17th century gold Mourning ring

In June, Ian Doughty travelled to the British Museum for Middlewich Town Council to collect a 17th century Gold Mourning Ring.  As the only accredited museum in central East Cheshire, Congleton Museum was in a unique position to support Middlewich in ensuring that the ring stayed in the area. This ended a year long wait for this beautiful ring to make its way home.


Its delicate and highly intricate decoration and inscription are as clear as the day it was engraved. If the date of manufacture is around 1658-1669 (as is thought), among many possible candidates for the ring’s owner are Frances and Katherine Venables, widows of the last two Baron Venables of Kinderton. A history is being compiled to unravel the story behind the ring.
Working in partnership with Middlewich Town Council, Congleton Museum will display this lovely find at a date to be announced later this year.

Congleton Heritage booklet

Learn about your town’s history and take a self-guided tour of local places of interest with the museum’s new booklet, Congleton Heritage. Featuring a town centre map, the tour features 15 landmarks including The White Lion, the Town Hall, Bradshaw House, the Congleton Bath House, St. Peter’s Church, the Moody Street Cottages and the Little Street Shops – as well as the museum, of course! The booklet is on sale at the museum for £1.50.

Congletons Heritage Booklet

Charter Passport

Did you know that Elizabeth I granted Congleton’s inhabitants freedom from tolls in 1585? This confirmed a right granted to Congleton by Henry de Lacy in 1272.

LicenceThe small charter allowed people from Congleton to avoid paying for toll roads, tolls for passing through city walls & tolls for crossing bridges throughout the realm. People from Congleton would get small ‘passports’ signed by the sheriff to demonstrate this freedom to toll collectors. Sadly, Congletonians no longer have this right and they now the have to pay like everyone else.

The History of Religion in Congleton

Peter Aston, museum trustee and chairman of Congleton History Society,
will give a talk on Friday 13 September at 7.30 pm at the museum. He will
conduct a pictorial tour of churches in Congleton, explaining their
individual histories and the influences (both local and national) that affected
their development.

The town has a rich and complex religious history. Initially, Astbury
was the mother church but as Congleton itself grew in importance, St
Peter’s tried to assert its religious dominance.

Methodism became popular in the area in the mid 18th century and, of
course, Primitive Methodism originated in a famous meeting at Mow Cop.

For more fascinating information, come to the talk.

If you have an interesting old bible, perhaps with a family history,
please bring it to show us.

Tickets £2.00 (free for Friends of the Museum). As space is limited,
pre-booking is recommended. Please contact the museum to book on 01260

Congleton Love Poem

One of our volunteers, Jamie Campbell, has just discovered the love poem pictured

Congleton Love Poembelow in our archives. The author is unknown, however based on the style of handwriting and exaggerated sentimentality, it’s thought to date from c.1800-1900.(Note, there is a collection of similar poems called ‘The Congleton Alphabet’). It reads in part…

For ladies fair, tis true Lancashire’s fam’d ,
But Fame Asserts sometimes ought be flam’d:
Congleton’s self the Privilege can boast
Whose every Lady claims a favourite Toast,
Miss N—y W—d an Object of our Praise,
And far too much t’attempt in Humble Lays;
Celestial Shape! In Beauty she may vie,
With Greece’s Hellen, seated now on high!

A Wartime Love Story

A local wartime love story! Valerie and Theo from Veendam in the Netherlands visited the museum on Saturday. They left a message in our visitor’s book saying that Valerie’s Dutch father met her English mother in Congleton in 1940. (Presumably her father was in the Prinses Irene Brigade, which was billeted in the empty town mills at the time.)

Town Oaths book

Hi, my name is Becksy. I am a student at Sandbach High School and I have been volunteering at Congleton Museum for just under a month. With my love of history, it has been very interesting to learn in depth about local history and particularly the history of Congleton … something which isn’t taught in schools!

Whilst at the museum, I have been working with Ian (museum chair), looking at a book of Town Oaths which date back to 1841 (see image below). My project involves transcribing the original Oath documents into a computer to ensure that the documents are more accessible to volunteers and visitors alike. At first it was quite difficult trying to understand both the traditional language and handwriting, but after a few pages, the words began to become familiar. It has been great to have the opportunity to handle and gain some experience of using primary sources.

My first month at the museum has been great! Excuse the cliché – but here you really do learn something every visit!

Oath Book

Staffordshire Hoard

On 6th June the museum hosted a talk on the Staffordshire Hoard. Museum volunteer Dorothy Robinson attended the talk, and she has submitted this report. We hope that everyone enjoyed the evening as much as Dorothy!

“The recent talk organised by the museum was so popular that it had to be moved to the Meeting Room of the library. It was to an audience of over 60 people that Mr. Stephen Dean, the Staffordshire County Archaeologist gave a most inspiring and informative talk on the Staffordshire Hoard. He was very enthusiastic and interesting on the significance of this find of medieval artefacts. The slides he showed, together with his descriptions of the objects will have inspired many members of the audience to visit the Stoke-on-Trent Museum to see the articles for themselves.”