6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Cheshire Life today click here

10 things you should know about Congleton

PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 August 2015 | UPDATED: 17:47 16 February 2016

Congleton Park and River Dane

Congleton Park and River Dane

Archant

Congleton has many charms and a dedicated community

Colourful history

The first settlements in the Congleton area date back to the Stone and Bronze ages. Artefacts have been discovered in the town. The town was once thought to have been a Roman settlement. It became a market town after Vikings destroyed nearby Davenport.

Beartown

According to legend, the residents of Congleton bought a fighting bear with the money that was initially earmarked to pay for a new bible for the town. Bear baiting was a popular spectator sport in the 1700’s and proved to be a profitable move.

Market town

A covered market, just off the pedestrian area, is held twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Once a month the Tuesday market is joined by a Farmers Market offering local produce. There is an artisan market held every second Sunday at

Community spirit

When it comes to mobilising Congleton’s sense of community, few can be as energetic as Patti Pinto – one of the lead volunteers behind the Britain in Bloom initiative and a driving force locally for the Eco Schools programme managed by the Keep Britain Tidy Group.

Her commitment has seen thousands of edible plants from herbs and blueberries planted in tubs and gardens around the town centre, the establishment of a community orchard at Astbury Mere, looked after by the Congleton Sustainability Group, and mini orchards planted in schools and at other venues. Patti’s Eco Schools initiative has also been remarkably fruitful.

Festivals and events

Congleton is home to many successful events including the Congleton Food and Drink Festival which takes place every June. It is organised by Congleton Community Projects, an organisation first established more than 20 years ago to ensure the town centre flourished. It still does that today.

Athletic history

Congleton’s sporting heritage is remarkable. In the run-up to London 2012 not only did the Olympic torch pass through the town but Congleton runners staged an historic relay from Much Wenlock in Shropshire which lays claim to founding the modern Olympics as ‘the Olympian Games’ in 1850. The town is also home to Ann Brightwell who, as Ann Packer, became Britain’s first female Olympic track gold medallist by winning the 800 metres at the Tokyo Games in 1964 (she also took silver in the 400m). She has lived in Congleton with her husband Robbie Brightwell, who captained Team GB in 1964 and won silver in the 4x400m relay, for more than 40 years.

Centre of Arts

Congleton is home to the Electric Picture House, a non-profit making artist-led co-operative creating a diverse range of work including painting, printmaking, glass, street art, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and fashion textile design. The building, in Cross Street, has had a chequered history to say the least. It was originally a textile mill and was then converted in to Congleton’s first electric picture theatre in 1911. It has since been an ambulance station, dance hall, bicycle shop and a garage.

Opera and arts

Clonter Opera Theatre nurtures new talent. The group was originally set up in 1974 when Jeffery Lockett, the artistic director, invited the Abbey Opera Group to bring an evening of operatic excerpts to his farm in Cheshire. A barn full of straw bales was converted for the night into an auditorium, and the proceeds went to Cancer Relief. Since then Clonter Opera has become a permanent fixture.

It provides training and performance opportunities for singers who are usually at the beginning of their professional careers. The group, despite the name, don’t just stage opera. They put on shows of every kind including jazz, musical theatre and gospel choirs.

Beauty spot

Astbury Mere Country Park is in a former sand quarry. The beautiful spot, just a few minutes from the town centre, has lots of open space with paths linking to the surrounding countryside. It is owned by Astbury Mere Trust and managed by Cheshire East Ranger Service.

Alan Garner, author of popular children’s fantasy novels including The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is known for his connections with Alderley Edge. But he was born in Congleton. His work is firmly rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of Cheshire.

Where to eat

Pecks Restaurant set below Mow Cop in the village of Moreton, near Congleton, has been popular with residents for almost 30 years. It’s not just a place to grab lunch or dinner, they also cater for weddings and events.

More from Out & About

Friday, June 15, 2018

Looking for somewhere new to explore this weekend? Why not follow Mike Smith to the unspoiled villages of the Dane Valley.

Read more
Peak District
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

One great plus point of this walk in the Wirral is that there are no nasty hills to climb.

Read more
Wirral
Monday, June 11, 2018

The Royal Cheshire Show is one of the best summer events in the North West and always draws a great crowd. This year, we’ll be there showcasing our fantastic range of motorhomes – come and meet us on Stand B5 Plot 15.

Read more
Monday, June 4, 2018

Run by cyclists .. for everyone

Read more
Monday, June 4, 2018

Community spirit and hard work create a transport day, an 11-day festival and a host of local groups in Lymm.

Read more
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, Cornwall to offer one lucky prize winner a luxury stay for two people

Read more
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cheshire Wildlife Trust supporters Sue and Tom Makin have created a wildlife friendly garden at Clemley House, near Tarporley. Sue explains their passion

Read more
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

There are few finer thing than exploring the countryside surrounding the many rivers situated across the county.

Read more
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Settle into a spacious seat, sit back in luxury and enjoy the ride before landing in the grounds of the stunning Goodwood estate - travel doesn’t get much better than that!

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


Local Business Directory

Cheshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search