Caught by the River

The Halstow Wassail

29th January 2022

In a new film, Bevis Bowden documents a celebration of the microbial life integral to cider-making.

The Halstow Wassail takes place each year on a Devon cider farm that has been in the Gray family since the late 1600s.

Featuring singer-songwriter Jim Causley, Dartmoor folk singer Bill Murray, and the shanty crew Mariners Away, the film in a single uninterrupted camera shot documents this traditional event.

Unlike other wassails, The Halstow Wassail is a celebration of the microbial life of cider-making, with each verse acknowledging the importance of the yeasts and other fungi, bacteria and moulds, that live on the orchards and apples, in the barns, press and barrels, and in the cider itself.

The Halstow Wassail is one of several artistic experiments with local folkways associated with cider-making made by the artist Simon Pope in collaboration with singer-songwriter Jim Causley.

Commissioned by Arts & Culture at the University of Exeter and The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter City Council with additional support from Arts Council England.


Find Bevis’s previously featured films here.