Bringing Holly into the house in winter dates back beyond written records. At summer solstice, the Holly, King of the winter trees, was believed to win the fight with the Oak, King of the summer, and mummers, and wassailers took the Holly with them to signify its power. Gawain and the Green Knight reflects this battle. While Holly stems were used in the 18th Century in their hundreds of thousands, to make whips for riding, and Holly branches were nutritious food for livestock in winter, to cut a Holly tree down completely rather than merely coppicing it, was regarded as very unlucky. They were planted beside houses, as Holly was thought to protect against malevolent faeries, and in the house, to mediate between fairy and human. The Duke of Argyll, in the18th century, diverted the course of a road to avoid cutting an old Holly. I
n hedgerows, the highways of witches, they were left to impede witches in their travels. Conditions: Dull and drizzly. Temperature: Max 10- Min 9C.