Macclesfield Town Hall
Macclesfield shown within Cheshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Cheshire East|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SK10 SK11|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Macclesfield is a market town in Cheshire, England. The population of Macclesfield at the 2011 census was 51,739. A person from Macclesfield is sometimes referred to as a "Maxonian". Macclesfield, like many other areas in Cheshire, is a relatively affluent town.
Situated in the ancient Hundred of Hamestan, the Domesday Book records the town as "Maclesfeld" and in 1183 it was referred to as "Makeslesfeld". The English Place-Name Society gives its name as being derived from the Old English name, Maccel and field meaning `Maccels' open country'.
Although "Silk Town" seems to be its preferred nickname Macclesfield's traditional nickname is "Treacle Town" — supposedly from an incident when a load of treacle was spilt on Hibel Road, and the poor scooped it off the cobbles. However, this term is more widely associated with Nuneaton in Warwickshire. Another reason was that the mill-owners provided barrels of treacle for unemployed weavers.
Macclesfield was granted a borough charter by Earl Ranulf III of Chester, in the early 13th century, and a second charter was granted by the future King Edward I, in 1261. The parish church of All Saints was built in 1278, an extension of a chapel built in approximately 1220.
The borough had a weekly market and two annual fairs: the Barnaby fair, was on St Barnabas day (11 June), the other on the feast of All Saints (1 November).
Macclesfield was the administrative centre of the Hundred of Macclesfield, which occupied most of east Cheshire. The Earl of Chester's manor of Macclesfield was very large, and its boundary extended to Disley. The manor house was situated on the edge of the deer park, on the west of the town.
The Earls of Chester established the Forest of Macclesfield which was much larger than its present-day namesake. It was used for hunting deer and pasturing sheep and cattle. By the end of the 13th century, large areas of the forest had been ploughed because of the pressure of population growth. In 1356, two trees from the forest were given to archer William Jauderell to repair his home.
Macclesfield Castle was a fortified town house built by the dukes of Buckingham in the later Middle Ages.
Macclesfield was once surrounded by walls and ramparts with three principal gates, the Chester Gate, the Jordan Gate and the Church Wall Gate (some sources give the name Well Gate for this gate). These names are preserved in the names of three streets in the town, Chestergate, Jordangate and Back Wallgate. During the Civil War, in 1642 the town was occupied for the King by Sir Thomas Aston, a Royalist. The walls and castle were damaged when the town was subsequently bombarded and taken by a parliamentarian force under Sir William Brereton. After the war the walls were completely destroyed on the orders of Cromwell and the Council of the Commonwealth.
In the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London. The mayor was forced to welcome the prince, and the event is commemorated in one of the town's silk tapestries.
Macclesfield was once the world's biggest producer of finished silk. There were 71 silk mills operating in 1832. Paradise Mill is a working mill museum which demonstrates the art of silk throwing and Jacquard weaving to the public. The four Macclesfield Silk Museums display a range of information and products from that period.
Macclesfield is the original home of Hovis breadmakers, produced in Publicity Works Mill (commonly referred to as "the Hovis Mill") on the canal close to Buxton Road. It was founded by a Macclesfield businessman and a baker from Stoke-on-Trent. Hovis is said to derive from the Latin "homo-vitalis" (strength for man) as a way of providing a cheap and nutritious food for poor mill workers and was a very dry and dense wholemeal loaf completely different from the modern version.
Between 1826 and 1831 the Macclesfield Canal was constructed, linking Macclesfield to Marple to the north and Kidsgrove to the south. The canal was surveyed for its Act of Parliament by the canal and roads engineer Thomas Telford, and built by William Crossley, the Macclesfield Canal Company's engineer. It was the last narrow canal to be completed and had only limited success because within ten years much of the coal and other potential cargo was increasingly being transported by rail.
Waters Green was once home to a nationally known horse market which features in the legend of the Wizard of Alderley Edge. Waters Green and an area opposite Arighi Bianchi, now hidden under the Silk Road, also held a sheep and cattle market until the 1980s.
Macclesfield was first represented in Parliament after the Reform Act of 1832, when it was granted two members of Parliament. This situation lasted until 1880, when after problems at the general election that year it was decided to declare the election void and suspend the writ of election (so no by-election could take place).
In September 1880 a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate further. A report of March 1881 confirmed the allegations of corruption. As a result the borough constituency was disenfranchised for corruption. The disenfranchisement took effect on 25 June 1885, when the town was transferred to the East Cheshire constituency.
