Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Levellers’ rosemary

Posted on by royvickery |

005At the general election count at Wandsworth Town Hall on 7 May 2015 the local Green Party co-ordinator wore a small bunch of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) tied together with (bluish) green ribbon. She explained that she was wearing this because a 99-year-old local Party member had told her that the Levellers – ‘who started it all’ (i.e. initiated the promotion of the sort of values which the Green Party now espouses) – wore such tokens.

The Levellers, who struggled for the  sovereignty of the people, equality and religious tolerance during  the seventeenth century could be identified by the rosemary they wore in their hats.  In Wandsworth they are remembered as being participants in the Putney Debates of 1647, at which members of the New Model Army discussed the sort of constitution they wanted for England.

One or two Labour Party supporters wore red roses (Rosa cv.), and one Conservative wore an unattractive blue rose, which had presumably absorbed a blue dye.

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