The Dorsetarian

Dorset Ghost Walks

If you are looking for something different this year, then ghost tours can provide some great entertainment, especially if they're ghost tours after dark.
Alistair Chisholm's Dorchester Ghost Walks
Weymouth Ghost Walks
Haunted Harbour Tours
Granny Cousin's Ghost Walks of Old Poole Town
The Bridport Ghost Walk

The Ashen Faggot

Location: Shave Cross Inn, near Bridport

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Hats Fulls Caps Fulls, Three Bushel Bag Fulls

The Ashen FaggotThe Ashen Faggot (sometimes called ashton fagot) is an old English Christmas tradition from in Devonshire and Somersetshire, similar to that of the Yule log and related to the wassail tradition. The wassail party passes around a bundle of ash sticks, twigs or branches—the ashen faggot—bound with green ash withies, which is then placed onto the fire. As each binding bursts, the watchers toast it with a drink. Some traditions had the unmarried women each choosing a withy, and the first one whose tie snapped would be married the next year.

When the bindings have all burst and the bundle has fallen loose, each person who plans to host the festivities next year takes one of the half-burned ash sticks and saves it until the following Christmas, when it will go in the center of their own ashen faggot. The tradition endures (or has been resurrected) in many places; according to an article in the Winter 2005 issue of Devon Talk, the Harbour Inn in Axmouth annually builds an ashen faggot six feet high and three feet wide for their huge pub fireplace.

Some traditions held that not burning the ashen faggot in your house brought bad luck, or that having an ashen faggot in the house kept the Devil and evil spirits away. Ash was likely chosen because the ash tree has a long pedigree of magical associations: perhaps the most important is the Yggdrasil of Norse mythology, also known as the World Ash Tree.

Below: Since 2004, The Shave Cross Inn has continued the traditional custom of burning the Ashen Faggot on the Old Twelfth Night this year on the 17th January 2007.

Footnote: On 19th January 2012, Shave Cross Inn will be holding their Ash 'n' faggot burning with the Wessex Morris Men with Music, Dancing and Singing at 7.00pm onwards for more information visit there website at