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from the Roger Carter Collection - What is Shick-Shack Day?

Those of you who knew Roger will know that he corresponded with people from all over the country and abroad. Sue Heward, has started to look through some of these letters and to share Roger's research and knowledge with everyone.

Maybe it's a little early in the year to share this story, however, and just maybe it gives us all something to look forward to. The first story is Remembering ‘Shick-Shack’ Day

Shick-Shack Day, or Oak Apple Day was celebrated on the 29th May and was also known as Restoration Day. It was made an official Bank Holiday in 1660 to celebrate Charles the Second’s birthday and his triumphant return to London to restore the monarchy to England. It remained a Bank Holiday until 1859, but celebrations for the day continued well into the twentieth century and it is still celebrated to this day in several places including Membury in Devon, Worcester, Castleton, Northampton and by the Chelsea Pensioners.

Shick-Shack is the South Somerset term for the oak apple, a plant gall formed by a wasp on oak leaves. It is a reference to the Civil War Battle of Worcester in September 1651, when Charles escaped the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree. To commemorate the event people wore oak apples, or sprigs of oak leaves. Up to the beginning of the twentieth century carters would display sprigs of leaves on their horses’ bridles.

The day was full of parties and dancing and also some rough chases. Those who did not wear oak leaves were liable to be pelted with birds’ eggs, thrashed with nettles or pinched, giving rise to the unofficial name of ‘Pinch-bum Day’. People also wore oak apples (the gall formed by a wasp in oak trees, known here as Shick-Shacks).

Do you remember Shick-Shack Day?

Do you have any memories or photographic images of Shick-Shack Day and how it was celebrated in Chard? Let us know by emailing and we will add them to our archives and share them through the website and newsletter.

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1 Comment

Gwyneth Jackson
Gwyneth Jackson
Feb 05, 2021

What a great story. I knew nothing about Shirk shack day. Thank goodness Roger Carter recorded these things for us and thank you Sue for unearthing it. Looking forward to celebrating it in May 😊

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