Visit Congleton and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Congleton, Cheshire. At one time there was a minor Roman settlement at the crossing-point on the River Dane where the town now stands, but most signs of early habitation have been swept away in the waves of prosperity that followed, in 1035 it was part of the extensive possessions of Earl Godwin. Harold's father, and was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, by which date it had become one of the properties of the great Norman family of de Lacy. In 1272 Henry de Lacy procured a charter freeing Congleton from feudal tolls and conferring the right to hold fairs and a weekly market. During the 13th century, various trade guilds were formed. It was during this period that Congleton's long association with the production of leather gloves and laces began, After a calamitous flooding of the River Dane in the reign of Henry VI, the king gave permission for the course of the river to be diverted and in addition granted the town a royal mill. The latter events made for a long run of prosperity, lasting until the terrible plague epidemics of 1603 and 1641 wiped out almost the entire local population.
The most prominent citizen in the history of Congleton was the Cromwellian fanatic John Bradshaw, a native of Stockport, in his capacity as Mayor. Bradshaw later became High Steward, Lord Chancellor, and finally Lord President of the High Court when he was to be a key figure in the trial and execution of Charles I. The seals of office he used are kept with other relics of Congleton's past in the present Town Hall, a line Victorian building, in the Venetian Gothic style, conspicuous by its 110-ft clock tower. Also to be seen here are records of the appointment and activities of various town officers, with the intriguing titles of ale taster, swine catcher, and chimney looker. An interesting oddity is a leather belt, fitted with three bells called St Peter's chains, which was used to proclaim the chimney sweep's holiday in the days when most of this dangerous work was carried out by boys small enough to clamber up the inside of the stack. It was the custom for three priests or acolytes to dance with these belts on the Eve of St Peter's Day, a link with pagan times when it was believed that the ceremony would drive away evil spirits. Another item in the collection is one of the old branks, or scold's bridles, with a chain by which nagging wives could be attached to a wall in the market place.
St Peter's Church is a plain l8th-century structure, unremarkable except for its profusion of massive woodwork in the interior, which includes a Jacobean pulpit and a fine lectern decorated with four apostles and an angel. On one of the walls is a memorial to Sir Thomas Reade, who was a member of the Governor's entourage at St Helena when Napoleon was a captive there and in another connection became famous for having persuaded the Bey of Tunis to abolish slavery as long ago as 1849. Of the few half-timbered houses still standing in Congleton, three are inns: the curiously-fronted White Lion Hotel; the Swan and Lion, which dates from the 15th century; and the Bear's Head Hotel, named after the medieval sport of bear-baiting which flourished longer in Congleton than anywhere else in the country.
Nearby cities: Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent
Nearby towns: Crewe, Holmes Chapel, Kidsgrove, Leek, Macclesfield, Sandbach
Nearby villages: Alderley Edge, Allgreave, Allostock, Alsager, Arclid, Audley, Barthomley, Basford, Betchton, Betley, Biddulph, Bollington, Bosley, Bucknall, Burslem, Chatterley, Cheddleton, Crewe, Elworth, Endon, Ford Green, Hanley, Harecastle, Ipstones, Kerridge, Knutsford, Longport, Lower Peover, Meerbrook, Milton, Mow Cop, Ollerton, Over Peover, Plumley, Rainow, Rudyard, Rushton Spencer, Sandbach, Swettenham, Tabley, Upper Hulme, Warmingham, Weston, Wetleyrocks, Wincle, Wolstanton
Have you decided to visit Congleton or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Congleton bed and breakfast (a Congleton B&B or Congleton b and b)
- a Congleton guesthouse
- a Congleton hotel (or motel)
- a Congleton self-catering establishment, or
- other Congleton accommodation