However under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 the Macclesfield constituency was recreated with extended boundaries, as a county division, later in 1885. From the 1885 general election it has elected one MP. Macclesfield has for some time been considered to be a safe seat for the Conservative Party, having been held by it since the 1918 general election.
Currently, Macclesfield is represented by Gravesend-born Dave Rutley, a Conservative and practicing Mormon. He was selected for this seat in 2010, when Sir Nicholas Winterton, who had been the incumbent for 38 years, announced his retirement following unfavourable press coverage relating to the claiming of Parliamentary expenses. Sir Nicholas' wife, Anne Winterton, held the neighbouring seat of Congleton.
Macclesfield is located in the east of Cheshire, on the River Bollin, a tributary of the River Mersey. It is close to the county borders of Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east and Staffordshire to the south. It is near the towns of Stockport to the north, Buxton to the east, and Congleton to the south. It is 38 miles (60 km) to the east of Chester, the county town of Cheshire. To the west of the town lies the Cheshire Plain and to the east lie the hills of the Peak District.
||Prestbury||Poynton||Peak District – Whaley Bridge|
|Chelford||Peak District – Buxton|
Barracks Square was the home of the Cheshire Militia from 1859. It is now a Grade 2 listed residential area.
Macclesfield is also home to an Augustus Pugin church, St Alban's on Chester Road.
Macclesfield is the home to furniture store Arighi Bianchi, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, and The King's School, Macclesfield, which dates from the 16th century. The fine Georgian Town Hall was designed by Francis Goodwin in 1823. Present day industries include pharmaceuticals, textiles, light engineering, paper and plastics.
Macclesfield is also home to significant digital business, including a range of startups and games companies. Chillingo (acquired by Electronic Arts), Spare Room, Matmi, Beatroot and Envirofone are all based in Macclesfield. The town has been a hub previously with US companies Mforma (which was renamed Hands-On Mobile and then bought by Connect2Play and renamed Connect2Media) and I-Play (acquired by Oberon Media) both having had large studio operations in town. The Digital Edge group was setup in late 2011 to cater to the burgeoning tech community, and has since played host to speakers from the likes of the BBC and Universal Music.
The hilltop church of St Michael and All Angels has views of nearby Kerridge Hill. The apparently 15th-century sandstone tower has carved panels with coats of arms:
- 1. Two chevrons and a canton (possibly Fitton);
- 2. A cross engrailed;
- 3. A cross engrailed charged with a mullet; :
- 4. A pale fusilly (possibly Nigel or Norton Augustinian Abbey, Cheshire, founded by Fitz-Nigel);
- 5. A cross ermine;
- 6. Quarterly, 1st and 4th a stag lodged, 2nd and 3rd a human leg couped at the thigh.
The church is approached from Water's Green by a flight of 108 steps, which themselves are a local landmark.
Macclesfield has been accused of having few cultural amenities; in 2004, research was published in The Times naming Macclesfield and its borough the most uncultured town in Britain, based on its lack of theatres, cinemas and other cultural facilities.
In the world of art, the town is best known as the birthplace of wildlife painter Charles F. Tunnicliffe RA OBE (1901–1979) and as the current home of the artist Ben Kelly, a former painter in residence at Manchester City F.C.. The town has a thriving art group, which holds an annual exhibition at Macclesfield Library.
There was a huge boost to Macclesfield's cultural scene in 2010 with the creation of the Barnaby Festival, a celebration of art, culture and heritage, reinventing the centuries-old tradition of marking St Barnabas' Day. A rich and varied visual arts programme included 'Save Us', a contemporary art exhibition in Christ Church, curated by Karen Gaskill. It featured ten artists with a connection to Macclesfield, and some with an international reputation. The Silk Opera Company was created to perform 'The Monkey Run' at Barnaby, written and conducted by Nicholas Smith and starring Eleanor Sutton and Jayne Carpenter. The performances met with local critical acclaim and the company is now growing and performing around the region.
This was followed a year later by WinterFest, a more mainstream festival which takes place annually across November and December. Co-founded by Bradley Snelling, Nicholas Smith and Clare Hayward, it has been a huge success since its initial inception with its main remit to increase footfall into the centre of Macclesfield achieved. Performance is at its core rather than art and WinterFest is now in its fourth year and growing.
