ALTRINCHAM. A busy town a few miles from Manchester, it keeps a charter of 1290 and boasts that it has had about 500 mayors, though some were of rather low degree, for Sir Walter Scott quotes an old saying: "l am like the Mayor of Altrincham, Who lies in bed while his breeches are mending."
De Quincey, who knew Altrincham as a child, thought the market here the gayest scene he ever saw, but the square has changed much since his day, and has little more than a modern black and white bank bank to give it a touch of quaintness.
Facing a fine Celtic cross 25 feet high, a memorial to nearly 400 men of Altrincham and Dunham Massey, is St Margaret's Church. Built in 1855, it has a lofty central tower and a fine peal of bells. There are gilded angels below the chancel clerestory and angels on the hammerbeams of the nave, heads looking down from the highest windows, and minstrels above the'pillars of the lofty arcades. There are marble steps to the altar, a chapel with a rich pendant roof and two oak screens, and a company of prophets and saints in the east window. Among memorials to heroes of our own day is one to a choir boy; another is a stone panel with two soldiers carrying a wounded comrade.
A pleasant road brings us to Dunham Massey park, with deer roaming among its 400 acres. It is famous for its grand old oaks, a magnificent beech avenue, and its limes and chestnuts. In one of its most charming corners is an old water-mill with a great wheel under an arch.
By the hall is a rare sight for our English countryside, a touch of humanity with a story we have not been able to discover. It is a statue of a Negro and is said to be a monument to a faithful servant. The old house here was the home of that George Booth who was made Lord Delamere for his plot to hasten the Restoration. His son Henry was Lord of the Treasury, and father and son sleep in Bowden Church not far off.
The King's England, Cheshire (1938) by Arthur Mee. Original transcription by CuriousFox, edited for watermarking purposes.