Castleton, the pretty and popular Peak village, is famous for its castle, caverns and the rare mineral Blue John.
It is a village steeped in history, and is home to an ancient custom still carried out every year on or near May 29th.
This is called The Garland Ceremony, but the date was once celebrated throughout the country as Oak Apple Day, a commemoration of King Charles ll regaining the English throne.
The night before the ceremony, oak leaves and other greenery are tied to the tower pinnacles on St Edmund’s Church.
The next day begins with the King, minus his garland, and his consort, riding around the edge of the village, then the King has the garland lowered onto his shoulders.
Castleton Silver Band, playing a traditional old tune, accompany them. The procession stops at points along its route, where children do a little dance. The last stop is usually outside The George pub, opposite the church.
The ‘Queen’ is removed from the top of the main Garland at the church gate, after which the King and Consort ride towards the tower.
At the tower, with the King still sitting on his horse, the Garland is hoisted from his shoulders up to the top of the church tower.
A short film of this fascinating old ceremony and costumes worn by the King and his consort can be seen in Castleton Visitor Centre.