Macclesfield is also home to a Silk Museum and a number of art galleries, including at York Chambers, Duke's Court.
Local newspapers include the Macclesfield Express and the Community News. Macclesfield residents have access to Macclesfield Forum, an online message board, for informal discussion of local news and issues. The town is also served by two locally based radio stations: Canalside Community Radio based at the Clarence Mill in Bollington, just north of Macclesfield, and Silk FM, a commercial independent radio station with studios in the town.
The last remaining commercial cinema in Macclesfield closed in 1997. Discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of building a multiplex cinema, but attempts to build a cinema have thus far been unsuccessful. In 2005 a small-scale cinema was set up in the Heritage Centre, and Cinemac has since become well established; also based in the Heritage Centre is the Silk Screen arts cinema, which gives fortnightly screenings of art-house films. However, during the recent outlining of plans for the new Macclesfield town centre, a large cinema has been given the go-ahead after many years of pressure from the residents.
Amateur dramatics is well represented in the town by Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society, which has existed since 1947 and has its own theatre in the town. Macclesfield Majestic Theatre Group has been producing musicals in the town since its inception in 1971, initially at the Majestic Theatre (hence the title), which was on the main street, but latterly at various other locations after the theatre was converted into a public house by the new tenants. Most recently, shows have been produced at the Heritage Centre, the Evans Theatre in Wilmslow and MADS Theatre on Lord Street, Macclesfield. Several members of the society have gone on to the professional stage, most famously Marshall Lancaster and Jonathan Morris.
Macclesfield has appeared in film: it was used as the location for Sir John Mills's film So Well Remembered in 1947. Some of the locations are still recognisable, such as Hibel Road. A fictionalised version of Macclesfield's railway station appeared in the 2005 football hooliganism film Green Street. It was also the location of Control (2007), a film about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, who grew up in Macclesfield.
Macclesfield was the home town of Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris of Joy Division, and Gillian Gilbert, who along with Stephen Morris was a member of New Order. A memorial to Curtis is located in Macclesfield Crematorium. Other Macclesfield acts to have gained recognition include The Macc Lads and Marion. Silk Brass, the Macclesfield brass band, won the National Champion title in 2003. More recently, local band the Virginmarys has achieved national and international success. Chart-topping UK band The 1975 come from Macclesfield.
In 2008, the borough was named as the fifth happiest of 273 districts in Britain by researchers from the universities of Sheffield and Manchester, who used information on self-reported personal well-being from the British Household Panel Survey.
Macclesfield's professional football club, Macclesfield Town, first gained league status in 1997 as Football Conference Champions; they had won that title two years earlier but were denied promotion as their Moss Rose stadium in the south of the town failed to meet Football League stadium capacity requirements. As of the 2012–2013 season, the Silkmen play in the Football Conference once more after relegation in April 2012.
Macclesfield RUFC, the town's rugby union club, plays in National League One, following promotion from National League 2 North in the 2013-20104 season, having been relegated to National League for the 2013 - 2014 season.
Macclesfield's cycling club Macclesfield Wheelers is a local club for all cycling activities, from pleasure riding to racing. World famous cyclist Reg Harris produced "Reg Harris" bikes in Macclesfield for three years during the 1960s. The local cycling campaign group is known as MaccBUG (Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group). Formed in 1999, it campaigns for better cycling provision for leisure and utility cyclists.
Macclesfield Harriers & Athletic Club is an active club with over 500 members. The club caters for all abilities and ages. There are sections for Road Running, Track & Field, Fell Running and Cross Country.
In December 2006, Sport England published a survey which revealed that residents of Macclesfield were the 3rd most active in England in sports and other fitness activities. 29.3% of the population participate at least three times a week for 30 minutes.
Macclesfield Academy is made up of pupils from the former school Henbury High School, and also took in the pupils left over when Ryles Park secondary school closed in 2004. Ryles Park had been in turn an amalgamation of Ryles Park girls school and the oldest state school in the town, Macclesfield Central boys school, which closed in 1975. It is on the site of Macclesfield College and Park Lane Special School as part of the Macclesfield 'Learning Zone', which was opened in 2007. Macclesfield High School was the name originally given to the girls grammar school on Fence Avenue now forming part of the King's School.
A railway station was opened at Beech Lane by the LNWR on 19 June 1849 and replaced a month later by Hibel Road Station. The current station dates from the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line in the 1960s, when the old station buildings were demolished to make way for new buildings.
