Oak Apple Day at Moseley

Portrait of King Charles II, after Kneller

Charles II was restored to the throne of England on 29 May 1660, which was also his birthday. To commemorate this event, and in remembrance of his once hiding in an oak tree, the date was declared Oak Apple Day. There are some strange traditions associated with this now.

At Moseley Old Hall you can find out all about Charles hiding in an oak tree the day before he came to Moseley on his escape from defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The tree became an important symbol for Charles and many pubs are now named the Royal Oak. On Oak Apple Day you were required to wear a sprig of green oak or you were thrashed with nettles. On Tuesday 29th May we asked our vistors to show their support of the king by wearing oak leaves. Luckily we didn't have to beat anyone with nettles.

Do you know what an oak apple is? It is the common name for a sort of round, almost apple like gall found on many species of oak. It is caused by chemicals injected by certain kinds of gall wasp larva. The female wasp lays eggs in developing leaf buds and the larva feed on the gall tissue resulting from their secretions. Not a very pretty thought... and definitely not something to bite into.