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The History  Of The  Celebrations 

Wassail has become a tradition of the entire Christmas period. In the past it was generally most associated with Twelfth Night Eve and Twelfth Night celebrations. These involved blessing the fields, remembering the twelve apostles and predictions made by oxen. Along with the drink would be a range of Twelfth Night customs including singing, mumming, guessing games and begging to enter a house.  At times drink would be demanded while at other times drink would be brought by the participants to the house. There are three celebrations involving Wassail. One can Wassail in the hall and pass the bowl around in court from one to another as a form of loving cup. One can also partake of Wassail by taking the bowl around with you in a group going from house to house.  These are the celebrations we discuss here-just click!. The third form of Wassail involves the blessing of the Apple trees and the celebration of the fruit. You can go to our discussion of that custom by clicking here
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"Wassail - An etymology of this word wassale [is that] common people do = often, on those nights, wash their throats with ale." - Thomas Blount's Glossographia, 1656

Image Left:The Origins of Wassail by James Goodwin, Illustrated London News1865, Dec.23

The scene at left illustrates the famous early story of the Origin of Wassail.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain 1135
While [Vortigern] was being entertained [by Hengist] at a royal   banquet, the girl Renwein [Hengist's daughter] came out of an   inner room carrying a golden goblet full of wine.  She walked up   to the King, curtsied low, and said "Lavert King, was hail!"   When he saw the girl's face, Vortigern was greatly struck by her   beauty and was filled with desire for her. He asked his  interpreter what it was that the girl had said and what he ought to reply to her. "She called you Lord King," answered   the interpreter, and did you honour by drinking your health. What you should reply is `drinc hail'." Vortigern immediately   said the words "drinc hail" and ordered Renwein to drink. Then   he took the goblet from her hand, kissed  her and drank in his   turn.  From that day to this the tradition has endured in Britain that the one who drinks first at a banquet says "was hail" to his partner, and he who drinks next says   "drinc hail."
     --- Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain (~1135), vi.12  (translated from the Latin by L. Thorpe)

wassail   n.,
Etymology: Middle English wæs hæil, from Old Norse ves heill be well, from ves (imperative singular of vera to be) + heill healthy .Date: 13th century (see our famous re-enactment of this historical event click here) A festive occasion or meeting with much drinking and pledging of healths; a drinking  bout; a carouse.  the liquor used on such occasions, especially around Christmas or the new year.  a merry drinking song. the salutation formerly given in drinking the health of a person, as at a festivity.   v.,   wassailed, wassailing; to drink to the health or prospering of.   to drink wassail; to carouse.
 wassailer   n.,  one who wassails; a merry maker; a reveler.

In Saxon times the original form of this word was:  was hail, (be whole) and was a greeting meaning: "be in good health". In twelfth century, it became  a toast, you replied: drink hail, or "drink good health". (Hail = modern  "hale" ,Meaning:  "health; well-being". It is related to:  "hail" which  means "salute, greet or  welcome".) The toast originated with the Danes; by the twelfth century the Normans thought it to be  the most popular sayings of Britain .The word later was used for drink related to the toast.  which was usually spiced ale  or  mulled wine made for Christmas Eve or Twelfth Night (Jan.6). In the west of Britain the good health of the apple trees was toasted on Twelfth Night. The luck of next year's crop of cider apples was wished. Bread soaked in cider was put into the branches of trees to keep evil spirits away. Ritual songs were sung.Wassailing  This is also done on 17th January:  the Old Twelfth Night.  Hot cakes were a popular accompaniment. Cider was often splashed on the apple trees while men fired their guns at the tree and banged on pots and pans.

A.L. Lloyd in his work Folksong of England suggests that Wassail songs belong to a wider group of pan-European songs he calls quete  or quest, begging or collecting songs. He illustrates his point with examples from Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary,Ireland, Sweden and France.

