Wassail at Woolsthorpe Manor

I read that National Trust Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire were Wassailing in their Orchard and decided the event was not one to be missed.
What an amazing first experience at Wassailing this was going to be, not only to Wassail but to do it around the 400 year old Flower of Kent Apple tree which inspired Sir Isaac Newtons thoughts on gravity.

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The traditional ceremony of Wassailing involves singing and drinking to the health of fruit trees, to scare away evil spirits and to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. Wassail is a hot spiced fruit punch with a Wine, Cider or Ale base adding fruit and spices although this Wassail drink was a non alcoholic version, but very tasty and warming.  Traditionally pieces of bread or toast were soaked in Wassail and buried or hung from the trees, this was said to keep the tree spirits content and feed them until next harvest.

The volunteers and staff were fantastic, handing out pieces of cake and Wassil to toast the trees, followed by leading the Wassailing song & encouraging everyone to take part and join in.

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The Woolsthorpe Wassailing Song

1. A-wassail, a-wassail, all over the town

Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.

Our cup it is made from the white maple tree

With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee,

Drink to thee, drink to thee,

With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.

2. We hope that our apple trees prosper and bear

So we shall have apples at this time next year,

Our wassail is made from the good ale and cake,

Some Nutmeg and Ginger, the best we can bake,

With Nutmeg and Ginger, the best we can bake.

3. We wassail at Woolsthorpe by Newton’s old tree,

An apple fell on him by pure gravity,

O send us soft rain and shine on us some sun

So fruitful and prosper’d the trees shall become

Trees shall become, trees shall become,

So fruitful and prosper’d the trees shall become.

4. Our tree it is nearly four hundred years old.

Stand out in the orchard in sun and in snow,

It bears and it blossoms, a Great British Tree

With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee

Drink to thee, drink to thee,

With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.

Traditional with additional material by A.Blackett

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Sir Isaac Newton was born in this 17th century farmhouse on 4th January 1643, date using our existing Georgian calendar. However this calendar was not adopted until 1753 so Newton is sometimes reported to have been born on 25th December 1642. As paper was expensive Newton did sketches on the walls, some can still be seen today. There are also drawings to keep out Witches and evil spirits. Sadly photography was not permitted inside on the day of my visit.
1655-66 he returned to Woolsthorpe after studying at Cambridge and instead of keeping watch and tending to the families flock of Sheep, was to be found in the Orchard under the apple tree reading & making discoveries of gravity.

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SGP_8655 Susan Guy_WoolsthorpeManorSigns of Spring are starting to appear in the Orchard, Snowdrops are peeping their pure white heads through the grass and Catkins laden with pollen are blowing in the breeze.

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Happy Winnie the Pooh Day

Today is Winnie the Pooh Day, what better way to celebrate than with a game of Pooh sticks in the woods.

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It was lovely to see National Trust in the Midlands facebook page using one of my photographs shot at Dovedale in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Playing Pooh Sticks is one of National Trusts 50 things to do before your 11 3/4

National Trust Midlands Pooh Sticks

I hope you enjoyed Winnie the Pooh Day, remember to mark it in your diary for next year, you can’t beat a game of Pooh Sticks