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Knutsford

Knutsford

Capital of Cheshire

The Charismatic Knutsford with a population of 19,607 (2001 UK census) is considered both a civil parish and a town. Known for its countryside it is located in the heart of Cheshire, England - specifically the district of Cheshire East. To the southwest (12 miles), you can find Manchester; to the east (25 miles) Liverpool and to the northwest (11 miles) there is Macclesfield. Knutsford is located on the famous Cheshire Plain between the Peak District in the South Pennines to the east and the Clwydian Range in the Welsh mountains to the west. In 1292, the town was given the prestigious title of the "Capital of Cheshire".

The landscape and the surrounding towns and villages are very beautiful. Both its easy commutability to Manchester (lying close to the M62 and M56) and the attractive neighbouring communities of Alderley Edge and Wilmslow make Knutsford a popular place for upper middle classes and wealthy business men and women. Famous residents of Knutsford have included Chris Bisson, Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, Gary Barlow and Jason Orange of Take That, Sir Bobby Charlton, and Arjan De Zeeuw.

In 2005 Knutsford was named the most expensive place to buy a house in Northern England.

History

Archaeology has shown the existence of man at Tatton since around 8000BC. Like many towns in England, Knutsford can be found in William the Conqueror's Domesday Book, recorded in 1086 as Cunetesford ('Canute's ford'), a name thought to be derived in honour of King Canute who supposedly 'forded' the River Lily in 1016. Other variations concerning Knutsford's name include Knotesforde, Knodesford, and Knyzteford. Many people believe that the name itself actually means 'neat's ford'. This is not cited but may refer to a place where cattle could cross.

The market town with a rich varied history is decorated with cobbled streets, painted facades, black and white buildings and Georgian houses. There are great historic buildings such as the Heritage centre which is a reconstruction of a 17th Century timer framed building. This centre illustrates the fascinating history of knutsford.

Elizabeth Gaskell authoress and biographer (1810-65) best known for her literary biography The Life of Charlotte Bronte and “Cranford” was a famous resident who based much of her work on 19th Century Knutsford. Many of the places mentioned in her works can be identified today. In addition, scenes from famous movies, such as Empire of the Sun and Patton, were filmed in the town.

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.

In 1955 Knutsford received its own Armorial Bearings featuring the motto 'Respice, Aspice, Prospice' (Look to the Past, the Present, and the Future). Knutsford was twinned with Montmorency in France in 1984.

Things to do

The town centre of great antiquity offers some of the best shopping in the area with a myriad of local and national stores lying alongside those stores that offer the best in designer style. The wide array of restaurants, wine bars, and pubs attract many young people each weekend.

The Tatton estate was home to the Egerton family. Tatton Park with its stunning 50 acre ornamental gardens and over 2000 acres of deer parkland, abundance and wildlife/birdlife combined with the majestic hall hosting events including the RHS Flower Show make Knutsford the ideal Cheshire Leisure Break destination. There are four major attractions, shops, adventure playground, restaurant and full events programme. Bring a picnic, enjoy a lunch at the Stables Restaurant or an ice-cream from the Tuck Shop and take advantage of all numerous facilities and events.

Tabley, the finest Palladian House in the North West, was designed by John Carr of York for Sir Peter Byrne Leicester. JMW Turner, Henry Thompson and James Ward were among the many painters who stayed at Tabley. Today, important works by them can be seen in the rooms for which they were created, together with fine paintings by Dobson, Lely, Reynolds, Cotes, Northcote, Callcott, Fuseli, Lawrence, Opie, Martin and others. Interesting Tea Room and 17th century chapel (moved due to Salt extraction) adjoin.

Built in 1585 by Sir Ralph Mainwaring, Peover Hall is a fine example of an Elizabethan manor house, with carved staircase, panelled walls and a long gallery. It was the home during the Second World War to General George S Patton as headquarters of the American Third Army. There is an avenue of pleached limes, a circular lawn, yew hedges, a rose garden, a white garden, a pink garden and a lily pool with a summer house. Have a look at more details on events occurring in Knutsford

Final thoughts

Today the town offers that link with those restful years gone by, united with a collection of modern bars, restaurants, places to stay and many independent shops and boutiques. Robbie Williams summed up Knutsford well when he made reference to the town on his album Sing When You're Winning with the track 'Knutsford City Limits'. The lyrics describe a man who is offended by being branded 'northern scum'. The chorus is: 'London's got its gimmicks / and New York's had its minute / But Knutsford City limits / I'll never change".

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