A Wassailing We Will Go…….

On Saturday 14th January I took the train to Kent and stayed with my good friends Gail and Mick.    We began school together at the tender age of five!     The Camp School was set in the middle of bluebell woods and was comprised of wooden army huts from the war….(this was post war Britain)    All in all it was an idyllic setting and way to begin school life.

Mrs. Whitefield, one of our teachers, believed in keeping local ancient traditions alive, and thus influenced Gail and Mick to involve themselves in the traditional arts of South East England.     Gail has written numerous books on the subject and written plays which are performed in schools….

quick watercolours of Gail and Mick painted a couple of years ago. 



On Saturday evening 14th January, we drove out to The Gate pub- Marshside to celebrate the ancient custom of Wassailing.    It was the perfect evening…cold, clear, with stars and moon shining brightly.

As we ate a delicious meal in the Pub in front of a roaring fire.   It felt as if we had gone back in time.     (please excuse my photographs – I didn’t want to use a flash, and so they are somewhat grainy, however, in a way they capture the atmosphere) 

20-11-15-1-56320-11-15-1-634The Wassailing bowl awaits the celebrations……..20-11-15-1-605

Then it was out to the ancient apple tree orchard which surrounds the pub where the reciting of incantations and singing to the trees hopefully will promote a good harvest for the coming year.


The word ‘Wassail’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘Waes hael’ which means – Good health.    After singing to the trees, the Wassail bowl was passed around the crowd.    Originally the Wassail was a drink made from mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar……

Guns were fired and then the celebrations began…..

1481540745_15420853_10154762474102442_4475831116796379836_nBack into the warmth of the Pub….for much merriment and wonderful music……

20-11-15-1-646A picture of The Gate – Marsh Side during the day time.

I highly recommend for it’s lovely atmosphere and wonderful food…especially on a cold winter’s night. gate_inn_boyden_gate_chislet_41_0A Bientot

31 thoughts on “A Wassailing We Will Go…….

  1. Teagan Geneviene

    Janet, I loved the photos regardless! What a happy, fascinating post. I think you really captured the spirit of the night. I know nothing about Wassaling beyond what I’ve seen since I began blogging. It sounds like a lovely tradition. Have a wonder-filled week. Hummingbird hugs.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Yes, I do believe we need to sing to Nature much more – in fact every single day:) It was a lovely event…enjoyed by all….hope you have a good Monday filled with joy and creativity….Janet:)

  2. ourfrenchoasis

    I absolutely love old traditions and customs like this, who knows whether singing to the trees makes a difference, but these things certainly make a difference to the locals and villagers, bringing lots of people together. Hope you had a lovely weekend. Your two portraits are incredible, I love them both but if push came to shove I would have to say I love the one of the man just a touch more if that’s possible! xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Sue….I agree….The joy of such traditions is that they bring people together and promote community. The weekend was lovely…After a perfect evening for Wassailing, it was rather cold, damp, grey etc., but the company was superb and that’s what’s important. So pleased you enjoyed the portraits. I paint these fast watercolour portraits wherever I travel….and so one day when I get to you, I might use you and the family as subjects:)
      Enjoy the day….and the days are definitely getting a wee big longer:)xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      My friends, Gail and Mick, do this every year along with other interesting rites of passage as it were. The Wassailing is a wonderful event, and really brings home the importance of keeping these ancient traditions alive and well. Thank you as always for the comment…hope you have a good day…janet. ,x

  3. Timi Townsend

    Oh Janet, what a magical evening! I’m fascinated by the costumes worn. Now I’ll have to delve further into the whole thing. Thank you for opening up a whole new line of research for me! 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Timi, It was indeed a magical evening – one I am quite sure you would have loved. Gail has written several books on the subject of these ancient traditions…under the name of Gail Duff….you might find something by her that can give you more information. Meanwhile, I am really enjoying seeing what you are up to these days. Enjoy this one…janet:)

  4. snowbird

    This always sounds right up my street, fabulous! I would love to come too…maybe we’ll all go together next year, I would certainly enjoy singing to the trees! A marvelous post.xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Dina that would be so much fun….I know it’s something that you would love:) Hope you are keeping warm. London very foggy and cold – a good day/week to catch up with all the paper work! Enjoy the day….spring will be with us soon…Janet. xxx

  5. jpennerzook

    Thank you, Janet. Such a lovely capture of both watercolor faces and photos of an incredible event. The visuals along with your words are absolutely captivating. ❤️️

  6. davidjrogersftw

    Janet, thanks for taking me along on your trip to Kent. I feel some attachment to these kinds of traditions because it makes me think of the traditions of my ancestors from Wales. I enjoy the paintings and the photographs. It must have been quite an enjoyable night, this sense of going back in time.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning David, Thank you so much for reading this post and your comment. As you know, I have lived in Wales for twelve years, and yes there are so many wonderful traditions there….The most important thing I can see about upholding these traditions is the way they glue communities together and also teach about the the history of a given area. On a purely social level, these events are much fun. When I attend an event like this, I am always reminded of how time moves on and how much we can learn from history at a local and international level. Wishing you a lovely and creative week ahead…and may the magical hummingbirds be with you…Janet:)


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