|Oak Apple - By Bob Embleton [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
[cont..] "...On the reverse, Cromwell was represented by the coarsest and most repulsive-looking scoundrel the town could produce. He was naked to the waist, and gloried in a long shaggy tail made of a hempen rope much frayed at the end. With this he belaboured any mischievous urchin who dared to interfere with his progress. Around his waist was tied a huge bag filled with soot. Himself and attendants were thickly daubed with oiled lamp-black and other disgusting compositions. At noon, when Charles had triumphantly made his procession through the town, the mischief began. Cromwell so managed his affairs that the two parties met each other at the bottom of Bampton Street, just opposite the entrance to the " Three Tuns Hotel." Now the gambols began, Cromwell plentifully besmeared all on whom he and his followers could lay hands, and carried them off to imprisonment till later on. Of course, in the general scrimmage that ensued, prisoners were captured on both sides, to be ransomed by their own friends at five o'clock, when the street entertainments ended and wilder orgies at the public houses began. The money collected was spent in mad carousals and jollifications. No women could venture into the streets ; if there were any brave enough to do so, it was at the peril of their lives. Next day many a head ached, and vows were registered that " Never no more wid any body git up tii theyse zoart o' May games agen."
This barbarous pastime has now entirely died out, and is only held in remembrance by Blundell's scholars, who, in hopes of getting a half-holiday, decorate the masters' desks and chairs with oak boughs before morning school. Let us hope that the headmaster does not turn a deaf ear to their silent prayer."