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Kilmersdon wassail 2014

By West Country Life  |  Posted: January 25, 2014

  • Wassail Queen Erin Kirby puts toast into an apple tree at the annual wassail

  • Wassail Queen Erin Kirby with gun, Martin Horler and the Cam Valley Morrism3n at the annual Kilmersdon Wassail

  • The village band make music at the annual Kilmersdon Wassail

  • Audrey Riley, Frances Horler and Gwyneth Samways offer apple cake to Kilmersdon Wassail Queen Erin Kirby

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Kilmersdon, famed as the 'home' of Jack and Jill, held its wassail.

We'll wassail thee, old apple tree

And bless thee through the year

And raise a glass of the goodly brew

Good luck to all of us here

Organised by Martin and Frances Horler and their committee of willing helpers, the afternoon began in the village hall with a ploughman's lunch and cider, or apple juice for the drivers and those too young to enjoy the West Country's own amber nectar.

Folk music from the village band and dancing from the Cam Valley Morrismen soon got the packed hall joining in with the revelry.

After being crowned, this year's Wassail Queen, 11-year-old Erin Kirby, led a procession along a narrow countryside lane to the wassail site. The chosen tree was ringed by villagers and visitors, and the young queen placed toast soaked in mulled cider among the branches as a gift to the robins, before pouring cider around the roots to promote good growth in the following year. Shots were fired above the orchard to scare away evil spirits.

With more singing and dancing cut short this year by a heavy downpour, everyone made haste to Martin and Frances's home to enjoy apple cake and cups of tea, a fitting finale to a fun afternoon.

"Last year's event will be remembered for the thick snow and although very pretty it did keep some people away" says Martin. "Today we did get some rain, but a lot a people turned up so we made more money from the lunches, which goes towards the village hall fund as we need to raise £12,000 to have the roof re-felted."

Kilmersdon Wassail may well be a relatively modern tradition having started up in 2002 but, judging from this year's event, I'm sure it will have a long and fruitful future.

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