Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Castleton Garland Day

It's May 29thOak Apple Day, the public holiday held between 1660 and 1859 which celebrated the restoration of King Charles IICastleton Garland Day is a Derbyshire custom which combines 'modern' elements of Oak Apple Day with much older May Day 'Jack in The Green' Paganism.

'The King' is put on a horse then festooned in a heavy garland of flowers topped with a smaller wreath. Thus 'crowned', he goes from pub to pub with great pomp and circumstance, with a Queen, a band, and most of the village following behind him. Music is played, songs are sung, ale is imbibed and, eventually (much to the relief of 'The King', no doubt) the larger garland of flowers is taken from him and put on top of the tower of the church, and the smaller wreath placed on the War Memorial (i.e. where the Maypole would have once been).

Castleton is generally a very interesting place: it has a ruined castle and four impressive show caverns which used to serve as Lead and Blue John mines. It's one of my favourite places, although it can get very touristy - that said, I don't live there, so I suppose I'm part of the problem.


  1. I mentioned Oak Apple Day to some friends, proclaiming it an old holiday. They just said 'You're a teacher and you're on holiday anyway.' So I won and I lost too. Thanks, Charles.

  2. I live a few miles from the village and avoid it most of the time cos it's always crawling with day-trippers. Thus have never seen this legendary bit of living heritage that's on my very doorstep.