Sandbach is filled with history and possesses a proud community
PUBLISHED: 00:16 21 November 2011 | UPDATED: 11:31 03 August 2020
This lively market town is filled with history and possesses a proud community<br/>WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
For some people, Sandbach means no more than the services on the M6 motorway. But for the lucky people who have already discovered it, they know there is much more to this pretty market town.
Just a quick glance around Sandbach reveals it is a place that oozes history. There are the famous Saxon crosses, believed to be completed in the ninth century, as well as the market that has taken place in the town for several centuries. Its charter was first granted by Queen Elizabeth I to Sir John Radclyffe of Sandbach Old Hall in 1579. He was given the right to hold a market every Thursday and two fairs each year.
Around every corner are beautiful, old buildings including several by Sir George Gilbert Scott. The leading Victorian architect, responsible for the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, built the Literary Institution and Sandbach School as well as doing restoration work in the town.
Local historian Malcolm Thurston said: ‘There is reference to Sandbach all the way back to the Domesday Book. There is a lot to be proud of in the town. There is so much history here and so much to discover. For instance, that of the Radclyffe family of Sandbach Old Hall, which has been wonderfully restored and renovated.
‘One of the members of the family, Sir William Radcliffe, died in 1568. Although his corpse was buried at the Collegiate College in Manchester, his heart was buried in an urn in St Mary’s Church, located in the centre of the old town. That certainly shows passion and pride for the area.’
The town is also the host of many successful and well-established events including the Sandbach Carnival and Sandbach Transport Festival held every April. Next year’s festival will be the 21st anniversary of this popular event, where vehicles from throughout the ages can be seen parading through Sandbach.
The community turns out in droves to support this and many local events. In fact, it is the people who lie at the heart of the picture postcard town and make it such a success. For this is a thriving active place full of things to do - there are many groups, clubs and societies to get involved with.
One of the town’s most famous exports is Foden’s Band. The brass ensemble was formed more than a century ago for the workforce at the town’s motor companies, Foden and ERF. Production may have moved elsewhere now but the band remains and is now one of the world’s best.
Over the years its members have won every prize you can think of including winning several times at the prestigious British Open Championships and the National Championships of Great Britain. The band, which in 1993 became the first British band to win the Swiss Open Championships, has also played for royalty and toured all over the world doing concerts. But they will play closer to home next month with a concert at Sandbach Boys School on December 11th.
It seems also that even in the face of adversity there is little that can dampen the spirits of the people in Sandbach.
Whenever it rains, water leaks down the walls of the historic 17th century St Mary’s Church in High Street. The Reverend Thomas Shepherd often finds himself surrounded by buckets in an effort to catch the water and books and cushions have to be covered up or else they are saturated. Now, he has launched a fundraising campaign to get the roof repaired.
The leak has been caused by the poor condition of the roof which has been covered with felt since the original lead lining was removed more than 40 years ago. It is not yet know how much money will be needed as surveys need to be carried out.
The campaign has been launched following the completion of repairs to the chancel roof three years ago and more recent repairs to the church tower, which cost more than £100,000.
Where is it? Sandbach is located towards the southern end of our borders between Congleton and Crewe. Type CW11 1AP in your sat nav to get you there
Where can I park? There are plenty of car parks in the town, including Brookhouse Road, Chapel Street, Hawk Street and Scotch Common. What’s more - they are free.
Are there refreshments? Yes, there are plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants around the town serving food from around the world.