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Knutsford was established as a market town on 3rd August 1292 when William de Tabley, Lord of Knutsford paid for a charter from Edward I which established a weekly market on Saturdays and a 3 day fair at the end of June.
Decision was made to hold the County Quarter Sessions in rotation with Chester, Northwich & Middlewich. Apart from the prestige this brought to Knutsford, it provided trade and business.
St John the Baptist Church, opposite to The Courthouse was built by local architect J.Garlive.
1815 - 1818
The Sessions House and House of Correction (prison: now Booths supermarket) is built. George Moneypenny was the selected architect who had been involved in the design of county goals throughout the UK. The Grade II* listed building & facade was influenced by the Doric theatres and 'buildings of importance' from Rome.
A report from George Moneypenny to the Committee (Council) issued in February 1819 itemised sums of £6,045 over the agreed original costs to construction, meaning the design & build was over budget by c.28%. In a statement; Moneypenny said ‘an error in my sums’ was to blame… he was removed as architect. Little is known about George Moneypenny after he was dismissed however his work at Knutsford received praise and the Manchester Mercury famously commenting about The Sessions House;

“Was a building so high in renown,
That a Lord might live there,
But one hardly believes,
That such a fine place,
Was built only for thieves”.
William Heap was hired to finish the works on the outbuildings but records state; “Heap was too accused of incompetence and chicanery and was also dismissed due to not having much business for several years and not a man of very fair character”. Heap objected to this and took the Committee to court and won his case. The Committee were ordered to pay him £19,647.6s.9d.

The collapse of the working relationship between the Committee, its architect and its builder may partly explain the lack of archival records and there is a limited amount of drawings and documents after this date.
There is no official document for the opening of the prison but the Goal Visiting register began in September 1820.
1886 - 1912
7 hangings took place outside the court (all men).
The Sessions House closes its doors and judicial proceedings are moved to Crewe & Northwich due to lack of use.
Flat Cap Hotels acquires The Sessions House and completes a full change of use to open the The Courthouse up to the public for the very first time in its history.
After a full refurbishment and restoration of the building; The Courthouse opened with Barristers Restaurant & Bar, The Court Room and The Moneypenny Suite for weddings, events, functions and conferences.
Luxury bedrooms in the existing wings opened in August.

The jury is in – foodies are in for a treat!

Warrington Guardian

If you haven’t checked [The Courthouse] out yet, you need to!

Taste Today