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Cotswold customs and celebrations that take place every year

Cotswold customs. Illustration: Katie B Morgan
Cotswold customs. Illustration: Katie B Morgan

A year of Cotswold customs and celebrations

January

Great British Life: Stroud Wassail: It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. Photo: Candia McKormackStroud Wassail: It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. Photo: Candia McKormack

• Wassail: Traditionally, a group stand around trees in an orchard, singing a wassail song. A piece of toast, often dipped in cider, is placed on the fork of the largest tree, for the spirits that watch over apple trees. Cider from a wassail bowl is also drunk, and the remains used to libate the roots of the trees, to ensure a good crop the following year

• Twelfth Night

February

• Pancake Race: Before the Reformation, fats and butter were forbidden during Lent, and so they were used up on this day

• Valentine’s Day

March

• Rough Music customs

• Usually the month of the highest bore. The Severn Bore has the second highest tidal range in the world

April

• Easter

• Launch of Asparagus Festival in Bretforton

May

Great British Life: St Briavels Bread and Cheese Dole. Photo: Candia McKormackSt Briavels Bread and Cheese Dole. Photo: Candia McKormack

• May Day

• Well dressing, Bisley

• Cheese rolling: the remaining part of the Cooper’s Hill Wake. Once there was shinkicking, Maypole dancing, gurning and other games

• Woolsack Race in Tetbury

• Randwick Wap

• May queens, mock mayors, and Jack in the Green

• Bread and cheese dole, St Briavels. Pieces of bread and cheese, blessed by the vicar are thrown from a wall to the crowd of dole claimers. The pieces are often kept for good luck

• Horse Fair in Stow-on-the-Wold

Great British Life: Stow Horse Fair. Photo: Candia McKormackStow Horse Fair. Photo: Candia McKormack

June

• The Burford Dragon Ceremony, thought to celebrate the Battle of Burford, AD 752

• Robert Dover founded the Cotswold Games in possibly 1601

• Midsummer morning

July

• 5th: Old Midsummer’s Day

August

• Football in the River, Bourton-on-the-Water, has taken place for over 100 years

• Pershore Plum Festival

September

• Painswick Church Clypping: The faithfull process then join hands, completely encircling the church. They then sing the Clypping Hymn

• Newent Onion Fayre: Dating back to the 13th century, when Henry III gave permission for an annual fair in the town

• Harvest

October

• Horse Fair, Stow-on-the-Wold

• Tewkesbury Mop Fair

• Hallowe’en

November

• Bonfire Night

December

• Christmas/Winter Solstice

• Wassailing

• Mumming

• Bibury Duck Race

For more of Katie B Morgan’s maps and illustrations, follow @katies_maps on Instagram, or email her directly at thedecorativepainter@gmail.com



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