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Oak Apple Day at The Commandery

A Right Royal Restoration at The Commandery

19th May 2017

Oak Apple Day at The Commandery

Saturday 27 – Monday 29 May 2017. 10am – 5pm (from 1.30pm Sunday)

Maypole and Morris dancing, music and a 17th century football match will sweep visitors back in time during the late May bank holiday weekend Saturday 27 to Monday 29 May.

Oak Apple Day originally celebrated the day that Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne in 1660. He declared the event should be remembered annually on May 29, which was also his birthday. It remained a public holiday for 200 years until it was abolished by the Victorians in 1859.

Oak leaves will festoon The Commandery, in memory of the oak tree in which Charles II hid after escaping from his loss at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 to Cromwell's Parliamentarian army.

Visitors will be able to meet historical characters at The Commandery and learn their stories in a living history camp in the grounds and uncover the 'corrupting' influence of coffee in the 17th century, as well as enjoying a local artisan coffee from the newly opened café.

The Commandery will be transformed with garlands of oak leaves and the 'Royal Oak' ale tent in the gardens will be a lively spot for old-fashioned pub games.

To complete the leafy theme, families will enjoy oak leaf woodcut printing and decorating woodland masks to wear for the humorous mummer's play which tells the tale of Charles' escape. Children can try have-a-go archery on Sunday and dressing up and games in the courtyard all weekend.

On Monday, the traditional date of Oak Apple Day, Stourbridge-based Bedcote Morris will bring their bells, sticks and boxes and teach some Cotswold Morris steps to their audience.

Charlie Fothergill, The Commandery marketing officer, says: "The Oak Apple Day celebration at The Commandery is one of the most joyful events of the year. It is a fantastic combination of old fashioned spring-time family fun and a glimpse into the significance of the history of Worcester."

The enduring popularity of this story led to the 'Royal Oak' being the third most popular pub name in Britain today, with at least 6 Royal Oaks in Worcestershire.

The Oak Apple weekend will run from Saturday, May 27 to Monday, May 29 from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Monday and from 1.30-5pm on Sunday.

Entry to the Commandery is free for Worcester city residents.

The weekend is organised by The Commandery in partnership with The Worcester Militia.

For the full programme for Oak Apple Weekend at The Commandery please visit www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk or see The Commandery's Facebook page.

The Commandery is open Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm; Sunday 1.30pm - 5pm

Facebook: www.facebook.com/commandery Twitter: @worcestermuseum

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