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About Congleton

CONGLETON

 

 

 

CongletonTownHall.jpg
Congleton Town Hall, completed 1866

 

 

 

 

Congleton is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the county of Cheshire in England. It lies on the banks of the River Dane, to the west of the Macclesfield Canal and 21 miles south of Manchester. The town has a population of 25,750.

 

 

 

 

 

History

 

The first settlements in the Congleton area were Neolithic. Stone Age and Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the town. Congleton was once thought to have been a Roman settlement, although there is no archaeological or documentary evidence to support this. Congleton became a market town after Vikings destroyed nearby Davenport.

Godwin, Earl of Wessex held the town during the Saxon period. The town is mentioned in the Domesday Book, where it is listed as Cogeltone: Bigot de Loges. William the Conqueror granted the whole of Cheshire to his nephew the Earl of Chester. In the 13th century, Congleton belonged to the de Lacyfamily.  Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln granted the town its first charter in 1272, enabling it to hold fairs and markets, elect a mayor and ale taster, have a merchant guild and behead known criminals.

In 1451, the River Dane flooded, destroying a number of buildings, the town's mill and wooden bridge. The river was diverted and the town rebuilt on higher ground.

During the Civil War, former mayor and lawyer, John Bradshaw, became president of the court which sent Charles I to his execution in 1649. His signature as Attorney General was the first on the king's death warrant. A plaque on Bradshaw House in Lawton Street commemorates him. Almost opposite the town hall, the White Lion public house bears a blue plaque, placed by the Congleton Civic Society, which reads: "The White Lion, built 16-17th century. Said to have housed the attorney's office where John Bradshaw, regicide, served his articles."

Congleton became notorious in the 1620s when bear-baiting, as well as cockfighting, were popular sports. The town was unable to attract large crowds to its bear-baiting contests and lacked the money to pay for a new, more aggressive bear. The town used money it had saved to buy a bible and it replenished the fund with the income from the increased number of spectators. It became legend that Congleton sold its bible to pay for a new bear. The chorus of 20th century folk song "Congleton Bear", by folk artist John Tams, runs:

Congleton Rare, Congleton Rare
Sold the Bible to buy a bear.

The legend earned Congleton the nickname 'Beartown'.


 







The Old Mill and the town corn mill photographed in 1902, the mill became unstable and Roldane Mill was built on the site in 1923. The mill was demolished in 2003, and sheltered housing is being built here.

King Edward I granted permission to build a mill. Congleton became an important centre of textile production, especially leather gloves and lace. Congleton had an early Silk throwing mill, the Old Mill built by John Clayton and Nathaniel Pattison in 1753. More mills followed, and cotton was also spun. The town's prosperity depended on tariffs imposed on imported silk. When tariffs were removed in the 1860s, the empty mills were converted to fustian cutting. A limited silk ribbon weaving industry survived into the 20th century, and woven labels were still produced in the 1990s. Many mills survive as industrial or residential units.

The town hall was designed, in the Gothic style, by Edward William Godwin. It was completed in 1866.

 





Geography


 

Brookside Mill, a textile mill that is being converted to residential units, on a brook leading to the River Dane in the centre of Congleton. Behind are trees on the steep northern bank.


 

The town of Congleton is broken up by the Congleton townspeople into seven main areas. These are Buglawton, otherwise known as "Bug Town"; the Bromley Farm estate, otherwise known as "Tin Town" due to the number of tin RSJs built there; Mossley, which is sometimes classed as the wealthier part of town; Hightown, which is located before Mossley between town and the train station; West Heath, which is a relatively new estate built in the early 1960s to the early 1980s; Lower Heath to the north of the town; and finally the town centre. In terms of physical geography, Congleton is located in a river valley (the River Dane). To the south of the town lies an expanse of green space known locally as Priesty Fields that forms a green corridor right into the heart of the town - a rare feature in English towns.







Religion


 

St Peter's Church, Congleton, from the southeast

 

The four Anglican churches in Congleton-St John's, St Stephen's, St Peter's and Holy Trinity-form a partnership in the Congleton Team Parish. Congleton Town Council lists eleven other places of worship in the town:

Historically Congleton has seen a wide range of Christian church denominations.

The Friends' Meeting House closed in 1741.

The Wesleyan Methodist Trinity Chapel, in Wagg Street, was founded in 1766 and was rebuilt in 1808 and again in 1967; the Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1821 on Lawton Street, and rebuilt in 1890 on Kinsey Street; the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion Methodist chapel was founded in 1822; the Congleton Edge Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in 1833 and rebuilt in 1889; the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Brook Street was built in 1834; the New Connexion Methodist Chapel in Queen Street was built in 1836 and closed in 1969; the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Biddulph Road was built in 1840; the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Rood Lane was founded in 1861 and rebuilt in 1886.

The Unitarian Chapel in Cross Street was founded in 1687 near the Dane Bridge and in 1733 moved to Cross Street, with the present building constructed in 1883 and closed in 1978. The United Reformed Church (Independent/Congregationalist) was built in 1790 on Mill Street, and then rebuilt in 1876 on Antrobus Street.






Education


 

Primary schools

High schools

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery

 

 






 Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congleton


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