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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleWassail song
Roud No.209
Collected FromUnknown
LocationWootton Bassett
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWiltshire, F H
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source Primary
Source SecondaryAntiquary 44 1908 p 469
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Wassail! Wassail!
All over the town!
Our bread is so musty
Our cheese is so brown!
God send our master a good crop of corn,
With the wassailing bowl we drink to thee!
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
F H Wiltshire - 'Christmas play as acted in the old Borough Town of Wootton Bassett.

The following version [reproduced above] was used by a number of lads of the town some forty years ago [1868]. They were coached by an old shoemaker, who said he had learnt the play as a lad in 1795. The boys were attired in paper costumes, cardboard helmets, and carried wooden swords. ...

Occasionally the lads would finish with the old 'Wassail Song', but as they were out for pence, not the flowing bowl, they omitted it, especially when visiting the clergyman and the schoolmaster; but at the churchwardens' and farmers' 'Wassail' was usually sung.

On Christmas Eve the 'Wassailers', a mixed assemblage of some thirty men and lads - many old topers - visited practically all the persons of any note in the town; and as liquor of some sort was given at nearly all houses, and in the course of their wanderings they visited at least a dozen public houses, many of them had bad heads next morning.

Their version was as follows:

Wassail! Wassail!
All over the town!
Our bread is so musty
Our cheese is so brown!
God send our master a good crop of corn,
With the wassailing bowl we drink to thee!'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2008.

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