After an enforced absence in 2021, Stroud Brewery’s Wassail returned with dozens of revellers hoping for a good harvest this year.
Wassailers young and old met at the brewery in Hope Mill Lane and noisily processed up the hill to Thrupp Community Orchard where they sang, drank cider and clattered drinking vessels to waken the sleeping trees and see off any demons lurking in the branches.
The event was conducted by Pru – Martin Price – who led the wassailers in traditional wassail songs and later soaked toast in cider and placed it on the branches of the largest tree in the orchard to encourage a healthy crop of apples.
The tradition dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era when the lord of the manor would greet wassailers with ‘waes hael’, meaning ‘be in good health’. A wassail king and queen would lead the revellers from orchard to orchard and place toast on the largest tree to give it good health, followed by wassailing songs.
“The event was fantastic. We’re working hard at Stroud Brewery to make sure the community comes together, and if we can go out into the community and do annual and traditional ceremonies, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for us all to get together,” said Richard Gasser, Events Manager at Stroud Brewery.
Families with younger children headed home after the event, but others returned to the brewery to enjoy some ‘foot-stomping and thigh-slapping’ music by Dead Dog Cider.