Tradition links Knutsford with King Canute (995-1035) who is supposed to have forded the Lily Stream in 1016 giving the Town it’s name. Knutsford appears in the Domesday Book of 1085 as “Cunetesford” and in 1292 a charter was granted to William de Tabley by King Edward I allowing a court, market and fair to be established. The 38 Burgesses were empowered to elect a Bailiff and Mayor, the first recorded holder of the title was John Hall. The office of Mayor lapsed, but was revived in 1974 following the formation of the Town Council.
Knutsford was once a famous cockfighting centre, and from 1729-1873 its racecourse too was famous. On racing days the county families used to drive in with their coaches. Knutsford was also the inspiration for Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Cranford”.
Knutsford has been the home to many notable people, from Elizabeth Gaskell to Highwayman Higgins; and it has also been a place which many have visited. Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria) visited in 1832, and the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) visited in 1887. Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) visited in 1848, as have numerous other figures from history including Winston Churchill.