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Wassail Song (Minchinhampton)

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Place Collected: Minchinhampton
Date collected: Between 1927 and 1935
Roud Number: 209

According to the booklet “I remember – Social Life in Gloucestershire Villages 1850-1950”, “the wassailers of Minchinhampton carried a large bowl decorated with evergreens, among which were some small dolls.  During the year, the bowl was kep by one man known as the king of the wassailers.  There used to be twenty or so of these wassailers; later they dwindled to three or four and it was looked on as ‘rather low and rough.’”  Their song ran:

 Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our bread it is white, our ale it is brown
Our bowl it is made of an old apple tree
With the wassail bowl I’ll drink to thee.
 Here’s luck to the missis and to her bright eye
May God send our master a jolly good pie
A jolly good pie that we may all see
With the wassail bowl I’ll drink to thee.

 The version collected from Mr Tranter in about 1930 is the longest version of the Gloucestershire Wassail that we have seen. The fact that the words differ from the above version is not significant as different families will have had different versions and the song will have developed and changed over the years.

Notes by Gwilym Davies 23 March 2015