Mrs Muriel Phelps, writing in the Winter 1979 edition of the magazine “Folkwrite” recounted how in her family her ancestors had gone wassailing in Stroud. They were members of the Salvation Army and so had concertinas which they took with them wassailing. Mrs Phelps was told that they went out on Christmas morning, calling at houses in Parliament Street and Summer Street, ending up at the Leopard pub in Parliament Street before going home to Christmas dinner. This group had stopped going around by the 1920s.
On 19 November 1979, Gwilym Davies recorded a conversation with an unidentified man from Stroud, aged 75, who sang a snatch of the song and described groups going around the top end of the town around 1914 with a decorated wassail bowl in which they collected money. Although the performer sings a verse of the song, it is not clear whether he is recalling the song as sung in 1914 or remembering hearing a rendering of the 1928 published version, and so the song has not been transcribed. The recording can be heard here: here.
According to information provided to the Evesham Journal in 1913 by a Mr Godsell, the Stroud Mummers in the 1870s used to finish their play with various songs, including
Wassail, wassail all over the town,
Our bread it is white our ale it is brown.
Our bowl it is made from some maplin tree,
With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee
Whilst an untraced document apparently in the Stroud Museum, gives the following words for the Stroud wassail:
Wheysail, wheysail all over the town
Our faces and white and our hair it is brown
A jolly good Christmas as we may all see
So the Wheysailing bowl we drink unto thee
Come butler come fill us a bowl o’ the best
We’ope that thy soul in ‘eaven may rest
But if ye should fill us a bowl o’ the small
Then down tumbles butler bowl and all
Here’s to the master and to his right eye
May God send are master a good Christmas pie
A good Christmas pie as we may all see
An’ a wheysailing bowl we drink to thee
Here’s to are master an to his right leg
May God send are master a jolly fat peg
A jolly fat peg as we may all see
An the wheysailing bowl we’ll drink unto thee.
Here’s to the master an’ to his right hip
May God send are master a good flock of ship (“sheep”)
A good flock o’ ship as we may all see
An’ a wheysailing bowl we’ll drink unto thee.
Here’s to are master and to his right arm
May God send are master a good crap o’ corn
A good crap o’ corn as we may all see
An’a wheysailing bowl we’ll drink unto thee.
Here’s to our master an to our dame
We hope as next year they’ll sarve us the same
Sarve us the same as we may all see
So the wheysailing bowl we’ll empt unto thee.