Ronald Hutton Reports:"From the eighth century poem Beowulf to fourteenth century literature such as the conduct book of Robert of Brunne, the word "wassail"  appears as a toast.  It is simply the Old English for "be of good health".  The bowl is first mentioned by Matthew Paris in the thirteenth century, as one in which cakes and fine white bread were communally dipped.  Near the end of the same century Robert of Gloucester retold the legend of the marriage of the British king Vortigern with the Saxon princess Rowena, making the latter drink to the former with the words "waes heal".  When Peter de Lantoft repeated the story in the 1320s, he portrayed people drinking alternately from the same cup with the exchange "wassaille" and "drinkhaille", exactly as in Tudor England. This sequence raises the possibility that the exchange became customary around 1300, but this, again cannot be proved."- The Rise and Fall of Merry England, Ronald Hutton, Oxford,1996. p. 58.

What is interesting about the wassail custom is that those who go door to  door generally  bring  the wassail! Sometimes they mention receiving payment for it. This may indicate that the custom evolved as a way to re-distribute apple, ale, and alcohol  based resources. One function would be to preserve and re-distribute the crop but, could a concern for taxation enter into this? Certainly appearing to  give away alcohol as a part of ancient tradition may be a way to avoid the revenuer!

Ronald Hutton (in The Rise and Fall of Merry England  Oxford, 1996. )reports:
" A different sort of group activity at this season concerned the wassail cup or bowl.  A fourteenth century text by Peterd e Langtoft describes in detail the custom involving this vessel, to which the Tudor sources only refer in passing: the leader of a gathering took it  and cried "Wassail" Old English for "your health". He was answered "Drink hail", and then passed it to another person with a kiss, so that these actions could be repeated by each.  At the early Tudor court it was accompanied into the king's presence by the chief officers of the household, bearing staves.  In great families it was made of precious metal- Edmund earl of March, leaving a silver one upon his death in 1382.  By about 1600 it had become a custom for commoners to take a wassail bowl about the streets and probably from house to house, offering drink from it and sometimes expecting money in return.  A song, first recorded in 1550, runs:

     Wassail, wassail, out of the milk pail,
     Wassail, wassail as white as my nail,
     Wassail, wassail, in snow, frost and hail,
     Wassail, wassail, that much doth avail,
     Wassail, wassail, that never will fail.

The song may have been intended to accompany the bowl on its rounds of a village, and so the inception of that custom may lie in the early Tudor period or considerably before.  But the song may equally well have been part of the passage of the wassail within a household.  A similar problem of projection concerns the related custom of "wassailing" orchards in the Christmas season, by wishing the trees health and abundant crops in the coming year.  It is apparently first recorded at Fordwich, Kent, in 1585, and appears in Devon in the 1630s, according to the poem by Robert Herrick:

       Wassail the Trees, that they may bear
       You many a plum, and many a pear....

It appears to feature again in the diary of a Sussex parson in 1670 and is quite frequently recorded thereafter.  The fact that traces of it are found in fruit-growing areas of England under Elizabeth and the Stuarts argues for an origin at latest in the early Tudor or medieval periods.  Modern guides to English folk-customs have frequently described it as a relic of pre-Christian ritual, and so indeed it may be.  It may , nevertheless, also be an extension of the custom of the household wassail, made after the end of the Middle Ages." -pp.13-14.

"From the eighth century poem Beowulf to fourteenth century literature such as the conduct book of Robert of Brunne, the word "wassail"  appears as a toast.  It is simply the Old English for "be of good health".  The bowl is first mentioned by Matthew Paris in the thirteenth century, as one in which cakes and fine white bread were communally dipped.  Near the end of the same century Robert of Gloucester retold the legend of the marriage of the British king Vortigern with the Saxon princess Rowena, making the latter drink to the former with the words "waes heal".  When Peter de Lantoft repeated the story in the 1320s, he portrayed people drinking alternately from the same cup with the exchange "wassaille" and "drinkhaille", exactly as in Tudor England. This sequence raises the possibility that the exchange became customary around 1300, but this, again cannot be proved."- p. 58.

