British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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306                                royal oak day.                       [MAY 29-
day has probably been more generally and loyally observed in this town than in many other places, from a feeling of gratitude to that monarch, who munificently contributed 1000 tons of timber out of Whittlewood Forest and remitted the duty of chimney-money in Northampton for seven years, towards the rebuilding of the town after the destructive fire of 1675. The statue of the king, which is placed in the centre of the balustrade on the portico of All Saints' Church, is always enveloped in oak-boughs on this day.—Glossary of North­amptonshire Words and Phrases, vol. ii. p. 68.
At one time the boys at Newcastle-upon-Tyne had a taunting rhyme, with which they used to insult such persons as they met on this day who had not oak-leaves in their hats :
" Royal oak, The Whigs to provoke."
There was a retort courteous by others, who contemptuously
wore plane-tree leaves:
" Plane-tree leaves; The Church folk are thieves."
Brand, Pop. Antiq. 1849, vol. i. p. 274.
On Royal Oak Day branches of that tree are carried in procession, and decorate many of the signs of public houses in Nottingham and elsewhere.—Jour, of the Arch. Assoc, 1853, vol. viii. p. 234.
On this day the Notts juveniles not only wear the usual piece of oak-twig, but each young loyalist is armed with a nettle, with which instrument of torture are coerced those unfortunates who are unprovided with " royal oak," as it is called. Some who are unable to procure it endeavour to avoid the penalty by wearing " dog-oak " (maple), but the punishment is always more severe on discovery of the imposition.—N. & Q. 1st S. vol. viii. p. 490.
In some parts of this county a garland, similar to the
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