The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165363   Message #3965580
Posted By: Vic Smith
09-Dec-18 - 07:08 AM
Thread Name: A new attempt to revive a custom fails
Subject: A new attempt to revive a custom fails
A few miles north-east of where I live in Lewes in the little settlement of Terrible Down. About twenty years ago, I discovered an old manuscript which had the details of how their Wassail ceremony was carried out along with the interestingly different words of their version of the Wassail song.
I was inspired by this discovery to go around knocking on the doors of farms and cottages in the area, explaining the custom and singing a verse or two of their own wassail song to them. All this was met by not one flicker of interest.
Undaunted, I spoke to some of my many friends locally who share my interest in folk song, dance and customs. Surely this would be something that was of great interest to them? Some years, I managed to get a small band together to start learning the song and the associated customs; even to rough out dates and an itinerary. One by one, my associates dropped out. It was a very busy time of the year; they had lots of other commitments. A one-man wassail party without a venue didn't seem to be one of my better ideas so it never really happened.
All of this is a great pity, especially as the Terrible Down Wassail Song has a unique poignancy all of its own. Here is my favourite verse:-

"We know by the fog, we'll get lost in the bog,
And we know by the snow that it's too far to go.
The wind and the hail tell it's all bound to fail,
And we know by the rain we won't bother again.

Fol de dol fol de dol de dol...... etc."

I'm afraid that my experiences have dulled my enthusiasm for reviving this custom.