Bodmin Wassail

Bodmin Wassail is the most famous of the Cornish Visit Wassail customs and takes place on 12th Night (Using the modern date the 6th of January) every year in Bodmin.

The Bodmin Wassailers

The Bodmin Wassailers

The Bodmin Wassailers appear in top hats and formal dress and are a fantastic sight. Their song is a variant of the tunes and words that you find in several Cornish towns with, of course, its own distinct slant. The original Wassail bowl allegedly donated to the revellers by town clerk, Nicholas Sprey in 1624 (only 16 years before the original recorded reference to the custom) suggesting that the tradition was well established at this date. It also gives us conclusive evidence that the custom in Bodmin was officially sanctioned by civic leaders who must have seen the event in a positive light.

The Bodmin Wassail Cup

The Bodmin Wassail Cup

The current bowl used in the ritual was commissioned by the former Mayor of Bodmin, John Chapman and made made by potter John Webb of Lostwithiel. This is now the centrepiece of a Wassaling display beside the Tourist Information Centre in town’s Shire Hall.