The Gazetteer

Cheshire

Appleton Thorn - Bawming the Thorn, on the third Saturday of June - An offspring of this legendary Christmas flowering hawthorn tree from Glastonbury, Somerset, (which grew from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea) was planted in Appleton Thorn in 1966 to replace an older tree and to re-introduce the ancient custom of 'bawming' (adorning) the thorn. The tree is decorated with flowers and ribbons; children of the village wear garlands and dance to the bawming song around the tree.This tradition is said to come from the time of the Crusades, when a returning Norman Knight brought a cutting from Glastonbury.

Cuckoo - Traditionally, the cuckoo is expected in Cheshire on 15th April.

Forest Chapel - Rushbearing. Held on the Sunday on or after August 12, this marks the renewal of rushes, strewn on the pews and floor of the church to make it dry and warm. This custom died out here in the 17th century when rushes were thought to harbour infection, and was not revived until the 19th century. Rushes from local streams are collected and plaited in a particular way (a skill which is passed down locally) and interwoven with marigolds. The evensong service starts at 3pm and usually moves outside to accommodate the large congregation who sit on the grass banks, while the preacher stands on a gravestone. People often bring a picnic lunch to precede the service. The term rushbearing is thought, here, to come from the custom of parishioners attending the service bearing armfuls of rushes. Contact the Church Warden, Janice Peaching on +44(0)1625 424045.

The Green Men of Cheshire
At Astbury can be seen a (Cheshire..) cat with a leafy moustache can be seen as a 15th century roof boss in St Mary's church.

Cheshire also gave us the Green Knight...
"Men gaped for the giant grim
Was coloured a gorgeous green
And garments of green girt the fellow about..
And verily his vesture was all a vivid Green"
(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 14th century)

Holmes Chapel - Gooseberry Shows - Cheshire has eight shows each year, notably at Holmes Chapel.

Knutsford - Royal May Day, on the first Saturday in May. This custom derives from the eleventh century when King Cnut (the Canute of legend) is said to have emptied his shoe of sand when a wedding party went by, wished the couple happiness and as many children as there were grains of sand. Since then, sand drawings and grottos have been made outside the houses of brides during the May festival season. Pavement are decorated with patterns in coloured sand. A procession is followed by the crowning of the May Queen and Morris and country dancing. Contact Knutsford TIC, +44(0)1565 632611. A large funfair accompanies the traditional May Day celebrations on the Heath.

Parish Maps of Cheshire

Appleton, Avanley, Barrow, Blacon, Bunbury, The Cheshire Landscape Trust, Grappenhall, Kelsall, Little Budworth, Mottram-in-Longendale, Mowcop, Poynton, Rainow, Stretton.

Runcorn - Blossom Day, Norton Priory, on May Day. A celebration of the blossom of fruit trees in the walled garden orchard. Cheshire Landscape Trust (+44(0)1244 376333). Also, Quince Day in October.

Nantwich - World Worm Charming Championships, Willaston School, in June. Contact Mike Forster +44(0)1270 663957.


Apple Day, October 21st

Find events in Cheshire and across the country on the APPLE DAY EVENTS LIST
or read about Cheshire Orchards and Orchard Produce

TELL US about an event you are holding : email info [at] commonground.org.uk