The Nailsworth wassail was collected in April 1972 by Michael Gardiner and Richard Chidlaw from Archie Gardiner (born 1894) of Windsor Edge, Nailsworth. As well as being a singer, Archie used to play the accordeon in the pub. The wassail is unusual in having a couple of introductory verses to a different tune.
After two verses, it changes to the more familiar form. Archie was quite prepared to adapt the song to the audience. You sang about animals to farmers, but in the Stroud Valleys where industrialists also had money and could be visited at Christmastime, you ensured that they were wassailed in their appropriate commodities. Joe Walker had a stocking mill and so he would need plenty of yarn. If “arm” can rhyme with “carn”(corn), then “arm” can also rhyme with “yarn”.
[Notes by Gwilym Davies from information supplied by Richard Chidlaw.]