Bowdon, Greater Manchester

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St Mary's Church, Bowdon.jpg
Bowdon Parish Church
Bowdon is located in Greater Manchester
Location within Greater Manchester
Population9,228 (2011)
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtWA14
Dialling code0161
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°22′34″N 2°21′58″W / 53.376°N 2.366°W / 53.376; -2.366Coordinates: 53°22′34″N 2°21′58″W / 53.376°N 2.366°W / 53.376; -2.366

Bowdon is a suburb and electoral ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, England.


Within the boundaries of the historic county of Cheshire, both Bowdon and Dunham Massey are mentioned in the Domesday Book, citing the existence of a church and a mill in Bowdon, and Dunham Massey is identified as Doneham: Hamo de Mascy.[1]

The name Bowdon came from Anglo-Saxon Boga-dūn = "bow (weapon)-hill" or "curved hill".

Both areas came under Hamo de Masci in Norman times. His base was a wooden castle at Dunham. Watch Hill Castle was built on the border between Bowdon and Dunham Massey between the Norman Conquest and the 13th century. The timber castle most likely belonged to Hamo de Mascy; the castle had fallen out of use by the 13th century.[2] The last Hamo de Masci died in 1342. The Black Death came to the area in 1348. Before 1494 the ruins of the castle at Dunham were acquired by Sir Robert Booth. In 1750, this and the other Booth estates passed to the Earl of Stamford by his marriage to Lady Mary Booth. The 10th and last Earl of Stamford died in 1976, who bequeathed Dunham Massey and his Carrington estates to the National Trust.

The development of Bowdon as a residential area began apace in the 1840s, when the landowners of the area sold off parcels of land. The opening of Bowdon railway station in 1849 provided a commuter route to the centre of Manchester, making the clean air and tranquility of the Bowdon Downs more attractive to developers. Initially, terraces and semi-detached houses were built, but by the 1860s and 1870s, the 'merchant princes' had built the large houses on Green Walk which are still a defining feature of the ward.[3] By 1878 Kelly's Directory was describing Bowdon as "studded with handsome villas and mansions", and around 60% of the residents were business owners.[3] Mains water appeared in 1864, and gas lighting by 1865.[3]

The Altrincham History Society Tour highlights historical facts about Bowdon:

  • The listed Altrincham/Dunham boundary stone of 1840 is in the garden wall of number 1 Higher Downs at the bottom right. This indicates the boundary of the ancient (1290) Borough of Altrincham with Dunham Massey.
  • The area from the Devisdale across to The Downs was known as Bowdon Downs until about 1750 and was used as a common. 10,000 of Prince Rupert's troops camped here and on Knutsford Heath in May 1644 on their way from Shrewsbury to Marston Moor during the Civil War. In December 1688 Lord Delamer, later the Earl of Warrington, rallied forces here from his tenants in support of the Prince of Orange, afterwards William III, who had arrived in England.
  • The Altrincham Show used to be held on The Devisdale, Bowdon until 1966. Farmers came from as far afield as Scotland, Cornwall and Norfolk to show cattle.


Civic history[edit]

From 1894 to 1974, Bowdon formed an Urban District local government district in the administrative county of Cheshire.

Since 1 April 1974, Bowdon has formed an electoral ward and component area of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford. Prior to this Bowdon formed:[4]

  • Bowdon Local Board (1864–75);
  • Bowdon Urban Sanitary District (1875–94);
  • Bowdon Urban District (1894–1974);

The records of Bowdon Urban District Council[dead link] are held at the Trafford Local Studies Centre.

Bowdon has formed part of two Poor Law Unions: Altrincham (1837 to 1895); Bucklow (1895 to 1930).

Political representation[edit]

Bowdon was in the parliamentary constituency of Altrincham from 1885 until 1945; in Bucklow from 1945 until 1950; in Knutsford from 1950 until 1983; and in Altrincham and Sale from 1983 until 1997. Bowdon has been part of the parliamentary constituency of Altrincham and Sale West since 1997. Since its formation this constituency has been represented in the House of Commons by the Conservative MP, Graham Brady.[5] This is one of only a small number of seats in the North West held by the Conservative Party, and one of only two in Greater Manchester.

Bowdon is in Trafford Metropolitan Borough; Trafford Council is responsible for the administration of local services, such as education, social services, town planning, waste collection and council housing. Bowdon is covered by the Bowdon electoral ward; this ward has 3 out of the 63 seats on the Trafford Council; as of the 2012 local elections all three seats were held by the Conservative Party. The councillors for the Bowdon ward are Sean Anstee, Karen Barclay, and Michael Hyman, all members of the Conservative Party.[6]


Bowdon is located at the southwest edge of Greater Manchester. It is situated on a ridge which rises above the Cheshire Plain. Bowdon is the largest ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, and comprises several small, rural villages surrounded by open countryside, including Dunham Massey Country Park and other more densely populated residential areas.

