All posts tagged: wassailing

To make January that little less dreary, we can enjoy the fabulous tradition that is “Wassailing!”..

We have blogged about this in the past, it certainly adds some colour (and merriment) to a month where we are recovering from Christmas excesses.

SMCM Wassail 2014_7u5c3925

Photo Credit – Bill Bradshaw

Here are some links to reviews that we favourited on Twitter and Facebook.

January is of course the traditional time to go wassailing.

Here are some very special events that we recommend in Somerset.

Know of other events? Leave the details of the event in the comments below.

Walters Farm, Tintinhull Wassail – 7 January 2012 at 7pm

Wassail ceremony for the orchard’s old apple trees followed by music, giant hot dogs, danish pastry and cider punch. Parking at the village hall. Tickets £5 adults, children free. Please contact Anette Lorch to book before 2 Jan 2012. 01935 824868

Mid Somerset Show Wassail Evening – 12 January 2012 at 7pm

At the village green orchard at North Wootton. There will be music, noise, singing, toasting the apple trees, shooting the evil spirits plus bonfire, cider, soft drink bar and pig roast. There is no charge or booking needed for the outdoor part of the evening. Afterwards there will be entertainment in the Village Hall for members of the Society at £5 per head. This will include a ploughmans supper, apple muffins and entertainment. Members should book tickets with Bill Bartlett 01749 343091

Rich’s Cider Farm Charity Wassail – 14 January 2012 at 7.30pm

At Mill Farm, Watchfield, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 4RD. Come and join the Scrumpy & Western band the Mangledwurzels to serenade the orchards of Rich’s Cider Farm with hot mulled cider and a pig roast. Run in association with the Burnham-on-Sea Rotary Club. All profits go to charity. Tickets £9.50 available from Rich’s Cider Shop. 01278 783651 [email protected]

Somerset Rural Life Museum Wassail – 14 January 2012 at 7.30pm

At Abbey Farm, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury BA6 8DB. There will be music from Rapscallion, barn dance, family activities and seasonal refreshments. Tickets £8 for adults, £5 for children. Pre-booking is necessary. 01458 831197 [email protected]

Kilmersdon Wassail – 21 January 2012 at 12.00 noon

At Kilmersdon Village Hall, Radstock, Bath BA3 5TD. Ploughman’s lunches will be available and the 2012 Wassail Queen will be crowned at approximately 1.15pm. The Village Band will be in attendance and the Cam Valley Morrismen. This will be followed by a procession to the Community Orchard where the ceremony will take place and then on to the Old School House for tea and apple cake. The event is FREE apart form buying a ploughman’s lunch if you want to..

For further information contact Martin Horler 01761 437372

Wassailing is an old custom that takes place on Old Twelfth Night (17 January) or thereabouts, to exhort apple trees to fruit well the following season.

Customs and songs differ from place to place. At many events cider is poured onto the roots and shots fired through the branches to ward off evil spirits. Warm cider is drunk and toast soaked in cider is placed in the branches for the robin. Wassail songs are sung. More information on Wassailing at Wikipedia.

Here are the listings for wassail events in 2010:

UK events

Cornwall

Devon

  • Wassail at Saltram Saturday, 16 January 2010. From 6pm until 8pm Plymouth Join the wardens and the Dartington Morris Men at the Saltram orchard to take part in the ancient custom of wassailing. Followed by mulled cider and apple cake. For up-to-date listings please visit nationaltrust.org.uk/events
  • Yarde Orchard Wassail Saturday, January 16th, 2010. From 18:30. Once again we will be holding a traditional orchard wassail which includes ceremony and music around the orchard followed by feasting and dancing in the cafe afterwards. 01805 601778 or e-mail to reserve tickets £8.50 adults £4.50 under 16s.
  • Occombe Orchard Wassailing at Occombe Farm Lantern workshop 3.30 – 4.30 pm; Preparation for procession and refreshments 4.30- 5.30pm. Procession 5.30pm. Cost: £3.50 per lantern.

East Sussex

  • Middle Farm Wassail Saturday 16th January 2010. 6pm onwards The National Collection of Cider & Perry, Middle Farm, West Firle, Lewes, BN8 6LJ. Under the auspices of Hunter’s Moon Morris the farmhouse orchard will be soundly wassailed, with accompanying indoor revelries, involving much music and dancing, drummers, mummers, hot victuals, a bar full of cider (mulled and otherwise) and local ales, and much good company. Free entry.

London

Somerset

  • Wassailing at Rich’s Saturday 16th January 2010. Richs Farmhouse Cider, Mill Farm, Highbridge, Watchfield, TA9 4RD. Tel: 01278 783651. This years Rich’s Cider Farm Wassail will be held in aid of Cystic Fibrosis and will feature the Mangled Wurzels and Fred Bloggs. Tickets £12.50 in advance including Stew and a mug of mulled cider. Bar until midnight. Cancelled due to bad weather – update 13/01/01
  • Wassail at Orchard Barns, Rooksbridge, Somerset. Saturday, January 16 from 6.30pm. Held at Orchard Barns on the A38 in Rooksbridge to ensure a good apple harvest the following year. A cider bar and a barbecue will be on offer and money raised will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital and the village’s Lights for Life charity. Tickets priced £5 and include a cup of mulled cider with bread and cheese and are available from 01934 750255.

Yorkshire

  • Chevin Wildlife Watch Group Wassail Sunday 10th January. Meet at The White House, Johnny Lane, Otley 10am to 12pm Contact Jenny Watts (Parks and Countryside, Ranger, Leeds City Council) on (0113) 237 5320.

Worcestershire

  • Wassail at the Fleece Inn, Saturday 16th January 2010 from 6.30pm. Singing, drinking & Morris dancing. Home mulled Plum Jerkum plus a hearty stew with crusty bread served around 9pm

International events

Canada

USA

We’d love to add more, do you know of any? Let us know and we’ll add it to these listings.

Here is handy song sheet to sing at your Wassail event.

I got this from an award winning Morris Dance team at the Bath and West Show. I hope it brings you much success and bountiful crops of apples in the forthcoming season.

Happy apples and happy cider drinkers. Perfect!


Wassailing is so ancient that putting a date on when it began has been lost in time.

Wassailing however has given birth to other customs such as carol singing, and wishing others good health when drinking.

The main purpose of wassailing is to perform a ceremony to protect the trees from evil and to make them bear a plentiful fruit crop in the coming year. The event involves lots of cider, singing, dancing and celebrating trees in orchards on the 12th night.

How to wassail your apple trees

The assembled company surround a tree and toasted bread, soaked in cider, is placed in the branches of the tree (supposedly for the robins). Cider is then poured into the roots of the tree.

Everyone sings to the tree:

Old apple tree we wassail thee and hoping thou wilt bear
For the Lord doth know where we may be ‘til apples another year
For to bloom well and to bear well so merry let us be
Let everyone take up their cup and drink to the old apple tree

Then everyone calls out to the tree:

Old apple tree we wassail thee and hoping thou wilt bear
Hatfuls, capfuls, three bushel bagfuls and a little heap under the stairs
Hip hi hooray!

Then a great noise is made, customarily with shotguns being fired through the branches of the tree. The wassail ceremony is very simple and short but feel free to add your own variations.

There’s a great seasonal recipe for making Mulled Cider ideal for your wassail here.

More information on what happens at a Cider Wassail on the Daily Telegraph site, and at the National Association of Cider Makers.

Visit our events page for Cider events near you.