Wassail events will be held in Stamford and Bourne this weekend


Bring pots, pans, bells and whistles to one of the annual sailing events that takes place in the area.

“Wassail” comes from the Anglo-Saxon expression “waes haeil”, which means “be well”, and was a greeting between a manor lord and his peasant workers.

The custom of sailing originated in the cider-making regions and traditionally took place after Christmas. The purpose was to wake up apple trees and ward off evil spirits, to encourage them to bear fruit later in the year.

Wassailing in Bourne

Wassailing customs vary but generally share a theme. A Wassail King and Queen lead the proceedings, with cider poured over the roots of the largest or most productive tree, which is considered the guardian of the orchard.

The spiced hot cider is drunk and the queen places toast soaked in it in the branches of the tree “for robins” – the guardian spirits of the tree.

Songs of Wassailing are sung and “charms” recited.

Children hang cider-dipped toast from an apple tree to encourage a good harvest
Children hang cider-dipped toast from an apple tree to encourage a good harvest

The event culminates in a lot of noise as the crowd beats drums, buckets, pots and pans, whistles and rings bells.

  • A wassail will take place at Stamford Community Orchard – found at the end of Christ Church Close – Saturday January 8 from 4:30 p.m.

All are welcome to the event, where members of the Woven Chords will lead the vocals and there will be a storyteller. Local cider and apple juice will be offered.

For more details call 01780 484180 or visit the Stamford Orchard Group community website www.scog.org.uk

  • Morris dancers Friends of Bourne Woods and Bourne Borderers will also hold a wassail on Saturday January 8 starting at 4 p.m.
Dip the toast in the cider
Dip the toast in the cider

The event will take place at Bourne Community Orchard, off Beech Avenue, where people are encouraged to wrap up tight and bring a torch or lantern if they have one, along with a drinking cup, and bells, whistles, pots and pans and wooden spoons to make a lot of noise.

  • A wassail at Closing of the room, Ketton, will take place on Saturday January 22 from 4 p.m. and will include entertainment by Rutland Morris and the Ketton Community Choir.


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