Congleton Town Hall
Congleton shown within Cheshire
Population 26,437 (2010) OS grid reference Parish Congleton Unitary authority Cheshire East Ceremonial county Cheshire Region North West Country England Sovereign state United Kingdom Post town CONGLETON Postcode district CW12 Dialling code 01260 Police Cheshire Fire Cheshire Ambulance North West EU Parliament North West England UK Parliament Congleton List of places: UK • England • Cheshire
Congleton (Old English: Yongleton) is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England, on the banks of the River Dane, to the west of the Macclesfield Canal and 21 miles south of Manchester. It has a population of 25,750.
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 the local 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 Lacy family. 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 away from the town, and the town centre was rebuilt on higher ground.
During the Civil War, former Congleton mayor and lawyer, John Bradshaw, became president of the court which sent Charles I to be beheaded in 1649. His signature as Attorney General was the first on the king's death warrant. There is a plaque commemorating him on Bradshaw House in Lawton Street.
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 new 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
- They sold the Bible to buy a bear.
This legend earned Congleton the nickname 'Beartown'.
King Edward I granted permission to build a mill. Congleton became an important centre of textile production, especially lace and leather gloves and lace. Congleton had an early Silk throwing mill, the Old Mill built by John Clayton and Nathaniel Pattison in 1753.
The neighbouring village of Buglawton was incorporated into Congleton borough in 1936. From 1974 to 2009, Congleton borough covered much of south-east Cheshire. Following the abolition of Cheshire County Council on 1 April 2009, Congleton is now administered by the unitary authority of Cheshire East. The town has an elected Town Council  which was established in 1980. The town is split into two wards with 20 councillors elected every 4 years.
Congleton's main landmark, a high outcrop of rocks known as The Cloud, overlooks the Cheshire Plain. The Cloud Project in Congleton is a daily photographic record of The Cloud over a period of one year and also of Cloudside, Dane in Shaw, The Macclesfield Canal and surrounding areas. The Cloud is also the setting for the climax of the supernatural novel A Haunted Man by Stuart Neild, where the novel's hero, ghosthunter Boag-Munroe, is involved in a fight to the death.
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 posher part of town, Hightown, which is located before Mosley between town and the train station. West Heath which is a relatively new estate built in the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Lower Heath to the north of the town, and finally the town centre.
The principal industries in Congleton include the manufacture of airbags and golf-balls. There are light engineering factories near the town, and sand extraction occurs on the Cheshire Plain, although much of the town is now a dormitory for Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent.
Congleton Market operates every Tuesday and Saturday from the Bridestones Centre. There are 11 indoor stalls and 84 outdoor stalls.
Culture and sport
Congleton Museum is on Market Square in the centre of town. It was established in 2002 and is dedicated to Congleton's industrial history, and contains an ancient log boat and gold and silver coin hoards. Congleton Tourist Information Centre is on the town's High Street.
The independently-run 300 seat Daneside Theatre is on Park Road in the town. The 400-seat Clonter Opera Theatre is based in the village of Swettenham Heath, 5 miles north of Congleton.
Congleton is home to a local football team, Congleton Town F.C., known as the Bears, who play in the North West Counties League. Their ground is at Booth Street. There are also two cricket clubs, Congleton CC and Mossley CC. There are two golf clubs in the town; the historic Congleton Golf Club which is an undulating 9 hole course with views over the Cloud End, and the 18 hole parkland course at Astbury.
Congleton Park is located along the banks of the River Dane just north east of the town centre. Town Wood on the northern edge of the park is a Grade A Site of Biological Interest and contains many nationally important plants. Congleton paddling pool was built in the 1930s and is open in the summer months. Astbury Mere Country Park lies just to the south west of the town centre, on the site of a former sand quarry. The lake is used for fishing and sailing and despite its name, is actually in the West Heath area of Congleton, with the boundary between Congleton and Newbold Astbury parishes lying further to the south.
There are several weekly local newspapers: the paid-for Congleton Chronicle and free-sheet the Advertiser, which is produced by the nearest daily newspaper, The Sentinel, based in Stoke-on-Trent, and which covers the town. Local radio is broadcast from nearby Macclesfield-based Silk FM, Signal 1 and Signal 2 from Stoke-on-Trent and BBC Radio Stoke, as well as Moorlands Radio in Leek and Canalside Community Radio in Macclesfield, both community radio stations.
