Home > News > News > Wæs hæl! Drinc hæl! Wassailing on 3rd February…with a twist

Wæs hæl! Drinc hæl! Wassailing on 3rd February…with a twist

Frome’s wassail is back for its second year on 3rd February 2024 at Weylands, following the community planting of fruit trees on the site in 2021. This traditional midwinter ceremony has been practised since Saxon times in cider-producing regions, including Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, and is designed to ‘wake up’ the trees and scare away bad spirits, to ensure a good fruit harvest in the autumn.

The wassail will feature singing, banging pots and pans, and drinking mulled cider or apple juice, which is also shared with the roots of the trees. The Frome wassail will once again include music by Frome Street Bandits, a procession to the trees to gift cider and toast, led by Annabelle Macfadyen and other performers, and craft activities for children, making musical wassail sticks. There will be mulled cider from Dowding’s and refreshments for sale.

This year’s wassail has an added twist; it will open with a series of appearances from candidates to replace Frome’s town crier Mike Bishop, who retired in November on Remembrance Sunday. The selection process will include writing and reading out a short-wassail-themed poem and trying out the crier’s bell. Cllr Anita Collier said:

“Town criers are a longstanding part of our history, just like wassailing, and as making a loud noise is part of the wassailing tradition, it feels entirely fitting to combine the wassail with choosing our new town crier! In the digital age, we no longer rely on criers for breaking news, but they have a wonderful role to play in town events and we’re delighted that Mike has been so generous in offering several costumes, his bell and scroll to the new crier, if they wish to use them. Like Mike, the new town crier will be a volunteer and there’s no salary or stipend attached, but we hope the new crier will continue to be found at local events, such as Frome’s carnival procession.”

Charly Le Marchant from Tree Group Frome, said:

“We want to welcome back all of the community that have been involved in our tree planting events over the years and those from the community who just want an excuse to get outside with good cheer and company at the coldest time of the year…  

Bring yourselves, pots, pans or instruments for noise and cash for refreshments. Please join The Tree Group Frome Facebook page to share and receive more news about getting involved in this and other tree planting/growing/protecting in our area”

Frome wassail takes place on Saturday 3rd February at Weylands, off Whatcombe Road, from 1.30pm. The event is supported by Frome Town Council, alongside the Tree Group Frome and Pocketful of Acorns. 

9 January 2024
Last Updated
17 January 2024
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