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Mothering Sunday flowers, 2023 – 4

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Flowers and cards in the Chapel of Memory, Golders Green Crematorium, London Borough of Barnet, 23 March 2023 (four days after Mothering Sunday).

QUERY: Honiton town seal

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

The town seal of Honiton, east Devon, depicts what seems to be honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, though the plant it has also been identified as Madonna lily, Lilium candidum.  The earliest known record of the seal’s use is 1640.

Any alternative identifications of the plant, or suggestions about why it might be used on the seal, would be greatly appreciated –

Mothering Sunday flowers, 2023 – 3

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Wimbledon Flower Kiosk, at entrance to Wimbledon station, London Borough of Merton, Mothering Sunday, 19 March, 2023, at c. 11.45 a.m.

Herbwomen at coronations

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

The Royal Pavilion, in Brighton, East Sussex, has a temporary (11 March – 10 September 2023) exhibition entitled A Right Royal Spectacle: The Coronation of George IV.  Part of this is a display relating to the herbwomen who led the procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey ‘and were the only women among the participants’.  It is suggested that the custom of having herb-strewers at coronations ‘probably originated in medieval times when the scattering of herbs and fragrant flowers was common practice at public events to ward off foul smells and illnesses’.  However, in 2001, when the dress exhibited formed part of the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery’s costume displays, it was stated that ‘The tradition began at Charles I coronation in 1625.  The herbwoman threw herbs along the route to Westminster Abbey to protect against disease.’

A herbwoman and six maids participated in George IV’s coronation on 19 July 1821, and the  Pavilion’s exhibit has as its centre-piece the dress worn by one of these maids,  Sarah Ann Walker, daughter of an apothecary in the royal household, who was 16 or 17 years-old at the time.

Images: upper left, Sarah Ann Walker’s dress; upper right, detail showing Walker, from George Nayler’s The Coronation of his Most Sacred Majesty King George the Fourth, 1837;  lowerest, ‘The King’s Herbwoman and her six Maids strewing Flowers’ from George Nayler’s The Coronation of King George IV, 1837; all © Carlos Bruzon, March 2023.

Mothering Sunday flowers, 2023 – 2

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Sainsbury’s supermarket, Balham, London Borough of Wandsworth,  Saturday 18 March, the day before Mothering Sunday, 2023:

Baba Marta, 2023

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Red-and-white decorations attached to not quite flowering small apple (Malus sp. or cv.) tree at junction of Parkside with Windmill Road, Wimbledon Common, London Borough of Merton, 18 March 2023; possibly left over from 2022.

For further information see Baba Marta, 2020.

Mothering Sunday flowers, 2023 – 1

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Advertisement in the London Evening Standard, Thursday 16 March 2023:

Mothering Sunday, 2023

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

Notice outside St Bartholomew’s church, Brighton, East Sussex, 15 March 2023.

REMINDER: Signs of Spring Walk

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

On Sunday 19 March Roy Vickery will be leading a Signs of Spring plant walk on Tooting Common, London Borough of Wandsworth, starting at 2 p.m.  All welcome, booking unnecessary.  Nearest tube station Tooting Bec.

Report:  12 of us spent about 75 minutes wandering around a small part of the Common discussing the plants found there.  Red deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) and daisy (Bellis perennis) were conspicuous, and we were able to examine cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) which was coming to the end of its flowering season, and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) which had not yet reached its peak flowering time.  Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) was conspicuous in the former menage area, where we were also able to find minute plants of whitlow grass (Erophila verna) and two lichens,  species of Cladonia and Peltigera.

A very interesting walk.’

Image:  coltsfoot, Tooting Common, 19 March 2023.

QUERY: Holly berries

Date of the post: Posted on by royvickery |

On 14 February 1812  the Rev. William Holland, vicar of Over Stowey, Somerset,  noted in his diary [1],  ‘a man came from Kilve to fetch my Holly berrys for Mr Harford’.

Harford appears to be the Bristol banker C.J. Harford, who in 1803 described ‘the finding of a Bronze Age hoard on or near the Quantock Hills and of the Polden Hills hoard of Iron Age horse-harness’ [2].

Any explanations of this would be greatly appreciated.  Why would Harford want holly berries? One assumes the date, 14 February, Valentine’s Day is of no significance.

1. Jack Ayres (ed.),  Paupers & Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, A Somerset Parson, 1799-1818, 2003: 231.

2. L.V. Grinsell, The Past and Future of Archaeology in Somerset, Somerset Archaeology and Natural History 115: 29-38, 1971.

Image: cultivated, Canterbury Crescent, Brixton, London Borough of Lambeth, March 2023.

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