Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Commemorating William of Orange

William of Orange landed at Brixham, Devon, on 5 November 1688, to oust his Catholic father-in-law, King James II, and champion the Protestant faith.  To commemorate this members of the Plymouth District Loyal Lodge organise a march each year in the town, lay flowers at the base of William’s statue and hold a short religious service.

In 2018 the event was held on Saturday 3 November, when marchers assembled at the Rugby Club at about 2 p.m. and processed down to the statue, before their service which was held nearby in the shelter of the old fish market.  Probably about 100 people participated, in what was in some ways a rather low-key event: it is not advertised on the town’s list of upcoming events, no roads are closed, there is no police presence, and local people take little interest. Most, if not all, of the marchers wore red poppies (Papaver), but few orange lilies were seen; a few women wore artificial ones, and both orange lilies and daffodils (Narcissus sp., the national flower of Wales) were depicted on the banner of Cardiff’s Rawlins White Memorial Lodge.

The flowers placed at the base of the statue included a wreath made of red and white flowers and blue ribbons, poppy wreaths and crosses, and a bunch of blue lilies (Lilium), obviously white lilies which had been stood with their stalks in blue ink. Unfortunately the latter bore no card to indicate who had laid it there, so it’s unknown why blue lilies had been chosen.

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