Sunday, January 13th saw the fourth Milford & Makeney Wassail, reviving the ancient tradition of thanking the trees for their generous provision of apples to make cider. This involves reciting incantations, singing a song, all to drive away the bugs, insects and bad spirits in order to promote a bountiful harvest for the coming year.
Alan Squires led the revellers from the Hollybush Inn to the Thistlefields Cider Apple Orchard which Hollybush owner Chris Wilbraham planted about six years ago with a view to making his own cider, which is sold in the pub. Following the incantation and song, the trees were prodded and toast, soaked in Wassail from a bowl, placed as a gift to the tree spirits.
Then, the Wassail closed with a volley from the gunsman (Tim Sutton) which, according to tradition, ensures ‘the work is done.’ Then it was back to the Hollybush for cider, cake and song.
The Wassail bowl (above) was commissioned by Alan Squires and his partner Nicky from John Steel, an artisan potter in Kilburn known as ‘John the Pot.’
There was also a Wassail Cake made which was passed around the revellers at the pub who sang, played and danced into the early evening. A great time was had by all.
Next year’s Wassail will be on Sunday, January 12th 2020. Meet at the Hollybush at 3.00 pm, moving down to the field at 3.30 pm.