What is popularly known as wassailing was the custom of trimming with ribbons and sprigs of rosemary a bowl which was carried round the streets by young girls singing carols at Christmas and the New Year. This ancient custom still survives here and there, especially in Yorkshire, where the bowl is known as `the vessel cup,' and is made of holly and evergreens, inside which are placed one or two dolls trimmed with ribbons. The cup is borne on a stick by children who go from house to house singing Christmas carols. In Devonshire and elsewhere it was the custom to wassail the orchards [trees again!] on Christmas and New Year's eve. Pitchers of ale or cider were poured over the roots of the trees to the accompaniment of a rhyming toast to their healths"
(Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, vol. 28, p. 361).

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Loving Cup On the introduction of Christianity, the custom of wassailing was not abolished, but it assumed a religious aspect. The monks called the wassail bowl the poculum caritatis (loving cup), a term still retained in the London companies, but in the universities the term Grace Cup is more general. Immediately after grace the silver cup, filled with sack (spiced wine) is passed round. The master and wardens drink welcome to their guests; the cup is then passed round to all the guests. (See Grace Cup .)  A loving or grace cup should always have two handles, and some have as many as four. Loving Cup. This ceremony, of drinking from one cup and passing it round, was observed in the Jewish paschal supper, and our Lord refers to the custom in the words, “Drink ye all of it.”“He [the master of the house] laid hold of the yesset with both hands, lifted it up, and said- Blessed be Thou, O Lord our God, thou king of the world, who hast given us the fruit of the vine; and the whole assembly said `Amen.' Then drinking first himself from the cup, he passed it round to the rest.”- Eldad the Pilgrim, chap. ix."

Pig and Whistle The bowl and wassail, or the wassail-cup and wassail. A piggen is a pail, especially a milk-pail; and a pig is a small bowl, cup, or mug, making “milk and wassail;” similar to the modern sign of Jug and Glass- i.e. beer and wine. Thus a crockery-dealer is called a pig-wife.

Pin We are told that St. Dunstan introduced the plan of pegging tankards to check the intemperate habits of the English in his time. Called “pin-tankards.”  In merry pin. In merry mood,in good spirits. Pegge, in his Anonymsina says that the old tankards were divided into eight equal parts, and each part was marked with a silver pin. The enps held two quarts, consequently the quantity from pin to pin was half a Winchester pint. By the rules of “good fellowship” a drinker was supposed to stop drinking only at a pin, and if he drank beyond it, was to drink to the next one. As it was very hard to stop exactly at the pin, the vain efforts gave rise to much mirch and the drinker had generally to drain the tankard. (See Peg.)

     “No song, no laugh, no jovial din
     Of drinking wassail to the pin.”

-Source=The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable., Cobham Brewer, 1894.

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The Origin of the Term: Lambswool
"According to Vallancey, (Collectanea, iii. 444.) the term Lamb's  Wool is a corruption from La Mas Ubhal  the day of the apple fruit, pronounced Lamasool."
-William Sandys, Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern,London,1833.

Editor's Note:
When the roasted apple is placed into the liquid of the Wassail bowl it does actually look like strands of wool.
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Twelfth Day and Wassail (Jan 6)

From: Le Neve, The Royalle Book,Henry VII.
As for the void on the Twelfth Night, the king and the queen ought to have it in the hall.  And as for the wassail, the steward, the treasurer, and the controller, shall come for it with their staves in their hands; the king's server and the queen's having fair towels about their necks, and dishes in their hands, such as the king and queen shall eat of; the king's carvers and the queen's shall come after with chargers or dishes, such as the king or queen shall eat of, and with towels about their necks. And no man shall bear anything unless sworn for three months.  And the steward, treasurer, comptroller, and marshall of the hall shall ordain for all the hall.  And, if it be in the great chamber, then shall the chamberlain and ushers ordain, after the above form;  and if there be a bishop, his own squire, or else the king's such as the officers choose to assign shall serve him; and so of all the other estates, if they be dukes or earls; and so of duchesses and countesses.   And then there must come in the ushers of the chamber, with the pile of cups, the king's cups and the queen's and the bishop's with the butlers and wine to the cupboard, and then a squire for the body to bear the cup, and another for the queen's cup such as is sworn for hire.

