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Franklin’s Nights – The Battle Between The Devil, The Brewer & Cidermaker

Franklin's Night 21-05-2020

Satan Got His Arse Kicked Last Night!

There was no frost, the blossom survived and cider will pour freely in the valley…

It’s safe to say that we’re passionate about the history of Devon Cider at Sandford Orchards, but the thing that makes us really proud is the cider heritage of Crediton, our home town. Crediton and cider go way back, even before our home, The Cider Works, was built in 1935.  So far in fact, that it even plays a part in a piece of old Devon Folklore as the setting for the tale of Franklin’s Nights. Maps from less than one hundred years ago show that Crediton was ‘The Town in an Orchard’ something we’re working on bringing back. Little surprise that there are many stories and tales that tie a valley it’s orchards and cider together.

The Legend Of Franklin’s Nights

“In the Creedy Valley there was once an Exeter brewer called Franklin who became worried about losing sales of his ale to the more popular ciders. In desperation he sold his soul to the Devil on condition that on three specific nights in May he would send frosts to destroy the cider apple blossom.  Since then it has always been believed that the apple crop was at risk of failure during three specific nights, namely the 17th, 18th and 19th of May.”  A wonderful 19C writer captured Crediton and it’s devotion to cider perfectly in his ‘book of the west‘.

It’s hard to believe any Devon Brewer would sell their soul for money, and to spite the local apple growers – but remember, ’tis only folklore! These nights are known as Franklin Nights even today we still cast a cautious eye around on ‘Franklin’s’. We would have been celebrating with the awesome Skimmity Hitchers and having a glorious time, but it will have to wait until next year – and the Devil better bring his A-game, because we’re ready to give him another slap!

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