Curry Rivel Wassail and Ashen Faggot

Where: Curry Rivel, Somerset at the King William IV on the High Street
When: 6 pm ( or near) at pub, then back at pub 10 pm or so
Time: 5th January

 

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 conviviality! 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. Wassailing is a traditional luck-bringing custom associated with apple orchards dating back at least a few hundred years; the word has its origins in the Old English toast “waes hael” meaning Good Health. Revivals are particularly common in cider producing areas such as the West Country and Herefordshire and are usually in mid-January but can take place as early as Christmas. Expect singing, morris dancing, cider offerings to the trees (and in some cases pieces of toast), beating the branches and lots of noise including firing shotguns into the trees to wake them up. At Curry Rivel they burn their faggot every 5th January and it’s combined with the local Wassail custom. The wassailing party meet and end their tour of the village at the pub, and have done so for a great many years – the period between is essentially a villagers’ event but you might be squeezed in if space is available and the parts at the pub are a public event open to all.

Helpful Hints

Click here for the pub facebook page and contact details: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KING-WILLIAM-IV/257354070239?hc_location=timeline

and here for the village Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CurryRivel/


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