirrups worn by King William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne have gone on display in County Londonderry.

Made in 1626 for newly crowned King Charles I, they are believed to be the second oldest royal stirrups still in existence.

Recently purchased by the Orange Order, they are now on display at the Orange Heritage Centre in Limavady.

It is the first time the stirrups have been displayed in public.

Grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said the stirrups were a "wonderful addition" to the order's collection of artefacts.

"The Grand Lodge of Ireland is the custodian of a number of significant artefacts which belonged to or date to the period of William of Orange," he said.

"I would encourage the wider public to visit Limavady and witness these tremendous and unique historical pieces for themselves, and in so doing learn more about our shared history."

Image copyright Graham Curry
Image caption Aaron Callan, Orange Heritage Centre trustee, said the purchase of the stirrups was a "massive coup."

The stirrups were purchased by Dungiven Orange Lodge after failing to meet their reserve at auction last year.

Orange Heritage Centre trustee Aaron Callan said the purchase of the stirrups was a "massive coup."

"The authenticity of the stirrups has been verified, and we are immensely proud to now be the guardians of such coveted horse furniture.

"According to the information we have received they are the second oldest royal stirrups in existence, so they are hugely significant for Orange history, but also for British, Irish and European history."

He said the latest acquisition was a "stunning centrepiece of our permanent collection."

Image copyright Graham Curry
Image caption Made in 1626 for newly crowned King Charles I, these are believed to be the second oldest royal stirrups still in existence.

The stirrups, King William's gloves and a saddlecloth, were gifted to General Frederick Hamilton following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The saddlecloth and the gloves are displayed in Belfast's Museum of Orange Heritage.

Every 12 July, the Protestant Orange Order celebrates William of Orange's victory over the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne.

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