Macclesfield is on the Stafford to Manchester section of the West Coast Main Line. Macclesfield railway station has frequent services to Manchester Piccadilly (25 minutes away), Stoke and London Euston (1 hour 47 minutes) by Virgin Trains, and to Birmingham New Street and beyond provided by CrossCountry. Northern Rail's stopping service between Manchester and Stoke calls at Macclesfield.
Macclesfield is served by good road links from the north, south and west, but has fewer roads going east due to the proximity of the Peak District. From the south, access from Congleton and the Potteries is from the A536, and via the A523 from Leek. From the north, the main access to the town is the A523 from Manchester, Hazel Grove and Poynton. The main west–east road is the A537 Knutsford to Buxton Road. At various points around the town centre, some of these roads combine, such as the A537 / A523 on the Silk Road section, giving rise to traffic congestion, especially at peak times. The A538 provides access to Prestbury, Wilmslow and Manchester Airport, with the B5470 being the only other eastbound route from the town, heading to Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith.
- William Buckley (convict), survivor among Australian Aborigines between 1803 and 1835, born here.
- Brian Redhead, former Manchester Guardian journalist and BBC Radio 4 Today anchorman, lived in the town.
- Nick Robinson, political editor for the BBC, was born in Macclesfield and attended nearby Cheadle Hulme School.
- Alec Stokes, scientist.
- John Wadsworth, (1879–1955), ceramics designer for Minton, was born in Macclesfield. With L. Solon designed Minton's Secessionist ware 1901-02 and later the large vase to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
- Arthur Smith Woodward, palaeontologist
- Vera Brittain, writer, lived in Macclesfield as a child.
- Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, lived and died there in 1980. He is buried in the Macclesfield cemetery.
- Noddy Holder, lead singer of Slade, lives in the town.
- The Macc Lads, infamous local punk rock band.
- John Mayall, a blues musician and bandleader who was greatly influential in the British blues movement, was born in Macclesfield in 1933.
- Jim Moray, folk musician, born in Macclesfield.
- Stephen Morris, drummer in the bands Joy Division, New Order, The Other Two & Bad Lieutenant.
- Kirsten Reynolds, artist and musician, was born in Macclesfield.
- Mr Scruff, Stockport-based DJ, was born in Macclesfield in 1972.
- David Shrigley, artist, was born in the town in 1968 and lived there until 1970.
- Jaime Harding, lead vocalist of Brit-Pop band Marion.
- Hatty Keane, r&b and pop Singer.
- The Virginmarys, rock band.
- The 1975, pop band, formed in and around Macclesfield.
- Jonathan Agnew, cricketer and cricket commentator.
- Ben Ainslie, Olympic gold medal winning yachtsman, was born there in 1977.
- Ben Amos, footballer with Manchester United and later Bolton Wanderers.
- Stuart Brown, twelve time British National Sidecarcross Champion.
- Peter Crouch, Stoke City and England international football player.
- Reg Harris, track cyclist, active in the 1940s, 1950s and 1970s.
- Jamie Donaldson, golfer, who was born in and plays for Wales, was raised and currently lives in the Macclesfield area.
- Peter Moores, former England Cricket Coach, was born and went to school in Macclesfield.
- Steven Mellor (swimmer) - Macclesfield's first Olympian. Olympic swimmer. Born and raised in Macclesfield. competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games
- TV personalities
- Deborah Corrigan, glamour model and Page Three girl.
- David Dickinson, antiques expert and television presenter.
- Marshall Lancaster, actor, best known for playing DC Chris Skelton in the BBC dramas Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, was born in Macclesfield in 1974.
- Geoff Lloyd, radio DJ, also known as the Geoff half of Pete And Geoff; currently doing the Hometime show on Absolute Radio.
- Mr Methane, the world's only currently performing flatulist, was born in Macclesfield.
- John Heywood, "Johnny Maxfield" a local comedian, found fame as the Heinz Soup Grandad in their TV commercials.
