The Pear Tree
The Worcestershire Rifle Volunteers of 1859 used the Pear Tree as their emblem, it was used as a central motif on their badges from 1859 until the Rifle Volunteers were reformed as the Territorial Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment in 1908.
Where the Pear Tree was used on shako plates by the Worcestershire Rifle Volunteers it was usually surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves (this was later changed to a wreath of laurel leaves in 1861).
The use of the Pear Tree was linked to the Worcester Coat of Arms which had Black Pears added to the Arms in 1634. Therefore, in 1634 the Coat of Arms was registered displaying both the 'castle' and the coat bearing the black pears and were described as the ancient and modern arms of the City of Worcester. Tradition has it that it was during the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Worcester in 1575 that Worcester acquired its second coat of arms featuring the black pears. It is said that during her procession through the streets of Worcester the Queen saw a pear tree which had been planted in the Foregate in her honour. She was so pleased at the appropriateness of the tree growing right in the heart of a fruit growing region, that she bade the city add the emblem of pears to its Coat of Arms.
It may be legend too that the Worcester Archers rallied under the pear trees before the battle of Agincourt and it is interesting to note that the pear blossom was borne as a badge by the Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry from the beginning of this century until 1956.
Pear Tree emblem
This Shako plate above was worn by officers of the Worcestershire Rifle Volunteers from 1861 to 1878. Note the pear tree in the centre surrounded by a laurel wreath. The silver star can also be seen behind the pear tree. They were worn until the adoption of helmets in 1878.