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Oak Apple Day

55m ago
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Description

Oak Apple Day takes place in Great Wishford on 29th May. The villagers ceremonially assert their right to gather wood and rear cattle in Grovely Wood which is owned by the Wilton Estate. During the ceremony, the men of the village go very early to Grovely and cut an oak bough which is then decorated with ribbons and displayed from the church tower. To maintain the charter which allows them to collect wood, a small group of women from the village must go to Salisbury Cathedral and re-assert their right. Dressed in traditional costume the Nitch Ladies dance in The Close to symbolise the women that protested when the Lord of the Manor threatened to revoke their right to gather wood. Nitches are the bundles of dry wood that they carry. A service is held outside the Cathedral and the refrain “Grovely, Grovely and all Grovely” is shouted as the villagers claim the forest. The banner they carry says “Unity is Strength”. After the ceremony, the villagers return to the village for a procession, to dance around the maypole and celebrate to brass band music at the village fair.