Carhampton Wassailing

Where: Carhampton, Somerset at The Butchers Arms
When: 17th January (unless it's a Sunday)
Time: 6.30 at Community Orchard, 7.30 pm (ish) at Butchers Arms


Wassail songsters

January 17th is “old” Twelfth Night – when the calendar was altered in the Eighteenth Century, some events kept to their original day rather than moving with the new calendar and the Wassailing at Carhampton is one such event. There is a Wassail at the Community Orchard first then another crowd gathers in the orchard next to the pub, around the Old Apple Tree; toast soaked in cider is put in the branches for the robins at both events while cider is poured over its roots, all to encourage the tree to produce a good crop the following harvest. Wassailing carols are sung, shotguns are fired to awaken the tree spirits, a bonfire is lit and a good time is had by all! As a rare survivor (as opposed to a revival or new wassail) this event is often used as a model for others, and has been highly influential in the modern wassailing scene. Hot cider is on offer both at the Orchard and at the pub, and sandwiches were given out at the Orchard.

Helpful Hints

When 17th falls on a Sunday (as it did in 2016) the event moves to Saturday 16th instead as the Wassail is a pagan festival. This won’t happen again for some years.

After the Community Orchard Wassail there’s time to get drinks in at the pub before their own event begins – bonfire fans might want to make their way quickly into the orchard behind the pub as the fire is lit around 7.30 and left to burn for 20 minutes or so before the wassailing begins.

Food and accomodation available at the Butchers Arms.

Click here for the orchard website : 

and Facebook page:

and here for the pub’s Facebook page:

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