The origins of the name Knutsford have been disputed by historians but there is an ancient and popular explanation. After one of his victories, King Canute crossed the brook known as Birkin and the village became known as `Canute's ford', later to be changed to Knutsford. The Domesday Book gives some credence to this by calling it `Cunetesford' (Canute's Ford). Canute was the king of England from 1016 to 1035 and his name in Old Norse was Knutr. Over the years, Knutsford became popular and affluent with the many wealthy families who settled in the vicinity. In the late 1800s Richard Harding Watt arrived with money and a love of Italian architecture; he used his wealth to build the Gaskell Memorial Tower, in honour of the town's famous author Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, along with the Kings Coffee House next to it and a number of Italianesque buildings.
Join Paul Hurley as he guides us through Knutsford's streets and alleyways, showing how its famous landmarks used to look and how they've changed over the years, as well as exploring lesser-known gems and hidden corners. With the help of a handy location map, readers are invited to follow along and discover for themselves the changing face of Knutsford.
Paul Hurley has been a freelance writer since 2002 and has been writing professionally ever since. He has had magazine, local and national newspaper credits and has written several books for Amberley on the local history of Cheshire. Since retiring from the police in 2002 he has amassed a CV that takes in a three part article in the Steam World magazine, one in the Backtrack magazine and many other magazine articles not relating to the railway scene. He lives in Winsford with his wife and his hobbies are writing, travel, motorcycling and classic cars.