HERE'S TO THEE | THE HALSTOW WASSAIL 2020 | Simon Pope et al


Jim Causley's new song, informed by the workshops at the farm, was the centrepiece of The Halstow Wassail, convened on 18th January 2020. We took apple tree wassailing and regional harvest-time conventions as our starting point, shifting attention onto the wider microbial ecology of the farm. We began with an incantation, which takes a form similar to many others, before breaking into a celebration of the yeasts, bacteria and moulds to be found in the orchards and barns, on the apples and presses, in the barrels and – significantly – within each of the guests and in the cider they drink as they take part in the wassail.

Abigail North's new bowl, a gift to the Grays, remains at the farm. It's hung in an apple tree, before being passed around between guests, at each year's wassail. §

Halstow Wassail poster 2020 Poster for the 2020 Halstow Wassail

Robert Darch produced a new series of photographs documenting the wassail at Halstow, detailing the proceedings as the singers, chorus, and guests they gathered at the apple tree. §

Fires Fires set around the apple tree
Fires Jim & Bill lead the song
Bowl in tree The guns
Crowd at the tree Mariners Away sing across the orchards
Bowl in apple tree The wassail bowl in the apple tree

Singing in the poundhouse Singing in the Poundhouse. Photo: John Hammersley
Guests at the tree Guests gather at the apple tree. Photo: John Hammersley
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