Cider-makers ward off evil spirits

PUBLISHED: 11:00 26 January 2013

Wassail Queen Eleanor Thatcher, Martin Thatcher, the Green Man and a member of the Mendip Morris Men

Wassail Queen Eleanor Thatcher, Martin Thatcher, the Green Man and a member of the Mendip Morris Men

Neil Phillips Photography

CIDER producer Thatchers has invoked an ancient tradition to secure a good supply of apples for the coming year.

The business in Station Road, Sandford, held a wassail ceremony, which saw a green man and the Mendip Morris Men dance and sing around trees in the firm’s orchards.

The wassailing cup was filled with cider and poured over the roots of the trees, while shots were fired into the air to ward off evil spirits, sticks were banged against the trees to wake them from their winter slumber and pieces of toasts were hung on their branches as offerings.

Thatchers managing director, Martin Thatcher said: “The wassail ceremony is a great reminder of the long heritage that cider has held here in the West Country.

“Our forefathers would have been wassailing in Somerset orchards hundreds of years ago and the tradition still makes up an important part of our way of life here.

“A great cider needs great apples, and whilst we don’t rely on the wassail ceremony to keep our trees healthy, maybe it does lend a helping hand.”


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