|Where:||St Neot, Cornwall at the Church|
Oak Apple Day or Royal Oak Day falls on 29th May and is the anniversary of the Restoration of King Charles II to the throne, which took place in 1660. Charles spent 10 years in exile during the rule of the Commonwealth following the Civil Wars, and his return was popularly celebrated as a return to the “good old days”. Within living memory, oak leaves used to be commonly worn as the symbol of the oak tree in which Charles hid from the Parliamentary forces whilst escaping after the Battle of Worcester, but nowadays in most places the celebrations are just a memory and the custom has lapsed to be replaced by Spring Bank Holiday. However, in Worcester the day is still marked by decorating the Guildhall gates and railings with oak leaves (Worcester was named as “the faithful city” for its royalist allegiance during the Civil Wars). St Neot in Cornwall hosts the most lavish celebrations,and a parade still marks the day with the hauling of an oak bough to the top of the church tower, where it remains all year. Old Cornwall Society branches are represented with banners and the church bells are rung, while dancing and other entertainments follow and many people attend wearing seventeenth century costume. The event was given a boost with a grant in 2013 so hopefully it will ensure that the celebrations continue into the future.
May 29th was also Charles II’s birthday. You can visit the oak tree where Charles hid at Boscobel in Staffordshire – it’s not the original tree but a direct descendant.
Click here for the St Neot village website which has full details of the event: http://www.stneot.org.uk
Photo by Abby Chicken.
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