KNUTSFORD, a market town in the Knutsford parliamentary division of Cheshire, England; on the London & North Western and Great Central railways, 24 m.
Knutsford is noted in modern times as the scene of Mrs Gaskell's novel Cranford.
The industries comprise cotton, worsted and leather manufactures; but Knutsford is mainly a residential town, as many Manchester merchants have settled here, attracted by the fine climate and surroundings.
Knutsford was the birthplace of Sir Henry Holland, Physician Extraordinary to Queen Victoria (1788-1873); and his son, the second Sir Henry, who was secretary of state for the colonies (1887-1892), was raised to the peerage in 1888 with the title of Baron Knutsford.
The name Knutsford (Cunetesford, Knotesford) is said to signify Cnut's ford, but there is no evidence of a settlement here previous to Domesday.
In r086 Erthebrand held Knutsford immediately of William FitzNigel, baron of Halton, who was himself a mesne lord of Hugh Lupus earl of Chester.
In 1 292 William de Tabley, lord of both Over and Nether Knutsford, granted free burgage to his burgesses in both Knutsfords.
This charter is the only one which gives Knutsford a claim to the title of borough.
In the same year as the charter to Knutsford the king granted to William de Tabley a market every Saturday at Nether Knutsford, and a three days' fair at the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.
See Henry Green, History of Knutsford (1859).