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Knutsford's History

Knutsford's Coat of Arms


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.. 

Although this was granted as recently as 1955, it is a summary of the town's history. 


The Shield is in blue and gold, the livery of the earldom and County of Chester. The cross in gold represents Cross Town and the sheaves above and below it are for Over and Nether Knutsford. The fleur-de-lis at each side are for Toft and Tabley and the ancient Leycester families. Above the shield the blue and white waves with a crown are for Canute's Ford. 


The crest has a red walled crown for Halton Castle with the diamonds from the arms of William Fitz Nigel, the Norman baron of Halton who held the manors of Knutsford, Over Tabley and half of Tatton and Peover (together with many other lands in Cheshire). 


The Red Lion is from the arms of Egertons and Leighs and the necklace of flowers around his neck represents May Day. The Book in his hand is for Elizabeth Gaskell and for the ancient Grammar School. 


The motto Respice, Aspice, Prospice is that of the Holland family meaning 'Look to the Past, Present, and the Future'. 


Elizabeth Gaskell's mother was born Elizabeth Holland and her her uncle, Peter Holland lived at Church House, Toft Rd (the present Hollingford House), with his daughters Mary and Lucy. His son, Sir Henry Holland (born 1788),

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