Saturday 28th of January witnessed the re-enactment of one of those fine old English traditions – The Wassail.
Starting out at The Bell Inn in Outwood (after some not inconsiderable Ale drinking) Torches were lit, Villagers and families gathered to under the call of the Master Wassailer (If thats what he’s called) and accompanied by the Morris Dancers that came to the Village Show, the long cortege of people set off into the cold January night, flames aloft being led in hearty shouts of “Wassail” by the Master.
The picture above shows the wassailers on their way past Outwood Mill, holding their flames aloft.
The parade marched up Scotts Hill past the Old Mill House and left into Gayhouse Lane eventually passing Outwood Mill with its broken sail, which I imagine has witnessed this spectacle for centuries.
Eventually arriving at the piece of ground just beyond the Windmill where all gathered were served with Mulled Cider, which was pretty good gear by all accounts and went down a storm.
A huge bonfire was lit for the occasion and the throng all threw their flaming staffs onto the raging pyre.
Some authentically dressed re-enactment chappies with muskets let fly with those weapons to create some very loud cracks and bangs.
Presently the Master of the Wassail called order to the crowd and gave a brief overview of the Wassail itself. After which he led the throng in a beefy rendition of the ancient wassailing carol to which, amazingly, most of us could follow the words to. This was sung with much gusto and the trees were also wassailed.
After the singing a brief, but nonetheless exciting, fireworks display lit up the sky on Outwood Common after which it was almost a race back to the pub to get in the warm and have a scotch or two (purely to keep out the cold you understand).
Its a delight to see these old customs kept alive and particularly in the village with Englands Oldest Working Windmill!
Well done to the organisers and to The Bell Inn for their hospitality on the night. We’re already looking forward to it next year!
There are more pictures of the Wassailers passing Outwood Mill in the Outwood Mill Gallery