Wednesday, 26 December 2012


Some of you may know that part of English history where William of Orange arrived in Britain and took over the Monarchy, as William III, deposing King James and ruling jointly with his wife Mary (James' daughter).  He is known in England as 'William and Mary', in Scotland as William II and in both Scotland and Ireland as 'King Billy'.  Sadly, the good he did in preserving the Protestant religion and strengthening parliamentary democracy, and his victory over the Catholic James at the Battle of the Boyne, are still mixed up with the frictions in Ireland.

Anyway, William landed in Brixham, Devon in 1688.  This is an oil painting of his arrival which hangs in Hampton Court.  As you can see, he arrived in some force.

William of Orange arrives in Brixham 

There is a statue there to mark his arrival.  As far as I know, there are only three statues to him - one in Brixham, one in Bristol, and, the one I am more familiar with, in Petersfield.  Here it is towering over the marketplace.

Petersfield market 
 But, back in Brixham, the local people were delighted when he arrived and went out of their way to welcome him and of course to ingratiate themselves.  From Brixham, he made his way to London to assume the Throne, stopping first in Newton Abbott, some 30 kms north of Brixham.   He must have caused quite a stir in this little town, since he was apparently by then accompanied by 30,000 men.  The first declaration of William III, calling him ' the glorious defender of the Protestant Religion and the liberties of England', was read out from a pedestal in Newton Abbott market place on 5 November - ironically, given the events of exactly 83 years previously against James' grandfather, James I.  

We were in Newton Abbott last week (aha!  Hence the history lesson!).  So here is the pedestal, now bearing a lamp standard, in front of the St Leonard's Tower, all that remains of the 13th century chapel of St Leonard.

Newton Abbott


  1. I just wonder, if he had arrived at Christmas, if he'd then have been known as William Of Satsuma?