you know that Cleopatra's needle was towed from Egypt to its position
on the Thames Embankment? It came adrift in a storm with its crew
of five sailors who were rescued by the towing ship, leaving the
Needle to its fate. It was rescued by a Spanish ship and later resumed
its journey to London.
Knutsford's obelisk may not be quite as romantic but, stilll, it
has its own mysteries. No-one knows for sure when or why it was
As it is opposite Booth Hall it is thought to be connected with
the Legh family. One theory is that it was built with stones from
the old church, to commemorate the building of Booth Hall in 1745.
The new parish church was built in 1744.
About a third of the way up the column there is a small peep hole
through which Booth Hall and Toft Hall could be seen (it is blocked
up at present) so perhaps it marked an agreement, or boundary, between
It could even have been the grave of a racehorse.
I was intrigued to find it marked on the 1880 ordnance survey map
as "Obelisk to Ralph Leycester and his wife" but why is
it not nearer to Toft Hall?
The stone urn on the top is older than the column, so perhaps the
urn was brought from the old church. I was disappointed to find
that a document in John Rylands library listed as "Monument
to Ralph Leycester 1788" turned out to be for St Johns Church
- you can see an urn on the outside wall facing King Street, though
the plaque has disappeared.
Peter Legh, of Booth, who lived in the first half of the nineteenth
century, was interested in architecture and astronomy. He had a
seat put on the roadside for weary travellers who had climbed the
hill from Knutsford - perhaps it was by the obelisk?- inscribed
with the words:
"For public use at my expense
Honi soit qui mal y pense"
Any more theories about the Obelisk?