The singers (of the chapel) may stand at one side of the hall, and when the steward cometh in at the hall-door, with the wassail, he must cry thrice "Wassail," &c, and then shall the chapel answer it aon with a good song, and thus in likewise, if it pleased the king to keep the great chamber.  And when the king and queen have done, they will go into the chamber.  And there belongeth for the king, two lights with the void, and two lights with the cup; and for the queen as many- antiq. Rep. 1807, Vol.i.,p.328


In Cumberland and other northern parts of England on Twelfth Night, which finishes the Christmas Holidays the rustics meet together in a large room. They begin dancing at seven o' clock, and finish at twelve, when they sit down to lobscouse and ponsondie; the former is made of beef,potatoes, and onions, fried together; and in ponsondie we recognise the wassail or waes-hael of ale, boiled with sugar and nutmeg, into which are put roasted apples; the anciently admired lamb's-wool.  The feast is paid for by subscription..(of the participants).- Time's Telescope, 1825, p. 13
 Theselton Dyer,British Popular Customs Past and Present., London, George Bell and Sons, 1876, (Apple Tree reprint.) pp.27-29.

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The Book of Days P55.Jan5 12th day eve.

"In Herefordshire, at the approach of the evening, the farmers with their friends and servants meet together, and about six o’ clock walk out to a field where wheat is growing. In the highest part of the ground, twelve small fires, and one large one, are lighted up. The attendants, headed by the master of the family, pledge the company in old cider, which circulates freely on these occasions. A circle is formed round the large fire, when a general shout and hallooing takes place, which you hear answered from all the adjacent villages and fields. Sometimes fifty or sixty of these fires may be seen all at once. This being finished, the company return home, where the good housewife and her maids are preparing a good supper. A large cake is always provided, with a hole, in the middle. After supper, the company all attend the bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the wain-house, where the following particulars are observe: The master at the head of his friends, fills the cup (generally of strong ale), and stands opposite the first or finest of the oxen. He then pledges him in a curious toast: the company follow his example, with all the other oxen, and addressing each by his name. This being finished, the large cake is produced, and, with much ceremony, put on the horn of the first ox, through the hole above mentioned. The ox is then tickled, to make him toss his head: if he throw the cake behind, then it is the mistress’s prerequisite; if before (in what is termed the boosy), the bailiff himself claims the prize. The company then return to the house, the doors of which they find locked, nor will they be opened till some joyous songs are sung. On their gaining admittance, a scene of mirth, and jollity ensues, which lasts the greatest part of the night."—Gentleman’s Magazine, February, 1791. The custom is called in Herefordshire Wassailing. The fires are designed to represent the Saviour and his apostles, and it was customary as to one of them, held as representing Juas Iscariot, to allow it go burn a while and then put it out and kick about the materials.

At Pauntley, in Gloucestershire, the custom has in view of the prevention of the smut in wheat "all the servants of every farmer assemble in one of the fields that has been sown with wheat. At the end of twelve lands, they make twelve fires in a row with straw: around one of which, made larger than the rest, they drink a cheerful glass of cider to their master’s health, and success to the future harvest; then returning home they feast on cakes made with carraways, soaked in cider which they claim as a reward for their past labour in sowing the grain"- Rudge’s Gloucester.

