Scaring the spirits away at Stamford wassail - video/photos

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More than 100 people gathered in Stamford recently and made as much noise as they could to ward evil spirits away from apple trees.

Stamford Community Orchard Group hosted the wassailing event in Christ Church Close at sunset on Saturday, 17 January.

Locals taking part in wassailing event near Green Lane, Stamford. Pictured is Wassail Queen Robina Hill. Photos: David Lowndes EMN-150117-185037009

Locals taking part in wassailing event near Green Lane, Stamford. Pictured is Wassail Queen Robina Hill. Photos: David Lowndes EMN-150117-185037009

The Anglo-Saxon tradition was revived four years ago and typically involves people shouting, chanting and banging around an orchard to “awaken” the trees and scare away evil spirits.

The chanting was led by Woven Chords Choir and wassail queen Robina Hill poured cider onto the roots of a tree to encourage fruit this year.

Orchard group chairman Annie Hall said: “It was tremendous fun. We had more than 100 people, which was brilliant. We had all sorts of people, young and old.

“We had some people who have been again and again, and some new people who had never been.

“We were thrilled that once again Jollydale Cyder was able to come with mulled cider. And we couldn’t have been luckier with the weather.”

Stamford’s wassail has been growing in popularity since the tradition was revived. Annie said she was pleased word was spreading.

“I think people are getting the hand of it,” she added. “They are now getting to know what it’s about.

“There are still people who don’t know but it’s slowly percolating down. Because the orchard has been going for a number of years we have got more people on board.”

The orchard group is currently analysing the results of DNA tests on unknown apple species, and hopes to release some news in the near future.

Find out more about Stamford Community Orchard Group at scog.org.uk.

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