> The Watersons > Songs > God Bless the Master
> The Albion Christmas Band > Songs > God Bless the Master

God Bless the Master of this House

[ Roud 1066 ; Ballad Index CoSB272 ; trad.]

Frank Bond sang the carol God Bless the Master of this House in 1954 at the Fox in North Waltham, Hampshire. This recording collected by Bob Copper for the BBC was released in 1977 on the Topic album of country singers from Hampshire and Sussex, Songs and Southern Breezes, that accompanied Bob Copper’s same-named book. This recording was also included in 1998 on the Topic anthology You Lazy Lot of Bone-Shakers (The Voice of the People Series Volume 16).

The Watersons sang God Bless the Master on their 1977 album Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy. This recording was also included in 1990 on the CD reissue of Frost and Fire and in 2003 on The Definitive Collection. A live version from a Christmas radio programme recorded in December 1980 at Crathorne Hall, Crathorne, North Yorkshire, was published in 2005 on the CD A Yorkshire Christmas. A.L. Lloyd commented in the original album’s sleeve notes:

A carol that is midway between a wassail and a hymn, so a link between pagan luck-wish and pious hope. The words were widespread on garlands and broadsides around 1850, and several versions have been collected in the Southern counties during the twentieth century (most recently by Bob Copper at North Waltham, Hampshire). The Watersons’ tune and words are close to the set found by Vaughan Williams in 1909 at Preston Candover, barely five miles from North Waltham. The song was much used as a Mummers’ Salutation, sung as an overture in front of the houses at New Year before the mummers began their patter.

Nowell Sing We Clear sang the New Year’s Carol in 2000 on their CD Just Say Nowell. They gave their source as:

Collected by Cecil Sharp from Frederick Grossman of Langport in Somerset in 1909 [#368B, p. 506 in Vol. II of Cecil Sharp’s Collection of English Folk Songs, Maud Karpeles (Ed.), Oxford University Press, 1974].

The Albion Christmas Band sang God Bless the Master on their 2006 CD Winter Songs and on their 2009 CD Traditional.

Stephanie Hladowski sang God Bless the Master of this House on her and Chris Joynes’ 2012 CD The Wild Wild Berry. They give Frank Bond’s recording as their source.

Andy Turner learned God Bless the Master from the Watersons’ album and sang it as the 19 December 2015 entry of A Folk Song a Week.


The Watersons sing God Bless the Master

God bless the master of this house
And send him long to reign;
Wherever he walks wherever he rides,
𝄆 Lord Jesus be his guide. 𝄇

God bless the mistress of this house
With a gold chain round her breast;
Amongst her friends and kindred
𝄆 God send her soul to rest. 𝄇

From morn till morn remember thou
When first our Christ was born,
He was crucified between two thieves
𝄆 And crowned with a thorn. 𝄇

From morn till morn remember thou
When Christ lay on the rood,
’Twas for our sins and wickedness
Christ shed his precious blood,
Christ has shed his precious blood

From morn till morn remember thou
When Christ was wrapped in clay;
He was put into some sepulchre
𝄆 Where never no man lay. 𝄇

God bless the ruler of this house
And send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas
𝄆 We may live to see again. 𝄇

Now I have said my carol
Which I intend to do;
God bless us all both great and small
𝄆 And send us a happy New Year. 𝄇

Nowell Sing We Clear sing New Year’s Carol

The old year is past and the new year is come
And all the jolly soldiers are a beating on the drum

Chorus (after each verse):
So and I wish you all a Happy New Year, New Year, New Year
So and I wish you all a Happy New Year

Here’s a health to you in water I wish it was in wine
And all the money you have got I’m sure it’s none of mine

Here’s a health unto our Master and Missus likewise
And all the pretty family around the fireside

We wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Your pockets full of money and your barrels full of cider


Transcribed from the singing of the Watersons by Garry Gillard.