-Chambers, The Book of Days.,



UP-HELLY-AA - Lerwick, Shetland

A possible source for 12th night wassailing?:
The  last Tuesday in January. Until 1874, young men of the town a.k.a.  "Guizers". Put four to 8 tar barrels onto sledges.  The Barrels were set on fire, a procession formed and  they were  then dragged all around town through the night. Early the next morning the men would go house to house. Their visits were thought to bring luck.

In  1874 the custom was banned by the town council.  Safety and the mess of the tar were cited as reasons- Source:

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Horatio Tucker :1957, says the wassail would done  either on New Year's Eve or on Twelfth Night, January 6. The wassaileers  carried a "susan" containing the Wassail  which is  a large earthenware pitcher, wrapped up  in a sheepskin to keep it warm.Their wassail was composed of warm and highly-spiced ale. They filled up the "susan" at  each place where they stopped .  The wassailers sang outside.

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Mr Eric Gibbs, of Llangennith, noted that  Phil Tanner conducted he wassail ceremony with  Billy
Bond, on  January 5,  upon the night before  Twelfth Night. Phil made  the wassail a week before This was an interesting mixture. of  home-brewed brown ale, elderberry wine, fruit cake, ginger and spices. It  would be carried in a large   tin can. The can would hold  about a gallon and a half. As the ceremony progressed  the wassail was replenished with brandy, whisky, rum, or in fact any liquid provided by the villagers. After the ceremony was done  12 pints of it would remain.  Phil and Billy then went to the Picnic Room at the King's Head. The landlord would give them straw and they would not emerge for a few days.

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Wassail in Wales
               The custom may have started as a way of wishing the farmer success with his crops and livestock in the year to come. The wassail bowl had twelve handles. The bowl was filled with cakes, baked apples and sugar. Warm beer and spices were then poured into it. The bowl was then passed around from person to person gathered round the blazing fire until the beer was gone. Any food left over was shared. . The wassail bowl was taken on 12th night to the houses of newlyweds or to a family new to the community. At this time songs were sung with those inside taking their part.-Source: Peter Williams


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The Bodmin (Cornwall) Wassail Cup Tradition--" Nicholas Sprey, town clerk of Bodmin, by his will, bequeathed "13s. 4d. yearly among such good friends of the better sort, inhabitants of      Bodmin, as shall be pleased to make at some convenient house in the said borough, on Twelfth-day a supper, and for furnishing a wassail cup with wyne and  sugar, and from thence to go with the cup to every mayor's house yearly and for ever according to the manner and fashion in that kind accustomed, for the continuance of love and neighbourly meeting in the said town; to be paid out of the rents and yearly profits of a house and stitch of land in Bore-street, and over against the Bore-lane; and if it be not used every year to revert to testator's heirs."

      The rent-charge of 13s. 4d. was received by the corporation out of the premises alluded to until the death of Mr. Samuel Stone in 1838, when the devisees under his will objected to make any further payment, alleging that it was nothing more than a free gift. The origin and purpose of the charge had been entirely  forgotten; and, the conditions of the bequest having ceased to be fulfilled, the gift would revert to the heirs of the testator or their assigns, in accordance with the terms of the will."-Source:

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The Truro Wassail Boy Tradition

Peter Kennedy Reports in: Folksongs of Britain and Ireland.,:
"The Truro "Wassail Boys", up to the time when this recording was made, (Can Wassel) had maintained an unbroken tradition of wassailing around Truro and district between Christmas and the New Year.  Into the wooden Wassail Bowl, which they carry from door to door, goes a wide variety of alcoholic drinks and coins donated by the householders and landlords of public house on whom they call." One wonders what sort of wooden bowl this was and of the alcoholic drinks themselves.

Here we wonder why the participants are over the age of 50? Is that because of a recent qualification and formal arrangement or is it because the youth take no interest. It would be of interest to note the reasons for the latter if provided by the participants.

