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St Mary’s Church “The Cathedral of South Cheshire”
The Church is in the centre of the town and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. It has been called the “Cathedral of South Cheshire” and it is considered by some to be one of the finest medieval churches, not only in Cheshire, but in the whole of England.
The building dates from the 14th century, although a number of changes have since been made, particularly a substantial 19th-century restoration by Sir George Gilbert Scott.
The church and its octagonal tower are built in red sandstone.
Features of the church’s interior include the lierne-vaulted ceiling of the choir, the carved stone canopies of the sedilia in the chancel, and the intricately carved wooden canopies over the choir stalls together with the 20 misericords at the back of the stalls.
The church is an active Anglican Parish Church in the diocese of Chester, the archdeaconry of Macclesfield and the deanery of Nantwich.
The fascinating history of the town is brought to life by Nantwich Museum, founded in January 1980. (The building was formerly Nantwich Public Library which stood on the site of a gaol).
Located in Pillory Street, at the heart of the town, the museum has main galleries telling the story of Nantwich through the ages – Roman salt making, Tudor Nantwich’s Great Fire, the Civil War Battle of Nantwich (1644) and the more recent shoe and clothing industries.
Beyond the galleries lie extensions. The first contains the cheese-making exhibition, dedicated to demonstrating how the county’s famous cheese has traditionally been made and sold around the floral market town of Nantwich.
Above it is the Joseph Heler meeting room, which also houses our collection of maps.
Next to these is the Community Gallery, where small exhibitions are staged, followed by the magnificent, prize-winning, Millennium Gallery, which provides the perfect home for a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions.
The outdoor pool first opened to the public on 1st July 1935 and the poolwater temperature is now maintained at 74 degrees F and through solar gain is usully much warmer.
There is also an indoor pool open all year round.
Cheshire East is currently investing in major scheme of refurbishment.
The Old Biot
The “Wych Houses” or Walling Lands where salt was produced from brine once stood in an area near to Town Bridge.
The brine was channelled from a brine spring to the Wych Houses for evaporation in large lead pans.
Salt production peaked in the late 16th century when there were 216 Wych Houses.
The brine spring or “Old Biot” is near the Welsh Row Bridge on Waterlode.
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A plinth on Waterlode summarises the events of December 1583 close to the point where the fire is believed to have started.
Churche’s Mansion is a timber-framed, black-and-white Elizabethan mansion house at the eastern end of Hospital Street. The Grade I listed building dates from 1577, and is one of the very few to have survived the Great Fire in 1583.
The Queen’s Aid House, or 41 High Street, is a Grade II listed timber-framed, black-and-white Elizabethan merchant’s house. It is located on the High Street opposite the junction with Castle Street. Built shortly after the fire of 1583 by Thomas Cleese, a local craftsman, it has three storeys with attics, and features ornamental panelling, overhangs or jetties at each storey, and a 19th-century oriel window. The building is best known for its contemporary inscription commemorating Elizabeth I’s aid in rebuilding the town, which gives the building its name.
The High Street was the home of the wealthiest townspeople in the 1580s, and the houses dating from the rebuilding form the finest examples of post-fire architecture in the town.
The modern High Street still contains many other good examples of Elizabethan timber-framed buildings, all of which date from after the fire including the Grade II* listed number 46, which stands opposite the Queen’s Aid House, now Nantwich Bookshop and the Grade I listed Crown Hotel.
Holly Holy Day is held in the town centre and on Mill Island in Nantwich
The Battle of Nantwich was fought during the First English Civil War, between the Parliamentarians and Royalists, northwest of the town on 25 January 1644.
The Royalists under Lord John Byron were besieging Nantwich, and Sir Thomas Fairfax led an army to relieve the town. As Fairfax approached, a sudden thaw caused the River Weaver to rise in spate, dividing Byron’s cavalry from his infantry and artillery, who were overrun and destroyed by Fairfax.
The Parliamentarian victory halted a run of Royalist successes in the area, and was a major setback to King Charles I’s plan of campaign for the year.
The battle is re-enacted each year by the Sealed Knot on Holly Holy Day.
The Millennium Clock stands in the Cocoa Yard near to the museum.
It was made to celebrate the Millennium in Nantwich by clockmaker Paul Beckett of Caernarfon, and is now on show in a glass case in front of a 19th century burner – all that remains of a coach manufactory.
Its modern design includes three dials – one each for the hours, minutes and seconds. Artwork on the case helps in telling the time.
There has been a market in Nantwich since 1500.
The present building, at the junction of Market Street and Churchyardside, dates from 1867.
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Located in front of St Mary’s Church on the Square the memorial records the names of those who lost their lives in the two world wars.
This site is cared for by the Nantwich branch of the Cheshire Regiment Association on behalf of a grateful town in memory of a brave American airman who lost his life on 14 January 1944 as he struggled to bring his stricken Thunderbolt plane down away from Nantwich and so avoided causing many deaths. The brave pilot was 1st Lieutenant Arthur L. Brown, a 23-year-old New York man, a member of the United States Army Air Force.
A circular 5km / 3 mile way-marked walk from Nantwich town centre exploring the banks of the River Weaver and the Shropshire Union Canal. Follow the link for the route.
Follow the clock dials located in the pavements for this historical walk of the town centre developed by Nantwich Civic Society.
The walk starts on the footpath near to the west end of St Mary’s Church and ends back at the Church.
Pick up a leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre or Church shop.