Transport and infrastructure
Congleton is seven miles east of the M6 motorway, connected by the A534. It is on the A34 trunk road between Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester, and the A54 to Buxton and the Peak District. The A536 links the town with Macclesfield, with the A527 linking the town to Biddulph and providing an alternative route to Stoke-on-Trent.
Congleton railway station opened on 9 October 1848. It lies on the Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent branch of the West Coast Main Line. It was revealed in The Sentinel newspaper on 7 September 2011 that the ticket office could be closed as part of Government budget cuts.
The Macclesfield Canal passes through the town. It was completed in 1831. It runs 26 miles (42 km) from Marple Junction at Marple, where it joins the Upper Peak Forest Canal, southwards (through Bollington and Macclesfield), before arriving at Bosley. The canal is renowned for its elegant roving bridges, locally known as Snake Bridges.
The nearest airport to the town is Manchester Airport, 20 miles away.
Policing in Congleton is provided by Cheshire Constabulary. The main police station is on Market Square.
Congleton has a small hospital Congleton War Memorial Hospital which was built by public subscription in 1924. The town is also served by Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Macclesfield District General Hospital and the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent.
- Emma Bossons, ceramic artist
- Ian Brightwell, former Manchester City footballer and England U-21 international
- George Harold Eardley VC MM, received the Victoria Cross in 1944 
- Mark Edwardson, TV presenter, BBC North West
- Alan Garner, writer
- Dawn Gibbins, entrepreneur
- Brian Jensen, Burnley footballer
- Laura Newton, cricketer
- Ann Packer and Robbie Brightwell, husband-and-wife Olympic gold medalists
- Daniel Sturridge, Chelsea footballer and England U-21 international
- John Whitehurst, clockmaker and scientist
- Ann Winterton, politician
- Astbury St Mary's C of E School
- Black Firs Primary School
- Buglawton Primary School
- Daven Primary School
- Havannah Primary School
- Marlfields Primary School
- Mossley C of E Primary School
- Smallwood CE Primary School
- St Mary's Catholic Primary School
- The Quinta Primary School
- ^ Office for National Statistics : Parish Headcounts : Congleton Retrieved 2009-11-29
- ^ a b c d e f g "Congleton Museum website". http://www.congletonmuseum.co.uk/9.html. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- ^ "The Domesday Book Online". http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/cheshire1.html. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- ^ "Congleton Bear Lyrics". http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.thorp/lyrcongl.htm. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
- ^ "John Tams information". http://homepage.ntlworld.com/paul.thorp/index.html. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
- ^ Callandine, Anthony (1993). "Lombe's Mill: An Exercise in reconstruction". Industrial Archaeology Review (Maney Publishing) XVI (1). ISSN 0309-0728.
- ^ "Town Council". http://www.congleton-tc.gov.uk/about-us. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- ^ "The Cloud: Congleton and Cheshire Landmarks". The Cloud Project and Photographic Portfolio. http://www.nineandten.co.uk/. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
- ^ "Sentinel newspaper article". http://www.thisisthesentinel.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?NodeId=158315&command=displayContent&sourceNode=231463&home=yes&more_nodeId1=158324&contentPK=17792368&page=4#views/Sentinel. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
- ^ "Congleton Museum website". http://www.congletonmuseum.co.uk/.
- ^ "Welcome to South East Cheshire website". http://www.welcometocongleton.com/site/what-to-do/congleton-park-p39371.
- ^ Alsager.com - Astbury Mere Country Park
- ^ Cheshire East Council - Astbury Mere Country Park
- ^ [http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/End-line-railway-station-ticket-offices/story-13282296-detail/story.html
- ^ George Harold Eardley
- Head, R. (1887). Congleton Past and Present..
- Congleton Town Council website
- Welcome to Congleton — dedicated tourism website for the Congleton area.
- Congleton website — Congleton's history and Congleton of the present day
- Congleton Tug of War Club — National & World Tug of War Champions
- Congleton Museum — local history museum and education resource
- Pubs in Congleton — listings and pictures of all pubs in Congleton
- Congleton water tower TV transmitter station at www.the-moores.co.uk
- Congleton Town FC — the latest news, updated regularly, on Congleton Town FC.
- Discovercheshire website (Astbury Mere Country Park page) - interactive maps featuring full details of walking, cycling, riding and canoeing routes across Cheshire, as well as information on country parks - with downloadable directions
- Accessible Walk around Astbury Mere Country Park (Discovercheshire site)
- Little Moreton Hall Circular Walk (Discovercheshire site)
- Congleton Fly Tying Club
Ceremonial county of Cheshire Unitary authorities Major settlements Rivers Topics
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