Salt production has for many years been a major activity in Nantwich.
We know the Romans visited the area, a Roman Road has been excavated North of Nantwich at Reaseheath. Salt was important to preserve food, in fact our word salary comes from the Latin salarium, originally denoting a Roman soldier’s allowance to buy salt. Archaeological finds in the town have included a Roman cremation urn, a wooden plank tank (possibly used in salt production), and shards of Roman pottery – which suggests that there may have been a Roman Salt Works on the West of the Weaver.
The Saxon word for an industrial settlement, often based on the availability of salt, was ‘Wich’. The ‘Nant’ in ‘Nantwich’ is probably derived from the Old English ‘Namet’ (the most famous) or the Welsh ‘Nant’ (place in a river valley). We think the Saxons exported saly by packhorse to North Wales, Derbyshire and the North.
We have a gallery showing the history of salt making in Nantwich.
Also in the museum we have a 700-year-old oak tree which was an ancient salt ship. Click here for more information.