Waysailing in Arlingham

An ancient village custom.

Linda Leach


This custom survived in some places, notably Arlingham, Shurdington, Tetbury, and Woodchester  until the Second World War.  The song continued to be sung in village pubs until the 1980's and can still be heard at family gatherings.

The Arlingham version was sung by Lem Hayward (1901-1992) of  Arlingham. It was recorded by Gwilliam Davies in January 1977. The custom was kept up until the Second World war in Arlingham, where at about 8 pm on New Year's Eve, a party of some twenty strong would set off from Arlingham  and call at Framilode, Saul, and Frampton Court.  They carried a six foot bough decorated with tinsel and cards, and collected money in a tin.

The Waysailing Bowl

From Arlingham

Waysail Waysail all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown,
Our bowl it is made of the sycamore tree,
To me waysailing bowl  I'll drink unto thee,
Waysail,Waysail, to me jolly waysail,
And joy shall go with our jolly waysail

Come butler, come butler, a bowl of your best,
I hope that in heaven your soul it may rest,
But if butler don't bring a bowl of his small,
Down will go butler, bowl and all.

There was an old woman, she had but one cow,
And how to maintain it she did not know how,
But she built up a barn to keep her cow warm,
And a drop of your cider won't do us no harm.

Here's health unto old Colley and to her right eye,
May God send out master a good Christmas pie,
And a good Christmas pie, that we may all see,
To me waysailing bowl, I'll drink unto thee.

Here's health unto Colley and  to her right leg,
God send our master a good fatted pig (pronounced 'peg')
A good fatted pig, that we all may see,
To me waysailing bowl, I'll drink unto thee.

Here's health to old Colley and to her right horn,
Pray God send her master a good crop of corn,
A good crop of corn, that we all may see,
To me waysailing bowl, I'll dink unto thee.

Now come mall ye maidens, I know there are few,
Will not let the waysailers  stand on the cold stone,
But lift up the latch and draw back the pin,
And let the waysailers walk merrily in.

This page was added by Iris Capps on 10/03/2009.

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