The Saint from Congleton: St. Margaret Ward was a Catholic born in Congleton in the 16th century. During the reign of the Protestant Elizabeth I, St. Margaret smuggled rope into a prison to help the Catholic priest William Watson escape. The priest escaped but St. Margaret was captured. Despite being tortured, she refused to disclose the location of the priest or renounce her faith. St. Margaret was hanged at Tyburn on 30th August 1588. She was canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25th October 1970, as one of the ‘Forty Martyrs of England and Wales’. Sadly, the only image of St. Margaret is the one below.
On this day in 1637 John Bradshaw was elected Mayor of Congleton.
Today in Congleton history: While walking up Moody Street on 13th September 1956, the then editor of the Congleton Chronicle met Mr Aaron Machin, who had been working on one of the black and white cottages. He was shown a handful of what at first looked like brass counters. This was the discovery of the first Congleton Coin Hoard. These Civil War era gold coins are now on display at Congleton Museum. Please pop in if you’d like to see them!
Hi, my name is Tom and I’ve been volunteering at Congleton Museum for the past fortnight to gain some experience before I start my Masters degree in Public History this September. During my time at the museum, I have learnt a lot about how museums operate through the tasks I have been assigned, such as recording newly acquired items and updating the collections database. I have also benefited from conversations with the museum chair and collections manager, Ian Doughty and the education officer, Jean Westbrook. Furthermore, the staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the museum.
Did you know a man from Congleton was once Titular Head of State? Lord President John Bradshaw, famous being the presiding judge over the court that Killed Charles I, was elected the ‘President of the Council of State’ on 12 March 1649. He remained President until Cromwell dissolved the Long Parliament on the 30th April 1653, when Cromwell assumed the title of ‘Lord Protector’. Bradshaw was later found guilty regicide and despite dying in 1659, was posthumously executed by being hung drawn and quartered on the 30th January 1661. The museum is proud to have exhibits about Bradshaw and the civil war. We are located near the Congleton home and offices of Bradshaw, which is now the White Lion pub.
A night to remember! On 3rd June 1953, the Mayor Mr Hancock held a Ball to celebrate the Coronation of Elizabeth II. Tickets cost 10 shillings and 6 pence, with the £50 raised being donated to the ‘Entertainment of the Old, Blind, Deaf and Dumb and Disabled People of the Town’. A great night for a great cause!
Size doesn’t matter! In 1311 the population of Congleton only totalled 400 people. There were 80 acres of arable land and less than 100 people rented property (burgesses). We know this information thanks to an inquisition of Henry de Lacy’s estate following his death. Our current population is 25,750.
We would like to welcome back museum volunteer Jamie Campbell! For the last two weeks Jamie was enjoying a family holiday in Corfu. He particularly enjoyed seeing Corfu town’s Early Modern buildings and the islands, two Byzantine forts and the late Georgian palace. Jamie is now back working on a short history of Congleton’s Charters and researching the town’s role in the English Civil War.
A very nice visitor from Manchester over the weekend said our museum is ‘a great snapshot into the history of Congleton’.