and Church-ale. Mr. Douce says the word “ale” is used in such composite words as bride-ale, clerk-ale, church-ale, lamb-ale, Midsummer-ale, Scot-ale, Whitsun-ale, etc., for revel or feast, ale being the chief liquor given.
“The multitude call Church-ale Sunday their revelyng day, which day is spent in bulbeatings, bearbeating, ... dicying, ... and drunkenness.” —W. Kethe (1570).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894