Shit Sack Day

Two years ago I posted about Royal Oak Day, 29th May, to commemorate when Charles II returned to London and was restored as King in 1660.

On this day, true Royalists wear a sprig of oak leaves in recognition of Charles’s escape by hiding in an oak tree at Boscobel House, Shropshire, after his defeat by Cromwell at the Battle Worcester.

I have since discovered that in some parts of the country, Oak Apple Day was also known as ‘Shit-Sack Day’ or ‘Shick-Sack Day‘, when it was customary to decorate statues and front door with branches of oak leaves. Any undecorated house would be at risk of instead being festooned with a wreathes of stinging nettles on the door and the owner taunted with the chant1Blogspot.com. (2016). Sic-Sac! – The Customs and Traditions of Oak Apple Day. [online] Available at: http://darkdorset.blogspot.com/2016/05/sic-sac-customs-and-traditions-of-oak.html [Accessed 29 May 2022].:

Shic Sack, penny a rag
Bang his head in Cromwell’s bag
All done up in a bundle.

At Durham Cathedral, the choir used to sing an anthem from each of three sides of the tower on Royal Oak Day. I’m not sure if this custom continues. The custome dates back to the 14th-century and used to be observed on the anniversary of the Battle of Neville’s Cross and was prohibited during the Commonwealth. With the Restoration the day was changed to Royal Oak Day2Royal Oak Day. | Shields Daily News | Saturday 28 May 1927 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001168/19270528/047/0003 [Accessed 29 May 2022]..

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