Ashton town centre has lots to offer this December with entertainment, food and events to enjoy when you come to visit.

November 25th sees two events Festive Fletcher Square and The Black Knight Day –  both events fully funded from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund for Communities and Place for the Ashton Creative Improvement District. Between 11am and 3pm check out the decorative Christmas tree trail around the square, get a photo with a Goofy Elf and get creative making your own Christmas cards to take away !

Ashton Market Hall will be host to a special display about The Black Knight alongside vintage images of Ashton town centre to stir up the nostalgia. Plus the Black Knight himself will be making an appearance. The events have been organised by Ashton town team.

 On December 1st it’s the finale of Fridays On the Square featuring live entertainment, crafts and great food on offer. The Town Team will be making it ‘super’ special with a visit from Captain America and Batman between 5pm-6.30pm.


December 2nd will see another event fully funded from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund for Communities and Place for the Ashton Creative Improvement District – Musical Market Avenue. This event sees specially created art to celebrate iconic Christmas songs which will be on display on Market Avenue.  Children can give their own take on it by colouring in their own versions too plus the sound of music will be filling the air as you visit one of Ashton’s classic shopping areas.

Over at Ashton Market Hall it’s time to ‘Come On Down’ between 11am-1pm and win goodies from Market Hall traders in THE PRICE IS RIGHT. The closest guess wins the prize so get along early to join contestants row! The event will also be taking place on December 9th too!



The custom of riding the Black Lad or Black Knight was unique in Ashton. History records that the Black Knight was actually a man called Sir Ralph de Assheton, a friend of King Richard III. Sir Ralph de Assheton, who for a time resided at Ashton Old Hall in the fifteenth century, was said to have been a cruel tyrant and the local inhabitants feared the sight of him riding around the area, on his black horse, looking for hapless peasants to persecute. An event called The Riding of the Black Lad was staged as long ago as 1795. By the twentieth century this had transformed into something resembling a carnival. It then became known as the Black Knight Pageant and a Pageant Queen was crowned by the Mayor and Mayoress each year!

When the Arcades Shopping Centre opened in 1995 one of the focal points was a commissioned metal statue featuring The Black Knight  that resided in front of WH Smith for a number of years. The figure is reported to still exist in storage to perhaps be displayed again at some future venue.

The Pageant was resurrected during 1999 thanks to the Tameside Lions Club, Sir Ralph once again climbed   into the saddle on Saturday 3rd July 1999.

Ashton Town Team brought the character to life in 2017 for the Heritage event in the town which also featured local authors Phillip & David Williams who produced a book based on the legend.

They now encourage the Knight, which was created by No Eyed Theatre,  to make appearances at town centre events throughout the year.

Who are Ashton Town Team?

Following the Portas review, an independent review into the future of our high streets, the Ashton Town Team was formed in 2012 with local businesses, Tameside Council and key stakeholders within the town centre.

It’s a voluntary organisation which relies on funding and sponsorship to achieve its aims in supporting our town centre and its small independent businesses. Small businesses offer something unique that provides an essential element in the mix of national retail and leisure which should form part of Ashton town centre.  Over the years the Town Team have introduced events like Scarefest, Heritage Day and supported Totally Locally campaigns like Fiverfest. We have campaigned on issues like parking, town centre signage and security. In 2019 we produced a map for the town centre and this year we launch the Independent Business Awards for the town centre.