Bewitched by Bowdon

PUBLISHED: 11:20 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:08 20 February 2013

Cottages in Church Brow

Cottages in Church Brow

Our watercolour artist Gordon Wilkinson takes his easel to Bowdon

Did you know?

From its elevated position Bowdon has some wonderful views across the Cheshire countryside

As well as the successful hockey club, Bowdon also has croquet, tennis and rugby clubs

A 17th century sketch by Randle Holme of the effigy of Sir William Baguley is in the British Museum

Roy Keane, Andy Cole and former Oasis guitarist Bonehead have all lived in Bowdon, as did Hans Richter who conducted the Halle Orchestra from 1899 to 1911

For more information about Bowdon contact Altrincham Tourist Information Centre on 0161 912 5931

Gordon Wilkinson has been Cheshire Life's watercolour artist since the 1990s and has painted hundreds of wonderful images of the county's villages and beauty spots.

He started painting in acrylics more than 20 years ago before moving into watercolours and his work is now a common sight in village halls and libraries. He also holds workshops with budding amateurs and teaches at colleges around the county.

All his original watercolours featured in this article are for sale. Contact Gordon on 01244 531785, or email him at More of his work - including paintings he created for Cheshire Life - can be viewed at

Seclusion has been important to the people of Bowdon ever since Manchester's cotton magnates built their villas there in the 19th century. The same is true today of the successful businesspeople and celebrities from sport, entertainment and the media who have now made the village their home.

The less famous residents are proud of their well known neighbours but there's no hint of whispering gossip as the household names stroll around Bowdon without anyone batting an eyelid.

The coming of the railway changed the face of the old village, making it easy for wealthy businessmen to commute to work from Bowdon. The transport links are still an attraction, but they are by no means the only attraction.

This is a charming village with many beautiful buildings within easy reach of the Cheshire countryside. It's also right on Altrincham's doorstep and - although it's hard to believe as you walk the leafy lanes - just a few minutes from the M56.

Among the celebrities who have been seduced by Bowdon are faces from television and Premier League footballers but even they have been eclipsed by some home grown heroes. The Bowdon Highgate women's hockey team are reigning national champions, adding another trophy to an already bulging cabinet and, as Cheshire Life went to print, four members of the team were in contention for places in the England squad for the European Championships, to be held this month.

The Highgate team are based at the Bowdon Club where people of all ages can also play cricket and squash. The club was established in the mid-1850s, around the time the railway came and many of those larger houses were built.

The Grade Two listed St Mary's Church was also rebuilt in the 1850s, although a church was recorded on that site in the Domesday Book and modifications were carried out in the 14th and 16th centuries. The present church has an impressive collection of historic artefacts, including some carved stones which date back to Norman times and a 15th century font.
Among the tombs and effigies at St Mary's is one of Sir Willam Baguley, a knight who died around 1320 but who has moved quite a bit since then.

The figure was taken from the ancient church and was used as a garden ornament before it was transferred to Baguley Hall in Manchester, the seat of the family. In 1925 it was returned to the church somewhat smaller than when it left, its legs broken at the knees.

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