Wassailing at The Elms – Saturday 12 January

Help the National Trust for Jersey celebrate the Island’s rich heritage of cider production by joining them on a ‘Wassail’ on Saturday 12 January at The Elms, National Trust for Jersey headquarters, in St. Mary.
The custom of wassailing dates back to pagan times but the tradition of blessing the orchard at The Elms in order to receive a good harvest later in the year has enjoyed a minor resurgence in recent years. Wassail (Old Norse "Ves Heil", Old English was hál, literally 'be you healthy') is a beverage of hot mulled cider, traditionally drunk as an integral part of wassailing, a Medieval drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year.

National Trust

The practice of wassailing dates back centuries in England, when, in the dead of winter, villagers would stage elaborate ceremonies in the hopes of ensuring a good cider apple harvest the following year. Some of these rituals included hanging cider-soaked toast from the apple trees, encircling the oldest tree and singing, reciting incantations, banging pots and pans, even firing shotguns. Often, a Wassail King or Queen was elected to help awaken the trees and scare away evil spirits. Then an incantation is usually recited such as:-

Stand Fast root, bear well top.
Pray good God send us a howling good crop.
Every twig, apples big,
Every bough, apples enow.

As the 2018 apple harvest was fantastic, the National Trust would like assistance this year to encourage a good crop. So, dress up warmly, help to crown the king and queen of the Wassail, toast the orchard, raise a glass and enjoy winter. Participants are asked to bring noise makers; whistles, pots and pans or anything that makes a noise to frighten away the evil spirits!

When: Saturday 12 January 2.00 – 3.30 pm

Where: The Elms, St Mary 

Cost:  free of charge

• Morris Dancing with the Helier Morris Men
• Procession to the orchard for wassailing of the trees and bees and making lots of noise!

Parking will be in the field next to the orchard at The Elms.

For further information regarding this press release please call Donna Le Marrec at the National Trust on +44 1534 483193 or Colin Ireson, Squire, Helier Morris Men who can discuss the art of ‘Wassailing’ on Mobile +44 7797 729341 or +44 1534 726871.