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The "pleasant little country town of Cranford" -  Archaeology has shown the existence of man at Tatton since around 8000BC and it is said by many that Knutsford derives its name from the Danish King Canute who supposedly 'forded' the River Lily in 1016.  The name Cunetesford appears in the Domesday Book (1086) and many names of Danish origin are found in Knutsford.  The towns first charter was granted in 1292 and its central position in Cheshire led to it becoming known as the 'Capital' of mid Cheshire.  In 1955 Knutsford received its own Armorial Bearings featuring the motto 'Respice, Aspice, Prospice' (Look to the Past, the Present, and the Future) and today it is one of England's most visited historic places with the magnificent Tatton Park boasting two 'stately' homes. Knutsford was twinned with Montmorency in France in 1984.  

 
KING CANUTE

Danish King of England, circa 994-1035, who supposedly 'forded' the Lily stream, thus giving us Cunetesford as it appears in the Domesday Book.  An impressive mosaic can be seen at Canute Place.

 

THE ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

An ancient hostelry of obscure origins, and at one time a coaching Inn, the Royal George has been the centre of Knutsford for centuries. The George and Dragon became 'The Royal George' after a visit by Queen Victoria in 1832. It has also been visited by Elizabeth Gaskell and Highwayman Higgins. Found on King Street.

 
ELIZABETH GASKELL

English novelist, 1810 to 1865, who spent most of her life, and was married, in Knutsford.  Her novel 'Cranford' is set in Victorian Knutsford and the house where she grew up is situated on what is now Gaskell Avenue.  Her grave can be seen in the Brook Street Unitarian Chapel  grounds. See our Gaskell section for more about the author...


 

Famous Names
Prince Ruperts Army;

Lord Clive of India;

John Astley;

Thomas Gaskell; 

Sir Henry Holland;

Trumpet Major Smith;

Sir Henry Royce Bart;

Gen.George Patton;

John Wesley;

Alfred Waterhouse.

 
 
GASKELL AVENUE

A row of Georgian houses now named Gaskell Avenue.  Heathwaite, No.17, was once home to Elizabeth Gaskell while Heath House, No.19, was once the residence of Highwayman Higgins. Visitors can see Gaskell Avenue, Cranford Walk and the Gaskell Memorial Tower in the town.
 
HIGHWAYMAN HIGGINS

Edward 'Highwayman' Higgins was a gentleman by day and a thief by night, at one time residing at a town house on what is now Gaskell Avenue.  Higgins was hanged for his crimes in 1767.
 
 
GASKELL MEMORIAL TOWER

Situated at the Kings Coffee House, King Street, now Belle Epoque Restaurant which has a courtyard with two pillars, both taken from St. Peter's Church in Manchester.  An example of the unique style of architecture of Richard Harding Watt.  


 

SOURCES OF INFORMATION


Knutsford Historical Society.  Secretary Mrs K. Goodchild, 60 Glebelands Rd, Knutsford 
(01565 633917)

The Gaskell Society

Macclesfield & Vale Royal Groundwork Trust. Adelphi Mill Gate Lodge, Grimshaw Lane, Bollington, Macclesfield (01625 560050)

Knutsford Historical & Archaeological Association

Information was also gathered from the  Knutsford Heritage Centre, Knutsford Library, Tourist Information Centre.


Historic Places 
The Sessions House;

Chapel of St Helena;

Lord Eldon Inn;

Methodist Chapel;

St Johns Church;

Church House or Hollingford House;

Heritage Centre;

Old Town Market Hall;

Knutsford Heath;

The White Bear;

Marble Arch;

Drury Lane;

Tatton Park.