AN ancient mid-winter custom has been celebrated in Knutsford.

The second annual wassail was held at Crosstown Community Orchard on Saturday.

Residents joined musicians and dancers to celebrate wassail, derived from the old Norse ‘waes hail’ meaning ‘good health’.

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This ceremony is traditionally performed in orchards to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest for the year ahead.

Knutsford Guardian: Musicians entertained the crowdMusicians entertained the crowd (Image: Thomas Elton)

The event was held as sunset approached with local artists entertaining the crowd with dance, music and poetry.

Two morris sides, Mersey Morris and Bollin Morris, performed a selection of lively traditional dances, including Cotswold and Longsword styles.

Knutsford Guardian: Two morris sides performed a selection of lively traditional dancesTwo morris sides performed a selection of lively traditional dances (Image: Thomas Elton)

Historic poet and musician Michael Gibson performed a solo tune and recited original orchard-related poems.

Knutsford Guardian: A stunning selection of wassail hats were on displayA stunning selection of wassail hats were on display (Image: Thomas Elton)

Mike Wilding and his musician friends played traditional tunes and led the wassail song.

Knutsford Guardian: Michael Gibson recited original orchard-related poemsMichael Gibson recited original orchard-related poems (Image: Terry Griffiths)

Town mayor Cllr Mike Houghton officiated the best wassail hat competition and the toasting of the wassail tree.


Knutsford town crier Julie Mitchell, kept everything running along with her flamboyant proclamations.

Knutsford Guardian: Town crier Julie Mitchell with the musiciansTown crier Julie Mitchell with the musicians (Image: Terry Griffiths)

Visitors were treated to mulled cider and apple juice from Dunham Press along with gingerbread and homemade vegetable soup.

Knutsford Guardian: Plenty of refreshments were on offerPlenty of refreshments were on offer (Image: Terry Griffiths)

The refreshments were served by volunteers from Knutsford Hosts. Sister Barista also supported the event with their coffee pod outside the orchard.

Adam Keppel-Green, chairman of Crosstown Community Orchard, said: “We hope everyone who came enjoyed the wassail as much as we did.

“It’s a fun way to kick off the new year.

Knutsford Guardian: The wassail treeThe wassail tree (Image: Terry Griffiths)

“We all find it so rewarding seeing the community come together at events like this to enjoy its orchard.”

Crosstown Community Orchard on Mobberley Road is Knutsford’s first community orchard.

It is a charity run by a group of trustees.

The orchard holds a monthly workday to maintain the space and welcomes new volunteers.

For more details visit