Museum Recalls Battle

Over 600 people visited Nantwich Museum on Saturday 23 January during the recent Holly Holy Day commemoration of the seventeenth century Battle of Nantwich. As well as having the opportunity to view the permanent exhibitions they were able to enjoy town tours, a musketry demonstration by members of the Sealed Knot, a concert with dancing by period music group Forlorne Hope and various activities for children.

Forlorne Hope musicians. Photograph by Paul Topham.
Forlorne Hope musicians. Photograph by Paul Topham.

“A View to a Battle”, the latest exhibition in the Your Space Gallery, was also open and is now entering its final week closing on Saturday 6 February. It recalls the time of the Battle of Nantwich outlining what life in the town was like in the seventeenth century and through art with particular attention to various stained glass windows especially those from this locality. Visitors to the exhibition still have the opportunity to elect to be a Royalist or Parliamentarian.

Interest in the English Civil War does not end here and the museum’s Research Group is busy preparing for “Nantwich Besieged 1642-1646”, a major summer exhibition concerned with the local events of the Civil War and exploring further what life was like within the garrisoned town. The siege was ultimately lifted by the Battle of Nantwich. As usual the exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events beginning on Friday 29 July with a Talk & Walk centred on the site of the battle led by Julian Humphrys of the Battlefields Trust – booking details will be published on the website nearer the time.

Local History Book Launched at Nantwich Museum

A new local history book has been launched at Nantwich Museum. In 1883 the historian James Hall referred to the cholera outbreak in Nantwich: ” – – as the greatest crisis in the history of the town in modern times; for since the cholera visitation a spirit of improvement and progress have been infused into the inhabitants which cannot be traced in times prior to that event.” This was the premise for a new book “Cholera in Nineteenth Century Nantwich” by Keith Lawrence and Graham Dodd. The authors, who have donated the first print of the book to the museum, would like to see it as a memorial to that major event.

Left to right: Museum Chairman Nick Dyer, author Graham Dodd, Museum Manager Denise Courcoux and author Keith Lawrence. Photograph by Paul Topham.
Left to right: Museum Chairman Nick Dyer, author Graham Dodd, Museum Manager Denise Courcoux and author Keith Lawrence.
Photograph by Paul Topham.

The 118 page book details how the disease was understood at the time of the outbreak in 1849 and describes life in the town in the early nineteenth century. The epidemic came at a time of increasing concern for public hygiene in towns and increasing scepticism of the existing theories of disease. In Nantwich Rector Andrew Fuller Chater took the lead in dealing with the epidemic. In particular he petitioned for the establishment of a local Board of Health thus establishing the first representative local government in the town.

The book is on sale in the museum shop price £9.99 and is essential reading for those interested in nineteenth century history relating to the locality, the epidemiology of disease and Andrew Fuller Chater’s story.

Field trip to the Wych Brook Valley

Members of the museum’s Research Group recently visited the Wych Brook Valley, between Higher and Lower Wych, as part of their studies of the English Civil War.

On 28 August 1643 Parliamentary forces from Nantwich and Cholmondeley attacked and destroyed the salt workings in the valley, bringing the salt pans back to Nantwich. This denied the King’s forces in the area access to salt.

Evidence was found of two brine pits. One would have been pumped by a water wheel. The second pit was about 15′ in diameter and was overflowing into the brook (on right of picture). It may have been pumped with a horse gin.

The Research Group meets at the museum on most Friday mornings. New members are always welcome – please call in or contact the museum for further information.

Nantwich Museum research group members at Wych Brook Valley
Nantwich Museum Research Group members at Wych Brook Valley

Visit to Newark Civil War Centre

The National Civil War Centre at Newark was officially opened on 25 September by HRH The Earl of Wessex. Members of Nantwich Museum’s Research Group recently undertook a research trip to the centre to learn more about the war in that area, how the new museum was established, how the story has been presented and to develop links with the facility. Nantwich Museum is establishing a centre for recording and presenting the local story of the Civil War and its impact on the town and surrounding area, and is also preparing for its summer 2016 exhibition on this subject. Partnerships are being sought with interested parties and groups with a view to ensuring that this important chapter in the life of the town can be accurately portrayed. The visit to Newark also provided an opportunity to visit the Queen’s Sconce, one of the major fortifications constructed to defend the town during the Civil War.

Research Group members examine exhibits at Newark's National Civil War Centre
Research Group members examine exhibits at Newark’s National Civil War Centre

Research Group members survey the Queen's Sconce on the outskirts of Newark
Research Group members survey the Queen’s Sconce on the outskirts of Newark

Chinese TV Documentary

In August a film crew from China Movie Channel CCTV6 visited the museum to film sequences for use in a forthcoming World Film Report focussing on salt. Although the principal interest was in our key artefacts – the Roman paddle, salt pan and salt ship – the Director was also very interested in the local cheese industry, bearing in mind that Cheshire cheese should be made using Cheshire salt and that salt made in Nantwich was favoured for use in the dairy.

Nantwich Museum's Vice Chair, Graham Dodd, is interviewed for CCTV6
Nantwich Museum’s Vice Chair, Graham Dodd, is interviewed for CCTV6

Story Sacks

Former administrator Vicky Edwards, along with our very talented craft group have devised a collection of story sacks for our young visitors and their families to use.

What is a story sack?

A Story Sack is a large cloth bag containing a children’s book/nursery rhyme and various supporting materials, such as role play characters, puzzles, activity suggestions, etc.

The Nantwich Museum story sacks contain stories/rhymes that can be related to the history of Nantwich.

By using the book and supporting materials together you can help to stimulate language and create an enjoyable and memorable reading experience for you and your child, as well as developing your child’s understanding of the history of our wonderful town.

At the moment we have four sacks for you to enjoy:

  • London’s Burning
  • The Grand Old Duke of York
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • The Elves and the Shoemaker


One of our story sacks
One of our story sacks

Your Space

The Museum recently took the decision to rename our Community Gallery Your Space.

Your Space is for local people, community groups and organisations to display, promote and stage their own exhibitions.

We know that locally there is great talent and interesting stories to tell and we want to provide you with the space to do this.

Guidelines for exhibiting and a proposal form can be found below.

Exhibition Guidelines

Exhibition Proposal Form

Support for Museum Dementia Friendship Group

On Monday 6th July staff, volunteers and visitors attending the Museum’s Dementia Friendship Group were joined by Tim Ashcroft from Thanks for the Memory along with Gill Jones and Jackie Stubbs, representing the Kiltearn Medical Practice Patient Board. Tim Ashcroft recently organised a second Big Band Concert at Cranage Hall where music through the decades was played to encourage reminiscence. Money raised has been distributed between the Museum and the Alzheimer’s Society and we have received £450. Gill Jones and Jackie Stubbs organised a raffle as part of National Dementia Awareness Week and very kindly have donated over £100 to the group.

The Museum’s Dementia Friendship Group does not receive funding and so these generous donations will enable the group, which has been going from strength to strength, to continue to develop. We hope to bring in an artist to work with the group and to also purchase additional musical instruments as well as other resources to enhance our sessions.

The group is open to anyone in the community who is living with dementia, their partners, carers or friends to attend. The group which meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month is becoming increasingly popular so please ring on 01270 627104 if you would like to find out more.

Tim Ashcroft (Thanks for the Memories), Kate Dobson (Museum Manager), Jackie Stubbs & Gill Jones (Kiltearn Medical Practice).
Tim Ashcroft (Thanks for the Memories), Kate Dobson (Museum Manager), Jackie Stubbs & Gill Jones (Kiltearn Medical Practice).