A Brief History of Flower Festivals

For centuries, English churches have held summer flower festivals. These events attract visitors to enjoy the colors, the fragrances, and the fellowship.

One of the most famous is held on Ascension Day in the Derbyshire village of Tissington. The custom dates back to 1350, the year of the Black Death. The villagers of Tissington survived because their water did not become contaminated. To show their gratitude, they made garlands of flowers. In 1615, there was a severe drought and many wells dried up, but not those in Tissington, and again the people were thankful. On Ascension Day, the villagers assembled in church for a service before processing to bless each of the five wells and dress them with flowers. Such “well dressings” are the work of a skilled team of people.

Here at Nativity, we dress our church altar each Sunday with lovely flowers. This year, after a three-year absence because of Covid, we are delighted to take these same skills to dress the entire church for a weekend of flowers and music. This is our gift to the community as we give thanks to God.