"The Boys consisted on this occasion of Harold Tozer (aged 52) lead singer, Thomas Jewel (aged 64) bass and Albert Jose (age 67) descant.  Mr. Tozer started going round with the Wassail Boys at the age of sixteen and the other two began ten years  prior to the year of the recording." Kennedy also lists objects brought around with the "Boys" and notes that they are brought for good luck. They are: a bowl, box, vessel, bouth or evergreen branch or seasonal flowers. Kennedy suggests that the wooden bowl is used because of an old rule of the church that banned the use of bowls of wood for holy communion. Cecil Sharp is credited with this observation. A custom of decorating a young child in evergreen is also noted. The child is called "Lucy Green". Kennedy quotes Broadwood who reported on a Yorkshire version which mentioned that: "The children carry green boughs and wave them over their heads asking for a New Year's gift) -Broadwook, 1893, English County Songs.
Kennedy also notes that Dunstan in Christmas Carols)(1925) has reported that children blacken their faces are covered in and carry greenery and sing:

"Pier, Tier, Wessel
And a jolly wessel

He also refers to a custom of making a box, filling it with greenery and an image of Christ. This "wessel" box is taken door to door in Whitby, Yorkshire. At each stop people take a sprig of greenery out of the box.  A "Christmas vessel-cup" tradition is referenced. pp.231-2
Clearly there is an inventory of activities that cluster around these events. It is perhaps important to note that they seem to represent inventory of things to do in a specific season rather than remnants of some grand unifying tradition now preserved only as an eroded patchwork although, one can never entirely rule this out. One must however, consider customs as an assemblage from which tradition can be formed and re formed. Some of these artifacts seem to be tied to seasons while others appear as parts of observance constructs throughout the year.

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Wassail and New Year's Eve
"New Year's Eve was observed as a convivial and cordial meeting, as it still continues in some places, and the wassail-bowl was again brought into requsition, and occasionally carried about by young women from door to door with an appropriate song."- William Sandys, Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, London,1833.p.lxvi, Sandys continues by inserting a version of the Gloucestershire Wassail Song which he found In: Hone's Every-day Book, vol. ii. p.14, as a Wassail Song, sung in Gloucestershire on New Year's Eve."

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It is not clear however if #87 Can Wassel in Kennedys work is also that known as the Truro Wassail. If you can clarify this let me know. We also regret the absence of information concerning the wooden bowl and the alcoholic drinks. It seems that the wassail bowls themselves are a very much neglected part of the record and we seek more information on them as well. Kennedy also has not mentioned how one becomes a "wassail boy" is this a formal process or is it just between friends?  To send e.mail click here

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Bees and Wassail

Source: The Folklore of Hertfordshire by Doris Jones-Baker, published 1977 by B.T.
Batsford Ltd, 4 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 0AH.

Old Christmas, or Epiphany, was the season for the Wassailers to make their
rounds of the parish, to be rewarded for singing carols, and at farms to
serenade the apple and other fruit trees, and the beehives, to assure
fertility and a good crop in the coming year. These visits of the Wassailers
arc generally recorded in the account books of Hertfordshire squires who by
custom gave gifts of money as well as refreshments of the season. In the
late seventeenth century James Forrester of Broadfield Hall, Cottered,

Gave the fidlers and Wasellers, 1s 6d

The custom of wassailing the beehives was kept up in some parts of the
County until the last years of the nineteenth century, if not later still.
The Rev. Canon John Catterick, the present Rector of Ashwell, collected the
words of this traditional song from one of the last of Ashwell's Morris Men:

Bees, oh bees of Paradise,
Does the work of Jesus Christ,
Does the work which no man can.
God made bees,
And bees made honey,
God made man,
And man made money.
God made trees,
And trees made branches,
God made young men,
To love little wenches.

