duke of restormel

The Duke of Restormel

In Lostwithiel there was once a custom on Easter Sunday of the freeholders of the town and manor to assemble together, if not themselves then their deputies. Each in his turns mounted themselves on a horse with a sceptre in hand, a crown on his head and a sword borne before him, and was attended by all the rest on horseback, riding through the street in solemn state to the church. At the churchyard stile, the curate approached to meet him in reverential pomp and then conducted him to church to hear divine service. After the service he would go to a house that was expecting him and he was placed at the head of the table, always treating him with great respect and reverence to the part he was portraying, a prince. There they served him and kneeled to him and rites and ceremonies. This ended with dinner and the prince being voluntarily disrobed and descended from his momentary exaltation to mix with common mortals.

This custom seemed to have originated because of the prince who resided at Restormel Castle in former ages, it is a memorial of the days there was a princely magnificence to which Lostwithiel had formerly been honoured with.