Timeline

1688

200 Black Soldiers escort William of Orange into Exeter

On November 5th 1688 William of Orange, a Protestant prince from the Netherlands, landed in Brixham in south Devon. As a grandson of Charles I, and husband of Princess Mary,  he claimed the English throne from the Catholic James II.

William of Orange enters Exeter

An account was written at the time about his passage through Exeter. We can imagine the procession crossing the River Exe, where thirteen arches of the old bridge remain, next to the modern roadways which cross the river today. Then he went up Stepcote Hill and into the city.

Part of his retinue consisted of two hundred Black soldiers, dressed most extravagantly. They were probably slaves from Surinam or the Dutch Antilles.

There's an interesting ballad describing William's march to London on the University of California website. The ballad was then a popular way of spreading news.