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History/Discography of the Songs
From Pete Kennedy of Folktrax.
To obtain copies of the Folktrax recordings  go to their web page click here

WASSAIL - ROUD#209 - SANDYS CC 1833 pp50-2 from Ritson: Ancient Songs (w/o) "A Carrol for a Wassel-bowl" - BROADWOOD OES 1843 - BELL BSPE 1857 pp183-4/ p403 Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestersh (w/o) - SUMNER BM 1888 - BROADWOOD Sussex 1890 - BROADWOOD ECS 1893 pp14-15 H M Bower: Anston, Yorksh "The Wassail Bough" -REYNARDSON Sussex 1890 p6 - ADDY: "Folk Tales & Superstitions" 1895 pp107-8 Sheffield, Yorksh "Jolly Wessel Bough" (w/o) - BARING GOULD GCS 1895 pp44-5 Langport, Somerset & Grampound - Ms #159 6var incl Truro & Fowey Cornwall & also from Som & Wilts - BG-HITCHCOCK 1974 pp104-5 Michael Nancarrow - SHARP- MARSON FSS 5 1904-9 #127 pp70-79 & pp91-6 Harry Richards, Curry Rivel. Somerset/ Drayton, Somerset/ Wm Crockford, Minehead, Somerset (notes) "Apple Tree W" "New Year's Song" - SHARP-KARPELES CSC 1974 #373 p515-528 Harry Richards/ Mrs Overd & Mrs Trott, Langport, Somerset 1909 1v/m/ Miss Quick, Drayton, Somerset 1903/Jim Woodland, Stocklinch, Somerset 1903/ Wm Bayliss, Buckland, Gloucestersh 1909/ Wm Sparrow, Kemble, Gloucestersh 1913 1v/m/ Wm John Trenerry, Redruth, Cornwall 1913/ Wm T Passmore, Camborne, Cornwall 1913 1v/m/ Bill Bailey, Cannington, Somerset 1907 1v/m/ Jack Barnard, Bridgwater, Somerset 1916/ Barrington Wassailers, Hambridge, Somerset 1904/ Wm Crockford, Bratten, Somerset 1906/ Charles Ash, Crowcombe, Somerset 1908 - GILLINGTON OCCSC 1910 p5 Surrey "We are not daily beggars"/ p8 "My shoes are very muddy"/ p10 "Now my Dorn is ended"/ pp22-23 Surrey "Here comes poor Jack" - SHARP EFCa 1911 p55 Wm Bayliss - LEATHER 1912 p206 "Marden Forfeit Song" - JFSS 5:18 1914 pp28-30 Sharp: W J Trenerry/ Charles Ash - JFSS 1915 pp210-13 Gilchrist/ Kidson - VAUGHAN WILLIAMS ETEC 1919 pp26-7 Hooton Roberts, Yorksh - Alfred WILLIAMS FSUT 1923 pp116-117 'Wassail' Harvey, Cricklade (Ms#367) & E Smart, Oaksey, Wiltsh (w/o) "Thames Head Wassailer's Song" - DUNSTAN 2nd Bk of Carols 1925 p64 Yorkshire "Vessel Cup" - OXFORD 1928 2 var "Here we come a- wassailing" - JFSS 8:33 1929 pp120-4 J E Thomas (c): Benjamin Little, Truro/ Thomas & T Miners (c): Wm Pappin/ Mrs Carlyon 1v/m/ W J Bennetts/ Mrs Woolcock 1v/m, Camborne, Cornwall - JFSS 8:34 1930 pp231-2 Karpeles: Edwin Ace, Llangennith, Glamorgansh 1928 8v/m (notes) - DUNSTAN 1929 p132 words from Truro area - JEFDSS 1952 pp17-19 Percy Ms c1760 unpubl Wassail with notes & refs - JEFDSS 9:3 1962 p157 Francis Collinson: Margaret Eyre, St Briavels, Gloucestersh 1958 "Brockweir (Nr Chepstow, Monmouth) WS" - ED&S 28:2 1966 p46 Sharp: Charles