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Nantwich

Nantwich is a market town in south Cheshire, England, in the Borough and parliamentary constituency of Crewe and Nantwich. 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; the 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.



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