ALTRINCHAM, a market-town and chapelry, and the head of a union, in the parish of Bowdon, hundred of Bucklow, N. division of the county of Chester, 7 miles (N. by E.) from Knutsford, and 180 (N. W. by N.) from London; containing 3399 inhabitants. The town is situated near Bowdon Downs, and, though small, contains several respectable dwelling-houses, the salubrity of the air rendering it a place of general resort for invalids from Manchester; it is watched and lighted under the general act of the 11th of George IV., and is characterised throughout by cleanliness and neatness. The trade principally consists in the spinning of yarn, the making of bobbins for cotton and worsted spinners, and the weaving of cotton by hand-looms, and by machinery driven by steam, for the manufacturers at Manchester and other adjacent towns. The Duke of Bridgewater's canal from Manchester to Runcorn passes within threequarters of a mile of the town, affording a facility of conveyance for coal; and in 1845 and 1846 acts were passed, the first for a railway to Manchester, since completed, and the second for a railway from Birkenhead, by Altrincham, to Stockport. Early potatoes are cultivated here to a great extent for the Manchester market. The market-days are Tuesday and Saturday, the latter for butchers' meat; the fairs, chiefly for the sale of live stock, are held on April 29th, August 5th, and November 22nd.
Altrincham was made a free borough in the reign of Edward I., by charter of Hamon de Massey, lord of the barony of Dunham-Massey, and the burgesses were empowered to have a guild-merchant, and to choose a præpositus, or bailiff; but the only privilege they now possess is that of electing a mayor at a court leet held in autumn, when a jury of burgesses present three of their own body to the steward, who appoints one to the office, which however is merely nominal, the duty extending only to the opening of the fairs. A steward is chosen by the lord of the barony of Dunham-Massey, and this officer appoints a bailiff; there are also two constables, who are chosen by the leet jury. The powers of the county debt-court of Altrincham, established in 1847, extend over part of the registration-district of Altrincham. The township comprises 657 acres, of which 38 are common or waste: the soil is loam. The living is a perpetual curacy; patron, the Vicar of Bowdon; net income, £150. The tithes have been commuted for £48. 14., payable to the Bishop of Chester, and £43 to the vicar. The chapel, dedicated to St. George, is a plain brick building, erected by subscription in 1799. There are two places of worship for Methodists, and one for Unitarians. The poor law union of Altrincham comprises 39 parishes or places, and contains a population of 31,019.