Customs and rituals that bless apple trees to ensure a productive season are likely to be as old as the cultivation of the apple. Today we know these customs as “Wassails” and the term has an interesting history. It is derived from the Old Norse “Ves heill” with the meaning “be in good health” and adopted into post Norman Middle English as “Waes Hael”. We do not know when the term was adopted into Cornish, but the people of Cornwall had a quite different relationship to the Danish Vikings than the communities further east in Britain. There is only one Viking raid recorded in Cornwall and indeed the Cornish and Danes were allies fighting against the English in the battle of Hingston Down in 835 . There is thus the potential for the term Wassail to have arrived in Cornwall as early as the ninth century.
“Cornish Wassails,” An Daras, accessed January 19, 2020, https://andaras.omeka.net/items/show/78.