|Oakapple, - by Bob Embleton [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
"Oakapple Day, otherwise King Charles' Day, was instituted to commemorate the escape of Charles II, on May 29th, 1657, from the hands of Cromwell after the battle of Worcester, by concealing himself in a tufted oak in the woods of Boscobel.
This day was, in the early part of the century, observed at Tiverton, in a rough and boisterous fashion. Doubtless Tiverton was not the only town at which the holiday was kept, but certainly no place could exceed it in mad revelry or wild enthusiasm.
Directly the day began the bells of St. Peter's Church clanged out furiously, awakening the inhabitants and warning the young folk that it was time to bestir themselves. Quickly donning their oldest garments the men turned out and started to collect faggots of greenery from every avaliable hedge and wood. The fronts of public buildings, shops and dwelling houses were profusely decorated with branches of oak, from which depended scores of oakapples previously gilded or covered with silver paper. Every man wore oak sprigs and a small oakapple in his button-hole and his hat was encircled with a wreath of oak leaves. Woe betide him who neglected to adorn his house or his person.
Charles and Cromwell were both befittingly represented.
The Royalist party was distinguished by its proud bearing and smart attire, while the roundhead party was expected to look the reverse of gentlemen.
Charles, enthroned in a gaily-decorated chair was borne on the shoulders of four stalwart men through the principal streets, and great homage and profound respect were paid to him..." [cont..]