World Topiary Day and The Radish Feast

The inaugural World Topiary Day was held on 12 May 2020 - that’s the day on which Levens Hall and Garden’s ancient and quirky Radish Feast used to take place. 

Edward I granted a charter to the nearby village of Milnthorpe allowing it to hold an annual fair from the late 13th century.  Milnthorpe Fair became very popular and was well established by the time Colonel Graham resided at Levens Hall.  Colonel Graham was so irked by the lavish entertainment offered at the end of the Fair by neighbouring Dallam Tower, with whom their existed much rivalry, that the following year he invited all the dignitaries back to Levens Hall instead.  Attendees were expected to down the Hall's highly potent Morocco Ale from a constable glass, whilst standing on one leg, and then undertake the impossible task of walking across the bowling green in a straight line!

Why Radish Feast?

Party-goers were invited to consume Haverbread (thin, crisp oat cakes) and vast quantities of radishes (all of which were grown on the Estate)... a lethal combination when coupled with the spiced Morocco Ale!

So popular was the event by the 1870s, that entry became by ticket only.  In 1888 the Radish Feast was stopped by Captain Bagot as he feared the riotous behaviour would damage his chances of election to Parliament...