Sunday, 29 January 2012

Apple Tree Wassail !

'Wes hal' Saxon for be Hale and in good health' - Our Winchcombe Morris Happenstance organised a traditional Wassail again this year and its getting bigger and better each year.

The apple tree wassail is a toast to the tree , wishing for a good harvest of fruit in the autumn. Years ago labourers were paid partly in cider so it encouraged labourers to want to work at the farm with the best cider.

Part of the tradition is to crown a King and Queen who lead the procession to a chosen tree.

Everyone forms a ring around the tree and makes lots of noise including a gun shot into its boughs to wake the tree spirit up. I the old days a shot into the top boughs of a tree would also break off dead branches.
You can see one ofthe tree spirits..if you look !

The King and Queen are the first to dip toast into cider and hang on the tree...
"Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah"

...then everyone joins in doing the same....Flo the young whippet was being fed toast by some of the children....I bet she had a hangover this morning especially when it was dipped in 'Badgers Bottom' Cider !
Bob holding the Wassail Bowl.
   The Wassail bowl is filled with a special spiced apple drink which is tasted then the green man pours it around the trunk of the chosen tree.
   Old apple tree, we'll wassail thee,
And hoping thou wilt bear.
The Lord does know where we shall be
To be merry anither year.
To blow well and to bear well,
And so merry let us be;
Let ev'ry man drink up his cup
And health to the apple tree

Bob, Cressida and the Green man
"Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah"

Apple-tree, apple-tree,
Bear good fruit,
Or down with your top
And up with your root.-19th century

 Bud well, bear well
God send you fare well;
Every sprig and every spray
A bushel of apples next New Year Day.-19th century Worcestershire

     Blowe, blowe, bear well,
Spring well in April,
Every sprig and every spray
Bear a bushel of apples against
Next new year’s day -Painswick in Gloucestershire
The torchlit procession back up to Hayles Tea Shop for warm apple juice, tea and cake !

Albion Band singing Wassail

If you fancy a day out why not visit Hailes Abbey, Hailes Church then have Lunch or Tea at Hayles Fruit Farm..and don't forget to visit Winchcombe !


  1. Hurrah indeed! Definitely something to put in my diary (hope I'm driving by then!) - looks like a great event and so good to see it surviving.

  2. You know, I scrolled through the photos and saw people dressed up in some crazy gear, and the toast hanging on the tree and I thought my goodness, there is some weird stuff going on. And it's true, it is a little weird. But also very neat! What a cool thing to continue an old tradition, a lovely one out in nature with trees and dressing up!

    I think this is just the neatest thing (and looks like lots of fun!)so thank you for bringing the story here. And I just happened to find it because I was visiting folks from Artists in Blogland. :)



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