- Greg Scott, "Greggles" TV/Radio Presenter, best known as presenter of ITV's Quizmania and auctioneer/presenter on the now defunct Bid TV and Price Drop TV shopping channels
- Listed buildings in Macclesfield
- Cat and Fiddle Road
- Macclesfield Sunday School
- St Michael's Church, Macclesfield
- Christ Church, Macclesfield
- St Alban's Church, Macclesfield
- King Edward Street Chapel, Macclesfield
- St George's Church, Macclesfield
- St Paul's Church, Macclesfield
- St Peter's Church, Macclesfield
- Holy Trinity Church, Hurdsfield
- Macclesfield United Reformed Church
- Macclesfield Castle
- Barracks Square and Armoury Towers
- List of textile mills in Cheshire
Notes and references
- New Society 9, New Society Limited, 1967, p. 933 "Maxonian" was originally coined to identify a group of alumni of King's School, Macclesfield at Oxford University as a portmanteau of Macclesfield and Oxonian, which was then applied to residents of the town in general.
- macclesfield express town_flying_high
- Finney, Isaac. "Macklesfelde in ye olden time". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- Scholes (2000). page 104.
- "Macclesfield". Key to English Place Names. Institude for Name Studies, University of Nottingham. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "A History of the Church". St. Michael's Macclesfield. Archived from the original on 21 July 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2006.
- Clayton, D. J. (1990). pages 32, 33.
- Streets and houses of old Macclesfield. John Earles, 1915. Republished MTD Rigg Publications, Leeds, 1990.
- A history of Macclesfield. Macclesfield Borough Council, edited by Clarice Stella Davies, University of Manchester Press, 1961.
- Silk Tapestries of Macclesfield. Retrieval Date: 15 October 2007.
- Paradise Mill website. Retrieval Date: 15 October 2007.
- Tim Boddington. "The Macclesfield Canal". Retrieved 28 November 2006.
- Missing movie classic unearthed by Macc Lad - News - Macclesfield Express
- David Rutley MP, Macclesfield - TheyWorkForYou
- macclesfieldexpress Rutley_plans_to_act_differently.
- Winterton expenses controversy (The Telegraph)
- Macclesfield Silk Museums
- Papworth's Ordinary
- noted at the church 2001
-  Retrieval date: 28 April 2011
- [dead link]
- Debut for 'Monkey Run' opera | Macclesfield Express - menmedia.co.uk
- Macclesfield Express. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
- Community News Group. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
- Macclesfield Forum. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
- Canalside Community Radio. Retrieval Date: 16 February 2008
- Silk FM. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
- "Cinema may replace Tesco and Hughes stores as new star in town". Macclesfield Express. Archived from the original on 29 September 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2006.
- Cinemac. Retrieval Date: 16 February 2008.
- Silk Screen Cinema. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008.
- Macclesfield Majestic Theatre Group
- So Well Remembered. International Movie database website. Retrieval date: 15 October 2007.
- Green Street (US title: Hooligans) International Movie Database website. Retrieval Date: 15 October 2007.
- "Getting to know Dad". Macclesfield Express. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2006.
- "Britain's happiest places mapped". news.bbc.co.uk. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- "A step-by-step ESDS Longitudinal guide: Guide to British Household Panel Survey". www.esds.ac.uk. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Macclesfield Wheelers Cycling Club. Official website. Retrieval date: 16 December 2007
- Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group (MaccBUG). Official website. Retrieval date: 1 October 2007.
- Furness (1988); p. 126.
- Active People Survey. Sport England website. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008.
- Morgan, J. (1852). The life and adventures of William Buckley. United States: Kessinger Legacy Reprints.
- About Nick Robinson. www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieval Date: 9 January 2009.
- "Biography for Ian Curtis". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
-  Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
-  Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
- Biography about David Shrigley. www.davidshrigley.com. Retrieval Date: 18 February 2008.
- (Olympic) Brits to Watch: Ben Ainslie. www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieval Date: 9 December 2008.
- British Sidecarcross championship results 1990–present The Sidecar Motocross Association of Great Britain website, accessed: 6 November 2014
- World Cup Scouting - Peter Crouch. www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieval Date: 9 December 2008.
- Peter Moores. Cricket England website. Retrieval Date: 16 February 2008.
-  Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
- Mr. Methane Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
- Clayton, D. J. (1990). The administration of the county palatine of Chester, 1442—85. Manchester, United Kingdom: The Chetham Society. ISBN 0-7190-1343-7.
- Furness, R. A. (1988). The Cheshire Hundred (1888–1988): The centenary history of the Cheshire & North Wales Chess Association. Cheshire and North Wales Chess Association.
- Scholes, R (2000). Towns and villages of Britain: Cheshire. Wilmslow, Cheshire: Sigma Press. ISBN 1-85058-637-3.
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