Christmas and New Year

During December each of our cottages will be decked out with a wreath on the door, Christmas tree and other seasonal trimmings.

Our games room has a good stock of board games and puzzles to keep the whole family entertained as well as more energetic persuits such as pool, table tennis and table football, not to mention our heated indoor pool.

You can book each cottage individually or (if available) all of the cottages and enjoy a sumptuous banquet in the conservatory which can seat up to 26 (maximum cottage capacity is 22). Book all four cottages for Christmas or New Year week and receive Apple Cottage free (a saving of around 12%.

The conservatory also sports a beautiful tree and decorations, a gorgeous place to gather and enjoy the warmth of the log burner.

Christmas Eve in Kentisbeare is a fun affair – locals and visiting family and friends gather in front of the Wyndham Arms for carol singing, mulled wine and hot dogs to keep the chill away.

We have a lovely record of Christmas Past in the traditional Devon longhouse in which we live here at Halsbeer. What we call the ‘snug’ is home to a very large, very old fireplace in which, according to history of the Frost family, a great ashen faggot (bundle of sticks) was burnt on Christmas Eve in 1753.

Read the transcript below copied from http://www.encief.co.uk/misc/frosthist.htm (sadly this link is no longer active).

“1753 saw the birth of John, son of the above John and Diana. He married Joan Starke and lived for a time at “France” the Domesday manor of “Freschic.” After his father’s death he lived at Halsbeare. In “The Burning of the Christmas Faggot”, another of the family ballads by Diana Frost, we have a picture of the comfortable and rather feudal setting of a yeoman-landowner, which is very typical of old English country life at its best. The theme is the gathering of the family and their relations, their servants, and all those connected with the activities of a big farm, to celebrate the burning of the great ashen Christmas faggot.

“Over six feet in length,
Its girth was over five,
To place it on the big, bright dogs
The men did not contrive”.

Cousins and friends come flocking in“, including the writer of the ballad, and then we hear also of “the waiting maid” with short tail gown”, “the rosy-faced weeding woman”, “the fustian-coated men”, the carpenter, the tailor and the thatcher, a long list of those who “laboured on the ground”, ending with “the leather breeches boys, with stockings of coarse yarn”. The writer then describes the host and hostess:-

“My grandfather, dear, good old man
With such a jolly face,
Invites his guests to take their seats,
Then fills the carver’s place.

My grandmother with brown stuff gown,
Lace cap so white and neat,
Large silver buckles on her shoes –
She looks the Dame compleat

To read more about Halsbeer Farm’s fascinating history visit our History page.