Foresters' Day, Coverdale, 2013
The Foresters in Coverdale is a local "friendly society", originally intended a means of providing insurance for ordinary working people. In Coverdale the Foresters can trace their roots back to the Ancient Order of Foresters (AOF) in the 1830s. (The AOF itself goes back to the Royal Foresters Socities started in the 1720s.)
Coverdale actually left the AOF in the early 1890s, before the AOF admitted women in 1898, and the membership in Coverdale is still all male. Every two years they March through the Dale, originally going via the public houses at Melmerby and West Scrafton. Today, the March is shorter. Members of the Foresters still wear the traditional green coats, peaked hats and black belts in the procession. The remainder wear green sashes, and all carry staves.
Copyright Tartarus Press, 2017