A PARISH church is joining forces with a community orchard to bring in a new season of good growth, writes Kerenza Moore.
“Traditionally wassailing is done early in the new year, but here in Golberdon, South Hill, in true Cornish fashion, we are doing it dreckly!” said spokesperson Judith Ayers.
“2023 was our inaugural Wassail. The King and Queen of the Wassail were crowned, we blessed the apple trees with toast and cider whilst singing lustily, and enjoyed apple themed refreshments. This year will be even bigger and better.
“All the young trees planted last year are growing well, so we must be doing something right!”
Judith explains how wassailing is a community celebration blessing the apple trees, enjoyed both by those who attend church and those who do not. It includes pre-Christian influences and traditions with which Christians can confidently engage: “The wassail ceremony touches chords deep within our culture about good and evil, and connects us in a partnership with creation,” she said. “It reminds the community that its well-being depends on the fruits of the land.”
Established in the Spring of 2022, the South Hill Community Orchard is owned by the Parish Council and managed in co-operation with SHARE. (South Hill Association for Renewable Energy). In autumn of 2023, 30 apple trees were planted, all of Tamar Valley Heritage varieties.
“The 22 varieties were chosen from trees established in the area, so as to protect their genetic diversity and ensure that we have heritage varieties suited to the local conditions,” Judith continued.
“Many of these trees are grafts from local collections. They include specialities such as Hocking’s Green from Coads Green, Longkeeper from Luckett, Cornish Mother from Wadebridge, Devon Crimson Queen from St Dominick and from further afield, the Plympton Pippin.”
All are welcome to the community wassail event which is set to take place on February 25 at 10am.