Nantwich History

Manchester and Liverpool District Bank NantwichShrewbridge Road railway crossing in Nantwich, CheshireTownsend Brewery, NantwichMr Walsh’s Perdita, with jockey up, on Nantwich Racecourse


Nantwich is rich in history.  A Roman road passes north of Nantwich through Reaseheath. Nantwich is mentioned in the Domesday book in 1086.

The 12th  century Nantwich castle no longer exists, but the cathedral of South Cheshire – St Marys church (which was started in the 14th century) is still here.

In 1583 the great fire of Nantwich caused a substantial rebuilding of the town.

Useful Links

Acton Church – the history of a lovely old church.

Alvaston Hall Hotel – why there’s such a jumble of architectural styles, ghosts and a disaster that was kept secret.

Apprenticeships in Nantwich  in 1423 –  with some interesting rules about taverns and adultery!

Cholera in Nantwich – a story of terrible sanitation and were some people buried alive!

The Cheshire College of Agriculture – A late 20th century prospectus.

The Cheshire Hunt – a fascinating illustrated old book written by a local man.

Churches Mansion – written by my son over 20 years ago.

James Hall – there’s more to James Hall than just a street!

Making farmhouse Cheshire cheese – a lot has been made in this area.

Nantwich Banks –  Nantwich had its own currency and banks going bankrupt!

Nantwich Fair – Nantwich had its own fair and have you heard this tune?

Nantwich Museum – A lovely museum, which is the home of the town’s history.

Nantwich Pubs – you’ll be amazed how many there were!

Nantwich Racecourse – did you know Nantwich had its own racecourse?

Nantwich Railways – why trains went to Crewe instead of Nantwich!

The Brine Baths Hotel – a palatial residence and spa.

The End of the Big Trout – this 1914 obituary is a bit fishy!

The history of Reaseheath College – Andrew Lamberton’s wonderful history of the college and the area.

The Rookery – an interesting neighbour to Churches Mansion.

The Pankhurst family in Cheshire – How Emily’s husband was connected with South Cheshire.

The Temperance Movement in Nantwich.

The Terrible Leap – a tragic accident at Worleston.

The Worleston Dairy Institute – the UK’s first ever college of dairying.

The Roman Road at Reaseheath – photos of an archaeological dig.

What is a Dabber? – more about the name given to people from Nantwich.

Willaston School – this building, off London Road, has been a small public school for Unitarian families and a Roman Catholic approved school amongst other things!

Other useful links

A Dabber’s Nantwich – a wonderful site written by John Brough.

Britain From Above – old aerial photos.

Cheshire Directories – a collection of directories for Cheshire from 1789 to 1910.

Listed Buildings in Nantwich – did you know Nantwich has 132 listed buildings and structures.

Maps of Nantwich – old and new maps of Nantwich and Cheshire.

Nantwich Mill – a history of the mill which was destroyed by fire in 1970.

Nantwich shoemakers’ strike – how they settled dispute in 1872.

Nantwich Web’s history of Nantwich – another great site for local history with information provided by Allan Whatley. Sadly Nantwich Web has now gone – so the link takes you to an archived copy.

Nantwich Workhouse – which later became the Barony Hospital.

Shoe making in Nantwich – once an important industry.

St Marys Church – the history of the “Cathedral of South Cheshire”.

A lovely poem

Starting with the salt and brine,
discovered back in Roman times.
This set the scene and from then on,
the town of Wyche Malbank was born.

St. Mary`s Church stood tall and dark,
Elizabethans made their mark,
Cromwell tried to overthrow,
but reached no farther than Welsh Row.

Against the battles, fire and flood,
the citizens of Nantwich stood,
their legacy remains today,
along the river Weaver way.

We thank our forebears for their thought,
the gift their graft and time has wrought.
A pleasure that is always there,
a treasure for us all to share.

Thanks to Joan Crawford for allowing me to reprint the above poem from Odd Odes, Weird Words & Loopy Letters:

which nicely sums up the main bits of the history of Nantwich.

Bill Pearson’s Home Page

8 thoughts on “Nantwich History”

  1. I wonder if you have any information about GF and A Brown, Brewers of Nantwich. The reason I ask is that my great, grandmother was the daughter of one of the Brown Brothers. As my grandfather and mother have passed away, I have no one to ask questions. My great grandmother married a Mr Davies (my great grandfather) against her parents wishes. I believe he worked as a coachman for the family. They disowned her which to me is very sad. Unfortunately I have no information about her name or date of birth. I have visited Nantwich Museum but found nothing only a photo of the premises of the Brewery. I have managed to collect a few beer bottles with the name of the firm on them. I would dearly love to know where they lived or any information of any relatives of my age. I am now 74 years old and time is running out for me to gain information. Anything you can furnish me with would be so appreciated.
    Respectfully yours,
    A. Shareen Johnson (nee Evans)

    1. There was a called Brown’s Vaults, which was first called the Swan and was at 47 High Street. It later became the Falcon, then the Spirit Vaults, then the Falcon Vaults and finally became Brown’s Vaults.

      I was aware that it was a Wine Merchant (I’ve emailed you a photo showing this).

      The Nantwich Tavern Survey (in 1960) describes Brown’s Vaults as a long room, semi split with partitions radial to the corners of the half oval bar. The decoration was cream painted – First World War type. The light ale had been on the shelf too long and lacked effervescence. The average age of the locals (both sexes) was 60, with men wearing cloth caps. The atmosphere in this pub was “real Dabber-Ville” and the verdict was – not a good place for the under 50s.

      I’ll be in touch after I’ve done more research.

      I will email you a picture of Brown’s Vaults, and would be delighted to see anything that you have.

    2. Just came across your question a couple of years after you posted it I’m afraid. But the information I have for what it’s worth, is that Brown’s of the Nantwich wine sellers family, lived at Brookbank House, on the Newcastle Rd Nantwich. A large house with outbuildings and coach house etc which have been barn converted into living accommodation.
      There are graves of the same Brown family in Nantwich Cemetery on the Middlewich Road.
      You may of course know this already.
      Regards, Nick

  2. Hi wondered if u cud help regarding a pub please.My other half is born and bread here (stefan smith) he says that his mam and dad (hilda and albert)first met in a pub opposite where the Leppard is now.Just wondered what the name was wud of been late 40s early 50s.thanks

    1. That would be the Bull’s Head. The Nantwich Tavern Survey, in 1959, described the pub as a “rather pleasant place”, but observed that the room with the bar was “rather small with a tiled floor and two small tables”. The clientele were described as “fairly well dressed farming types”.

      You can see a bit of the pub on the left hand side of the first picture on my page about the Leopard:
      There will be a nice picture of the landlord (J Bayes), pulling a pint in the 50’s, in the book.

  3. I have been trying to find the origins behind Pepper Street and wondered if you know why it is so called? David Sankey (True Dabber)

    1. I think it used to be called Rat Row! I’m not sure why it’s called Pepper Street – possibly someone sold pepper there (pepper goes well with salt)! James Hall tells us:
      Pepper Street, a name of doubtful etymology, is also found at Chester, Middlewich, and in other places in the County. These three street names are mentioned in the Inquisitions post mortem of Thomas Minshull, and Sir Hugh Cholmondeley, Knight, dated 1604 and 1605.

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