Welcome to the online home of the 1940s Family, Arthur, Lily, Freddie and Martha Rose!
We love to attend vintage fairs, tea parties, photo shoots, ww2 events or probably any other events you can think of!!
If you would like us to attend yours please email us - the1940sfamily (at) hotmail.co.uk.
If you just want to know where we go and what we get up to, read on ......
Love Lily xxx

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Wassailing We Did Go...

Hailing from somerset the 1940s family could hardly miss an opportunity to take part in this ancient local tradition.

Wassailing In the cider-producing counties in the South West of England (primarily Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire) or South East England (Kent, Sussex and Essex, Suffolk) wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.

The ceremonies of each wassail vary from village to village but they generally all have the same core elements. A wassail King and Queen lead the song and/or a processional tune to be played/sung from one orchard to the next, the wassail Queen will then be lifted up into the boughs of the tree where she will place toast soaked in Wassail from the Clayen Cup as a gift to the tree spirits (and to show the fruits created the previous year).In some counties the youngest boy or "Tom Tit" would step in for the Queen and hang the cider soaked toast in the tree.

The day began with a ploughmans lunch in the village hall, a queen was chosen and crowned. Morris men danced and a village bnd played. A procession then took place from hall to orchard! We even made it into the paper!

Oh look behind the band....its the 1940s family!!!

The wassail began by the group forming a circle around the tree. The queen places a cided soaked piece of toast in the branches. She pours cider - from last years harvest - around the base of the tree whilst an incantation is read and shotguns are fired to rid the orchard of evil spirits. A wassail cup is passed around the circle and everyone sips the warm wassail cider. Finally a wasail is sung. The kilmerston wassail has its own special song....

Kilmersdon wassail

Song To thee to the old apple tree
Be growth so strong and true
So fair of blossom and sweet of fruit
Be yours the season through


We'll wassail thee, old apple tree
And bless thee through the year
And raise a glass of the goodly brew
"Good luck" to all of us here
O apple tree, o apple tree
Now spread your branches wider
To bear more fruit for we to crop
And turn them into cider


We'll wassail thee old apple tree
With cider round thy feet
And a round of toast in your branches high
For little robin to eat

Chorus x 2
We took part in the kilmerston wassail, and wassailed the community orchard - a dozen young apple trees, before returning to the old school house to repeat the wassail there - to a proper apple tree!!

All followed by tea and apple cake - yum!


  1. Oh, this looks so fun! I just found your blog and have been enjoying it very much... I live in California but feel I am meant to live in England some day :-) I look forward to reading more about your beautiful family...

  2. Why thank you Katie! Welcome to the blog. We've lots of activities planned this year so keep checking back! xx

  3. I have just found your blog and am loving it - so interesting, I am reading all your old posts. I had never heard of Wassailing - lovley! thanks xx