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Gloucestershire wassail (Hampton Fields version)

The original manuscript and notes –  Go to this link to download the “See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)”

Audio of song:

Wassail song (Hampton Fields) Prep
Key stage 2 years 5/6

Resources needed:

  • audio equipment to play music,
  • whiteboard to project text and write text.
  • Paper and pencils/pens.
  • In advance need to find the audio file (first three verses) and words on the website
  • Length of lesson 45-60mins

Learning Intentions
• To Learn a traditional folk song
• Understand calendar customs
• Invent a new calendar custom

What is a folk song?
• Not sung by professional musicians
• Passed down through families/communities/friends
• some songs are very old (often dating back to seventeenth century or earlier.
• Were often sung without any instruments.


• Peformed in December to January
• Always an aspect of wishing for a good harvest
• House to house custom in Gloucestershire, like carol singing
• Always a traditional song performed and always carried a decorated bowl

Wassail song (Hampton Fields) Lesson

  • Ask children what they think a folk song is.
  • Tell them what a folk song is
  • Play them the recording without showing the words
  • Ask what they can remember
  • Show words and sing through the song with recording
  • Get the children to suggest other Calendar customs e.g.:
  • • Christmas
  • • Easter
  • • Bonfire Night
  • • Halloween
  • • Eid al-Fitr
  • • Eid al-Adha
  • • Hanukkah
  • • Diwali

Main activity: get the children to design their own calendar festival. Suggested
• Song
• Special clothes
• Procession
• Why must it happen at that time of year?
Share festivals back to the group
Optional extra activity: Make postcards with picture and description of the festival