Ash - GUNDRY CK 1966 p56 Peter Kennedy: Joe Thomas, Helston, Cornwall 1956/ R Morton Nance Ms (w/o) - ED&S 32:4 1970 Carhampton - ED&S 33/4 1971 Truro (Elizabeth Lamb) - PALMER SOM 1972 p13 George Dunn, Quarry Bank, Staffordsh - ED&S 36:4 1974 p132-3 Elizabeth Lamb: Stoke Gabriel, Devon 1969 "Apple W Song" ("Bud and blossom") (& discussion on Devon Wassailing) - KENNEDY FSBI 1975 #87 "Can Wassel" Truro Wassaillers led by Harold Tozer (rec Malpas) - ED&S 42/3 1980 pp2-5 Bob Patten: Charlie Showers 50 years a wassailer - RICHARDS/STUBBS EFS 1979 pp64-5 Bob Patten:
Eddie Cornelius, Shepton Beachamp, Somerset 1977 - PALMER EBECS 1979 #144 pp234-7: J J Mountford; Michael Nancarow, Grampound, Cornwall "Grampound W"/ pp217-8 Sharp: Charles Ash, Crowcombe, Somerset 1908 "Apple Tree W" - GARDHAM ERS 1982 p8 John Hodson, Aldbrough, Yorksh 1973 - PALMER RVW 1983 #51 pp79-81 RVW: Mr Dykes, Weobley, Herefordsh 1912 - ED&S 50:4 1988 pp2-3 Gwilym Davies: Dick Parsons, Shurdington, Gloucestersh c1975/ Lem Hayward, Arlingham, Gloucestersh 1977/ Mrs Stevens, Bisley, Gloucestersh 1977/ Billy Buckingham, Stonehouse, Gloucestersh 1979 --RECORDINGS - Wassailers, rec Drayton, Somerset 1943 BBC 6801- rec "King William", Curry Rivel, Somerset 1949 BBC 9650 - Talk by William Tarr & Song by Mr Adams rec Carhampton Somerset 1947: BBC 11975 - Phil TANNER of Llangennith rec by Maud Karepeles, Penmaen, Gower S Wales 1949: BBC 13386/ FOLKTRAX 057-C60 - TRURO WASSAILERS (Verses "lined-out" by leader) rec 1949 BBC 14647 with opening & end of song & sound of wassailers entering/ rec by Peter Kennedy 1957: BBC LP 25653 Song & Interview: FOLKTRAX 010-C60 - Sidney RICHARDS rec by Peter Kennedy, Curry Rivel, Somerset 2/5/52 BBC 177880 - Emily
BISHOP rec by Peter Kennedy Bromsberrow Heath Herefordsh 1952/ FOLKTRAX 129-C60/ BBC 18685 "Here we come a-wassailing" - Joe THOMAS (with talk about custom) rec by Peter Kennedy Constantine, Cornwall 22/11/56 BBC LP 23654/ FOLKTRAX 101-C60/ 218-C60 - AS I ROVED OUT Radio prog 1956: FOLKTRAX 253-C60 (Truro/ Emily Bishop/ Tanner & Fred Adams, Carhampton with guns) intro by Peter Kennedy - Charlie BATE (voc/acc) rec by Peter Kennedy, Padstow 1957: CAEDMON TC-1224 - Walter & Harry SEALY (2var) rec by Peter Kennedy Ash Priors Somerset 24/1/57 BBC LP 26368 - Bill MEARE rec by Peter Kennedy Drayton Langport Som 25/1/57 - Rowland KELLETT of Leeds rec by Peter Kennedy, London 1963 FOLKTRAX 209-C60 - Richard GENDALL with gtr Truro version sung in Cornish "Can Wassel" FOLKTRAX 009-C60 - Billy BENNINGTON & ch Stonehouse Glos & Mrs STEVENS rec by Gwilym Davies, Bisley, Glos: FOLKTRAX 416-C60

Folktrax Recordings are available via their web site: click here



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