The Drayton Wassail

For it’s your wassail

And it’s our, our wassail

And I’m jolly come to our jolly wassail…

These are the words to the chorus of the Drayton Wassail: a recording can be found on Topic Records’ Voice of the People Vol. 13 – They Ordered Their Pints of Beer and Bottles of Sherry. Drayton is a village on the Somerset Levels, not far from Hambridge, where Cecil Sharp was staying with his friend, the radical priest Charles Marson, in September 1903, and where he heard Marson’s gardener, John “Jack” England, sing “The Seeds of Love”, thus beginning the folk song revival, and his work as a collector.

When I was a kid I would often visit the area with my parents, and one of its most colourful characters was a Drayton resident named Charlie Showers, who would tell me ghost stories, and every January would sing the wassail around the village. The story was that, one year, he was the only person to turn up, and made his way from house to house, with no one else to share the liquid refreshment on offer!

Here is a recording, from the British Library sound archive, of Charlie and his wife in 1972, in which they talk about Charles Marson and Cecil Sharp:

http://sounds.bl.uk/World-and-traditional-music/Bob-and-Jacqueline-Patten-Collection/025M-C1033X0079XX-0100V0

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s