Oak Apple Day Figure
This unusual statue was once the centrepiece for a drunken celebration at Tong Fold in Bolton. The occasion was Oak Apple Day once a national commemoration of the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660.
The day was officially commemorated until 1859 when it was abolished by Parliament as part of a campaign to remove public holidays which had become associated with drunkenness and disorder.
Even so the tradition continued in many parts of the country and was still practised in Tong Fold until after the Second World War.
The ritual also involved a re-enactment of King Charles hiding in a tree. A wooden statue was hung in an oak tree to be later ‘discovered’ and brought indoors. Regulars would then kiss the statue.
The statue itself is a mystery. It has little resemblance to Charles II and may have originally been carved in South or Central America as a representation of Christ or a Roman Catholic saint. We can only guess how it came to a pub in Tong Fold.
The Tong Fold Oak Apple Day celebrations continued until 1949 when the pub lost its licence and became a private house.