ALTRINCHAM, or Altringham (and so pronounced), a market-town in the Altrincham parliamentary division of Cheshire, England, 8 m. S.W. by S. of Manchester, on the London & North-Western, Manchester, South Junction & Altrincham and Cheshire Lines railways. Pop. of urban district (1901) 16,831. Many residences in the locality are occupied by those whose business lies in Manchester, who are attracted by the healthy climate and the vicinity of Bowdon Downs and Dunham Massey Woods. Market gardening is carried on, large quantities of fruit and flowers being grown for sale in Manchester. Cabinet-making is also practised; and there are sawmills, iron foundries, and manufactures of cotton, yarn and worsted.
Altrincham (Aldringham) was originally included in the barony of Dunham Massey, one of the eight baronies founded by Hugh, earl of Chester, after the Conquest. An undated charter from Hamo de Massey, lord of the barony, in the reign of Edward I., constituted Altrincham a free borough, with a gild merchant, the customs of Macclesfield, the right to elect reeves and bailiffs for the common council and other privileges. In 1290 the same Hamo obtained a grant of a Tuesday market and a three days' fair at the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin; but in 1319, by a charter from Edward II., the date of the fair was changed to the feast of St James the Apostle. A mayor of Altrincham is mentioned by name in 1452, but the office probably existed long before this date; it has now for centuries been a purely nominal appointment, the chief duty consisting in the opening of the annual fairs. The trade in worsted and woollen yarns, which formerly furnished employment to a large section of the population, has now completely declined, partly owing to the introduction of Irish worsted.
See Victoria County History, Cheshire; Alfred Ingham, History of Altrincham and Bowdon (Altrincham, 1879).