Chawton House hosts its annual evening orchard Wassail in the Walled Garden

Last Saturday saw Chawton House celebrate a centuries-old tradition, the Wassail. Led by its Wassail Queen, the night held two purposes – encouraging good spirits into the orchard, and warding off evil ones. Visitors were encouraged to shout, bang their pots, pans, sticks and all manner of instruments to make as loud a hullaballoo as possible, whilst shouting “EVIL BE GONE!” to see away any malevolent beings sensitive to noise.

The Kingspond Shantymen. Copyright 2023 M J Stuttard

Adding to the atmosphere were the Kingspond Shantymen, who serenaded the trees with traditional folk songs when the time came to appease the orchard’s  friendly spirits. The ‘gifting’ continued with toast dipped in cider being placed on the bough’s of the Walled Garden’s oldest apple tree. 

Gifting the tree. Copyright 2023 M J Stuttard

Thank you so much for hosting a lovely evening. I can’t remember the last time I made such a racket, it was so much fun! The SeaShanty group were amazing, and your performance was incredible! Well done to you and the team at Chawton House! – Richard Taylor, Wassail attendee

May this year’s crop bring a good harvest. Huzzah!

Photo by Richard Taylor