History of Hartford

Find out about Hartford’s history, plus some of our famous residents. 

The name ‘Hartford’ means the place where the deer (Hart) cross the river (Ford). Hartford as a Cheshire village can be traced back as far as the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is mentioned as being part of the Barony of Kinderton, held by Gilbert de Venables.

Much of the history and development of the village can be found to have its origins in the local association with salt, and the chemical industry that sprang up to exploit this natural resource. The village is situated on what was the main salt route from Northwich to Chester. Chester Road, which runs through the centre of the village, follows the line of Watling Street, a Roman road.

In 1921, Brunner Mond was the principal landowner, having established a flourishing chemical industry on the back of the natural resources. The company built houses for their directors and managers in Hartford in a location upwind of the factories! The directors lived in The Crescent, senior managers in The Grange, and middle managers in Walnut Lane.

Lal Hilditch

Clarence George “Lal” Hilditch was an English footballer, and one of only two men to have been simultaneously a player and the manager at Manchester United (the other being Ryan Giggs).

A stalwart in the United team for over a decade, he played 322 league games, scoring 7 league goals before retiring in 1932.

Picture Lal Hilditch

Ann Todd

Born on 24 January 1907 in Hartford, Ann Todd appeared in many film productions during the 1930s and 1940s, including an Academy Award-nominated turn in ‘The Seventh Veil’, the Alfred Hitchcock-directed ‘The Paradine Case’ and ‘The Sound Barrier’, as well as ‘The Passionate Friends’. Todd also had starring roles in high-profile theatre productions, including ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘The Heiress’. 

Todd was also known for her work with underprivileged children and disadvantaged communities. In recognition of her charitable work, Todd was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1970. This remarkable actress passed away on 6 May 1993, in London, leaving behind an incredible legacy.

The Albemarle Bomber

Flying low over Hartford on 15 April 1944, an Albemarle bomber crashed into the wall at the end of the drive to Grange Farmhouse, tragically killing all but one of its five-man crew.

One of them, Hartford’s Sgt Aubrey Gerald Crowe, is remembered on the plaque unveiled by Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs and Gerry’s granddaughter, Christine Falland, at a Remembrance ceremony in 2015 (pictured). Councillor Phil Herbert has produced a book with more information. This can be read, by appointment, at Hartford Village Hall.

Picture of blue plaque unveiling