Subscribe to our Newsletter

Wassail Song (Little Sodbury)

Back to browse page
Performer: Chidlaw, Richard
Place Collected: Little Sodbury
Date collected: 1994 (12 Oct)
Collector: Davies, Gwilym
Roud Number: 209

A group of six or seven lads, aged 14-21 would come round to the lawn in front of Little Sodbury Manor.  They brought with them the Horton Bull, which was two men under a papier maché head with a tail going down the back, and they had ribs of beef, a tambourine, a jew’s harp and a mouth organ.  The bull would roar and chase the girls and make them scream.  They had a bowl made of white wood decorated all over with ribbons and garlands of evergreen, from which they would drink.  [

Mr Hatherall was a spectator at this custom rather than a participant.  Richard Chidlaw sings the song as he collected it.  It is interesting to note the differences between the 1907 tune and the 1970 tune, the latter having lost some of the decorations.

Note by Gwilym Davies December 2011 from information supplied to Richard Chidlaw and Brian Hayward by retired farmer, Mr Hatherall at Wickwar, July 1970.  Further information on the Horton Bull was supplied to Richard Chidlaw by the following: Mr Jones of Badminton, Mrs Gentry, Mr Lewis of Chipping Sodbury and Mr & Mrs Gingell of Hawkesbury, the sister of “Granny”  Frankcom.