image: title

Celebrate and learn about special days
every day of the year!

Back to Facts of the Day Calendar UK Calendar dates british festivals .... folklore ... anniversaries .... on this day

Royal Oak Day
29 May

image: Chreles IIRoyal Oak Day (Oak Apple Day) was a public holiday celebrated in England on 29 May to commemorate the restoration of the English monarchy, in May 1660.

“Parliament had ordered the 29th of May, the King’s birthday, to be forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he returning to London that day."
Samuel Pepys’s Diary 1st June 1660

Commonwealth of England

The English Civil War 1642-1649 was fought between the royalist forces loyal to King Charles I and the parliamentarians led by Oliver Cromwell. The Royalist were defeated at the Battle of Naseby in 1645 and Charles I was caught and executed on 30 January 1649. Cromwell declared Britain a republic 'The Commonwealth' and went on to become it's Lord Protector. Following his death in 1658 Cromwell was succeeded briefly by his son Richard before the monarchy was restored and Charles II became king on 29 May 1660.

How was Oak Apple Day marked?

Oak Apple Day was a time for dancing and parties.

To show their support for the monarchy, people wore sprigs of oak leaves or a sprig with an oak apple on (gall produced in oak buds by wasps).

On 29 May, children would challenge each other to show their oak sprigs or apples, and those not wearing one would face some form of punishment, varying from one place to another.

image: oak apple

"Pinch-Bum-Day" - a pinch on the bottom

"Nettle Day" - whipping with nettles

"The wise boy wore his oak leaves, armed himselves (sic) with a stinging nettle and carried a few dock leaves for first aid just in case"
Bibliography of Nottinghamshire Folk Plays & Related Customs

In some areas it was necessary to wear the oak sprig only until noon; after that one was safe

In the 1890s many railway engines were decorated with boughs of oak on 29 May.

Why was the Oak chosen to commemorate the return of the monarchy?

It is said that King Charles' life was saved after the battle of Worcester in 1651, when he escaped from the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree in the grounds of Boscobel House in Staffordshire.

How is Oak Apple Day celebrated today?

Although the public holiday was abolished in 1859, Oak Apple Day continues to be celebrated in parts of England today.

Northhampton still remembers Charles II and his escape after the battle of Worcester. The town is also grateful to Charles II, for giving the citizens one thousand tons of timber from the Royal forests of Whittlewood, after a great fire almost razed the town in 1675. A garland of oak-apples is laid at Charles II's statue each year.

London too celebrates 29 May at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, which Charles founded as a home for Army pensioners. The Chelsea Pensioners parade on this day for inspection by a member of the Royal Family in honour of King Charles II.

Castleton Garland Day is held on Oak Apple Day (unless this is a Sunday when proceedings will take place on the Saturday.) It is custom that has been celebrated in Castleton for hundreds of years, originally, possibly as a fertility rite, but today it is said to commemorate the restoration of Charles II. The Garland is 3 feet high and is made from a wooden frame to which small bunches of wild flowers and leaves are tied. It is worn by a man dressed in Stuart costume

image: Castleton Garland
Castleton Garland

In Worcester, the 'Faithful City', Oak Apple Day is commemorated by decorating the entrance gate to Worcester's Guildhall with oak branches and leaves.

The Oak Tree is a symbol of England

The image of the Royal Oak can be pubs and hotels signs, on stamps and also on coins (£1). There have also been numerous naval ships, a train and a London underground station named ‘The Royal Oak’.

image: pub sign
image: RHS
image: Stamp
Pub Sign
Postage Stamp

Also on this day ...

29 May 1917: John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Massachusetts
Often referred to by his initials JFK, Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

29 May 1953: Everest, the world's tallest mountain conquered
At 11:30 a.m. on 29 May 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth.



See Teaching Resources for today's date

Back to Facts of the Day Calendar

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec

email© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow. |

Facts and information about LondonBritish Royal FamilyVirtual Tour of the Thames

Special facts and information about each month of the yearInformation on Britain and the UK for Kids of all agesBritish History

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

Follow Project BritainTwitterFollow Mandy Barrow on TwitterGoogle Plus

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and 
are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

Woodlands Junior Homework Help new website

born on this day what happened on this day famous birthdays interesting facts did you know Interesting Calendar Facts.