Dunster & Axmouth Ashen Faggot

Where: Dunster, Somerset at the Luttrell Arms on the High Street and Axmouth, Devon at the Harbour Inn on Church Street
When: 24th December
Time: Evening

 

The Ashen Faggot is a West Country Christmas custom – it’s a large log with withies bound around it to make a bundle which is burned indoors in the hearth. Drinks are consumed as each withy breaks in the flames, which sounds like an excuse for a good drink! The practice still survives in country pubs notably the Lutrell Arms in Dunster, Somerset¬† and the Harbour Inn at Axmouth in Devon and in both these cases, the burning takes place on Christmas Eve (in some other locations it takes place on January 5th or 17th which are Old Christmas Eve and Old Twelfth Night respectively, if you adhere to the pre-Gregorian calendar).At Dunster their faggot consitst of twelve thick sticks bound in a bundle using ash withies and the Dunster Carol is sung while it burns in the vast fireplace. It’s a revived custom dating back to the 1930s but with much older roots. At Axmouth a six-foot-long faggot is constructed in a bundle of hazel twigs, filling the fireplace; as the faggot burns carol singing and recitations take place.

Helpful Hints

The Luttrell Arms is a hotel with long history and played its part in the English Civil Wars, whilst the Harbour is a picturesque thatched pub.

Double check the timing of the event as the Faggot burns quickly and you wouldn’t want to miss it!

Click here for the Dunster website: http://www.luttrellarms.co.uk/index.html

and here for Axmouth: http://www.theharbour-inn.co.uk/

Photo by Simon Wood.


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