The Cherry Tree Carol

David Willcocks



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The Cherry Tree Carol is a Christmas carol with roots that go deep and wide: from medieval England back to the 12th century Crusader kingdoms and ultimately to early Christian communities of the Middle East who worshipped in Syriac, a liturgical form of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The song itself is very old, reportedly sung in some form at the Feast of Corpus Christi in the early 15th century. The ballad relates an apocryphal story of the Virgin Mary, presumably while traveling to Bethlehem with Joseph for the census. In the most popular version, the two stop in a cherry orchard, and Mary asks her husband to pick cherries for her, citing her child. There is a thorough and interesting source relating to the story of The Cherry Tree by Dr. Mary Joan Winn Leith, chair of the department of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts:

This arrangement represents one in the Series of Band Arrangements compatible with David Willcocks’ Carols for Choirs.

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