Castleton Garland

Where: Castleton, Derbyshire - village centre, ceremony starting outside the Cheshire Cheese pub
When: 29th May (if 29th is a Sunday, Garland Day will be held on Saturday 28th or on Monday 30th!!)
Time: Garland making from noon, ceremony at 6.30 pm


Castleton Garland is a flower-covered framework  covering the Garland King, who leads a procession on horseback around the village accompanied by his Queen. It is over 3 feet high and weighs around 30 kg! Spectators are given sprigs of oak to adorn themselves (even dogs take part in this!). The band plays a special tune and the procession includes children who perform the Garland Dance at stops en route before gathering at the maypole for a ribbon dance. Afterwards the garland is winched up the church tower, until the flowers have wilted. The origins of the custom are obscure and go back centuries but the King and Queen wear Stuart costume and 29th May is Oak Apple Day (commemorating the retoration of King Charles II) so there may be a link with a  Seventeenth Century revival.

Helpful Hints

The village museum has a display of Garland memorabilia. If a man with oak fronds approaches you, he may ask if you want “some oak” – John was really puzzled because he thought he was being asked for a smoke!!

In 2017 29th of May is a Spring Bank Holiday Monday.

When May 29th falls upon a Sunday the Garland Ceremony may move either to the preceding Saturday or the following Monday (both have happened in earlier years).

Click here to find out more :


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