Template:GBdot Nantwich is a market town in south Cheshire, England, in the Borough and parliamentary constituency of Crewe and Nantwich. In 2001 Nantwich had a population of 12,515.

The origins of the settlement date to Roman times when salt from Nantwich was used by the Roman garrisons at Chester and Stoke-on-Trent as both a preservative and a condiment. Salt has been used in the production of Cheshire cheese and in the tanning industry, both industries being products of the dairy industry based on the Cheshire plain around the town.

In the Domesday Book, Nantwich is recorded as having eight salt houses. It had a castle and was the capital of a barony of the earls of Chester, and of a hundred (one of the seven sub-divisions of medieval Cheshire). The salt industry peaked in the late sixteenth century when there were 216 salt houses, but the industry ended in 1856 with the closure of the last salt house. Similarly the last tannery closed in 1974, but the clothing industry remains important to the area.

Nantwich has suffered several disasters in its history. It was first recorded as an urban area at the time of the Norman conquest -- the Normans burned the town to the ground, leaving only one building standing. Two hundred years later the town was attacked over a lengthy period by marauders from Wales, while in 1583 the Great Fire of Nantwich raged for 20 days, destroying most of the town, which was rebuilt at a cost of 30,000 in 16th-century money, 2,000 of which was personally donated by Queen Elizabeth I together with timber from the royal forest.

During the English Civil War, Nantwich was the only town in Cheshire to declare for Parliament, and consequently it was besieged several times by Royalist forces. The final siege was lifted following the victory of the Parliamentary forces in the Battle of Nantwich on January 26, 1644, which is re-enacted as Holly Holy Day on its anniversary every year, an event usually involving the Sealed Knot, a registered charity devoted to re-enacting English civil war battles for education purposes.

Geographically, Nantwich is on the 'Cheshire Plain', on the banks of the River Weaver and close to the Llangollen and Shropshire Union Canals, just south of the latter's junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal. It is approximately four miles south-west of Crewe (it has a railway station on the line from Crewe to Whitchurch, Shrewsbury and other towns along the Welsh border), and 20 miles south-east of Chester.


Wich and wych are names used to denote brine springs or wells. By the 11th century use of the 'wich' suffix in placenames associated towns with salt production; four English towns carry the suffix: Droitwich in Worcestershire, and the three Cheshire 'wiches' of Middlewich, Nantwich and Northwich. Plus the city of Norwich in Norfolk.


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