The South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) is the regional film archive for the South West of England. Established in 1993, SWFTA's core collection comprises of the combined programme libraries of Westward Television and TSW (Television South West). The archive also cares for a significant number of donated film collections, both amateur and professional, dating back to the early 1900s.
This film is part of Free
Wassail Wear and Whimple
Wassail queens assemble at Taunton Castle before returning to their respective orchards.
From the collection of:
Here we come a-wassailing or a-fashionista-ring! Wassail queens assemble at Taunton Castle and model the new old style costumes combining medieval chic with 1970s style topped off by embroidered designs inspired by nature. A traditional wassail in Whimple is held on old Twelfth Night of 17 January with the incantation Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blossoms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah!
Wassailing ceremonies are thought to have pagan origins and sing in the spring season. Celebrated on Twelfth Night, the ritual involves dressing up, nominating a king and a queen, processing to music and chanting to the apple trees in the orchard before the wassail queen is lifted to place bread soaked in the previous season’s cider atop the tree trunk. This appeases the tree spirits (think of the Ents in Lord of the Rings). Shots may be fired skywood and revellers then share in hot spiced cider with sops of bread from a communal wassail bowl. In Shakepeare’s time mead created by fermenting honey with water with roasted crab apples would have been the wassail of choice. So forget dry January, become a wassailer!