January, 2020

mon06jan7:00 PMLeominster Morris Wassail7:00 PM The Bell Inn, Tillington, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 8LE, UK

Event Details

Leominster Morris Wassail

In January the Leominster Morris Wassail will start at the Bell in Tillington, Herefordshire.

The local Wassail custom was the first event we revived after the side was re-formed in 1983. That first Herefordshire Wassail of the new era took place in the orchard of Tudor House, Yarpole.

The Wassail begins by gathering at a given watering hole, where safe torches are prepared and distributed, and whence the side leads the large crowd of followers to the orchard.

Toast or cake is soaked in cider, then placed in the fork of the tree chosen to represent the orchard. Cider is then sprinkled about the roots of the tree. Next, the Herefordshire Lantern is ignited: this is a beribboned thorn-cage stuffed with straw on a pole. It represents the sun reborn, and shows why this ancient ceremony took place at this time of year. At the midwinter, the coldest & darkest part of the year, people encouraged the return of light & warmth, and by so doing they performed an affirmation of their faith that it would be so.

Next, the 13th fire is lit and immediately stamped out; the Fire of Eternal Renewal or the Judas Fire. This is the sign for the simultaneous lighting of the ring of twelve fires, The Wassail Song is sung by Leominster Morris under the branches of the tree and two or three dances danced there too.

Then we all go back in procession to the meeting place where the Mummers Play is
performed. The text for which is taken from several local sources, and enlivened by individual members adding topical references or variations to their parts. More dances follow, then it is in to the bar for music, song, dance and drink!

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(Monday) 7:00 PM

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The Bell Inn

Tillington, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 8LE, UK

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