It has been described as an affluent and attractive place to live.[7]

The majority of the ward is owned by the National Trust as part of the Dunham Massey Estate, which serves as a significant communal asset for the residents of the local and wider areas. The estate includes Dunham Massey Hall and a deer park. Bowdon is a semi-rural ward and has a low population density.

Divisions and suburbs[edit]

There are four distinct neighbourhoods of Bowdon:[7]


According to a Trafford Metropolitan Council report,[7] the population of Bowdon in 2001 was 8,806. 1730 were under 16 and 1699 were 65 and over. In 2004, the majority of residents (8,343) described themselves as white. Out of 8414 wards of the United Kingdom, Bowdon ranks as 8,235th in terms of deprivation indicating that only 2.2% of UK wards suffer less deprivation

In 1931, 27.6% of Bowdon's population was middle class compared with 14% in England and Wales, and by 1971, this had increased to 58.9% compared with 24% nationally. Parallel to this doubling of the middle classes in Bowdon was the decline of the working class population. In 1931, 16.1% were working class compared with 36% in England and Wales; by 1971, this had decreased to 14.7% in Bowdon and 26% nationwide. The rest of the population was made up of clerical workers and skilled manual workers or other miscellaneous.[8]


Bowdon contains both state and independent schools.

State schools

Independent schools

  • Altrincham Preparatory School, Marlborough Road, Bowdon.[11]
  • Bowdon Preparatory School, Stamford Road, Bowdon.[12]


Bowdon Parish is part of the Archdeaconry of Macclesfield within the Anglican Diocese of Chester. The parish covers a number of churches in the south west part of the Greater Manchester conurbation, including: Altrincham St George, Altrincham St John, Ashley, Ashton upon Mersey St Martin, Ashton upon Mersey St Mary Magdalene, Bowdon, Broadheath, Dunham Massey St Margaret, Dunham Massey St Mark, Hale, Oughtrington, Partington and Carrington, Ringway, Sale St Anne, Sale St Paul, Timperley and Warburton. The main parish church of St Mary the Virgin can be seen very clearly from the Cheshire Plain.

The registers of baptisms 1628–1964, marriages 1628–1964 and burials 1628–1973 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office.[4]

Leisure and recreation[edit]

  • Dunham Massey – formerly the home of the last Earl of Stamford, it was acquired by the National Trust in 1976. It was built on the site of the original Tudor house. The current property is described as "a Country estate including mansion with important collections and 'below stairs' areas, impressive garden and deer park";
  • Bowdon Cricket Club, Hockey and Squash Club
  • Bowdon Vale Cricket Club – founded in the early 1870s and is a member of the Cheshire Cricket League
  • Bowdon Rugby Union Football Club – HQ is now in Timperley – founded in 1877
  • Bowdon Lawn Tennis Club – founded 1877
  • Bowdon Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club – founded in 1873
  • Bowdon Croquet Club – founded in 1873
  • Bowdon Golf Club, Dunham Massey (now defunct) was founded in 1890. The club continued until the early 1950s.[13]

Notable people[edit]

Notable local residents have included:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Domesday Book – Cheshire". Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  2. ^ Watch Hill Castle by Norman Redhead in Mike Nevell (1997). The Archaeology of Trafford. Trafford Metropolitan Borough with University of Manchester Archaeological Unit. pp. 34–35. ISBN 1-870695-25-9.
  3. ^ a b c A history of Bowdon in the 19th Century, from Bowdon Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club.
  4. ^ a b Bowdon Archived 6 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine Genuki – England and Ireland Genealogy – URL accessed 19 February 2007.
  5. ^ "Altrincham and Sale West". London. Archived from the original on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Bowdon: Councillors in this Ward". Trafford MBC. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Bowdon Ward Profile Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Trafford Council Working Document, 2006. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  8. ^ "Bowdon social class". Vision of Britain. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) Retrieved on 27 December 2008.
  9. ^[bare URL]
  10. ^[bare URL]
  11. ^[bare URL]
  12. ^[bare URL]
  13. ^ “Bowdon Golf Club”, "Golf's Missing Links".
  14. ^ "15. Sir Michael Bishop: £185m (£185m)". Manchester Evening News. 30 May 2005. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  15. ^ Fiona Lafferty (26 July 2000). "Twenty Questions: Sir Michael Bishop, owner and chairman of British". The Independent. Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  16. ^ a b c "Biographies of local people". Altrincham History Society. Archived from the original on 16 June 2007. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) Retrieved on 22 December 2008.
  17. ^ Bismarck Tribune One small town produced two great athletes 10 September 2006

External links[edit]