News release | For Immediate Release
Monday 15 May 2023
Bank Holiday Monday 29 May, 10am – 5pm
Hot on the heels of the coronation, Oak Apple Day celebrations return to The Commandery in an exciting day of living history on Bank Holiday Monday 29 May.
This spring tradition marks the anniversary of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 following the English Civil War – and has a special connection to the city of Worcester, the scene of the deciding battle of the Civil War in 1651.
The spectacular Grade-1-listed Commandery – the Royalist Headquarters during the Battle of Worcester – will be alive with reenactors, military demonstrations, history talks and more. Visitors can watch musket firing take place in the picturesque walled gardens, and children can take part in cannon and pike drills throughout the day too.
Fascinating talks from the Battle of Worcester Society and Worcester Reenactors will transport visitors back to the time of the Civil War – and people can take a tour up to Fort Royal Hill where fighting took place during the final battle in 1651.
The Commandery is one of the only places in the UK to still celebrate the spring tradition of Oak Apple Day, also known as Restoration Day. Nine years after Charles II hid from Parliamentarian troops in an oak tree following the loss of his Royalist cause at the Battle of Worcester, he returned to the throne on his thirtieth birthday, 29 May 1660 – which became the annual celebration of Oak Apple Day.
Helen Manning, Events and Activities Coordinator at The Commandery, says: “Oak Apple Day is a fun spring celebration for all the family to enjoy, and it brings to life some of the amazing stories from The Commandery’s history.”
There is no booking required for Oak Apple Day at The Commandery, and usual entry admission applies. There is free admission to those with a season or Worcester Residents’ pass to The Commandery.
Oak Apple Day is followed by more exciting living history. Children can follow in the footsteps of real Civil War soldiers over the May half-term holiday; when they can take part in a cannon drill, and even learn to wield a pike in the gardens. Join soldier school sessions from 10.30 – 11.30am and 1.30 – 2.30pm Tuesday 30 May to Friday 2 June. Usual admission + £4 per child. There’s no need to book – just turn up and get stuck in.
The canal-side independent café, Commandery Coffee, will be open and offering fantastic homemade cakes and toasties alongside a variety of drinks all week. Vegan and gluten-free options are available, making it the perfect place for all to refuel during an adventurous day out.
For further information, please visit museumsworcestershire.org.uk.
Notes to editors
Images attached show:
- Worcester Re-enactors performing a firing display in The Commandery’s garden
- Children taking part in a pike drill at The Commandery
The Commandery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and Sundays, 11am – 3pm.
On bank holidays, it is open from 10am – 5pm.
Celebrate the anniversary of the restoration of the crown in 1660!
Oak Apple Day marks the historic moment when King Charles II returned to the throne. The day was first celebrated on 29 May 1661 – King Charles II’s birthday.
Where better to commemorate this special occasion than at The Commandery, the Royalist Headquarters in the English Civil War?
Delve into an exciting day of living history with musket firing, pike drills and historic camps in the garden – and learn how to load a cannon too.
There’s no need to book, just turn up and enjoy.
Usual admission applies; free admission to those with a season or residents’ pass.
Worcester Resident: £7.25, Worcester Resident Family: £19.50, Adult: £8.50, Under-5s: Free, Family season ticket: £37.
The Commandery’s History
The Commandery was founded as a monastic hospital around 1085 by Saint Wulfstan, then Bishop of Worcester, to serve the needs of travellers outside the city walls and beautiful wall paintings from the 1500s can be seen on the walls of The Commandery today.
Most of the building dates form the late fifteenth century and is of timber framed construction. The Commandery was one of the last monastic institutions to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. In 1651 Charles II marched into Worcester and set up his Headquarters in the city, with the commander-in-chief the Duke of Hamilton billeted at The Commandery.
The building has also been a family home, a school for the blind, and a printing works.
For more information or further images please contact Alice Benbow, Museums Marketing Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org / 01905 361828.