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Macclesfield Town Hall
Macclesfield is located in Cheshire

 Macclesfield shown within Cheshire
OS grid referenceSJ9173
Unitary authorityCheshire East
Ceremonial countyCheshire
RegionNorth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSK10 SK11
Dialling code01625
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK ParliamentMacclesfield
List of places
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Coordinates: 53°15′29″N 2°07′39″W / 53.2581°N 2.1274°W / 53.2581; -2.1274

Macc TH.jpg
Macclesfield Town Hall
Macclesfield is located in Cheshire

 Macclesfield shown within Cheshire
OS grid referenceSJ9173
Unitary authorityCheshire East
Ceremonial countyCheshire
RegionNorth West
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtSK10 SK11
Dialling code01625
AmbulanceNorth West
EU ParliamentNorth West England
UK ParliamentMacclesfield
List of places

Macclesfield is a market town within the unitary authority of Cheshire East, the county palatine of Chester, also known as the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The population of the Macclesfield urban sub-area at the time of 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 considered to be a relatively affluent town.[1]



St. Michael's Church, Macclesfield
Churchill Way, Macclesfield

Situated in the ancient Domesday Hundred of Hamestan,[2] the Domesday Book records the town as "Maclesfeld" and in 1183 it was referred to as "Makeslesfeld".[3] It was once thought Macclesfield got its name from "Michael's field" - referring to St. Michael, as in St. Michael's church, but that cannot be the case since the original dedication of the church was to 'All Saints'. The English Place-Name Society gives it name as being derived from the Old English for Maccels' field or Maccels' open country.[4]


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.[5]

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.[2][6] 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.

Macclesfield as viewed from the railway station

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 gifted 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.

In the uprising of 1645, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London. The mayor was forced to officially welcome the prince, and this welcome is commemorated in one of the town's famous silk tapestries.[7]


Macclesfield was the world's biggest producer of finished silk; now, the four Macclesfield Silk Museums display a huge range of information and products from that period. There were 71 silk mills operating here in 1832. Paradise Mill is a working mill museum which demonstrates the art of silk throwing and Jacquard weaving to the public.[8]

Macclesfield is also well known as the original home of Hovis breadmakers, originally produced in the now apartment block conversion of the Publicity Works mill (commonly referred to as "the Hovis Mill") on the canal close to Buxton Road and set up by a Macclesfield businessman and a baker from Stoke-on-Trent, the name is said to derive from the Latin "homo-vitalis" (strength for man) as a way of providing a cheap and nutritious food for the 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,[9] linking Macclesfield to Marple to the north and Kidsgrove to the south. The canal was built by the renowned engineer Thomas Telford, but was completed as much of the coal and other potential cargo was increasingly being shipped by rail transport.

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 held a sheep and cattle market up until the 1980s.

Macclesfield railway station opened at Beech Lane by the LNWR on 19 June 1849, replaced a month later by Hibel Road Station.

Macclesfield is said to be the only Mill Town left unbombed in the Second World War.[10]


Macclesfield was first represented in Parliament after the Reform Act of 1832, from when it had 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 them since the 1918 general election.

Currently, Macclesfield is represents by Gravesend born, Dave Rutley(1961), a Conservative and practising Mormon.[11][12] 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.[13]

The Wintertons had been investigated by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and he concluded that they misused their MPs' expenses to pay rent for a flat that they had already bought outright. Once the mortgage had been fully repaid, the Wintertons transferred the ownership of the flat into a family trust.[13][14][15] Further, on 18 February 2010 during a BBC Radio 5 Live interview he had defended MPs travelling first class by saying that people who travelled in standard class on trains were a "totally different type of people."[16]


Macclesfield Canal flows through the town.

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 30 miles (45 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.

Landmarks and tourist attractions

The town is most famous for its once thriving silk industry, commemorated in the local Silk Museum. Although "Silk Town" seems to be the preferred nickname these days, Macclesfield's traditional local nickname is "Treacle Town" — supposedly from an incident where a merchant spilt a load of treacle on Hibel Road, and the poor rushed out to scoop it off the cobbles. However, this term is more widely associated with Nuneaton. Another, less picturesque, reason has it that the mill-owners used to provide barrels of treacle to the unemployed weavers.[citation needed]

The hilltop church of St Michael and All Angels, with a view of the hill range called Kerridge. The apparently 15th century sandstone tower has carved panels with coats of arms:

1. Two chevrons and a canton (possibly Fitton[17]);
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[17]);
5. A cross ermine;
6. Quarterly, 1st and 4th a stag lodged, 2nd and 3rd a human leg couped at the thigh.[18]

The church is approached from Water's Green by a flight of 108 steps, which them selves are a local landmark.

Macclesfield is the home to furniture store Arighi Bianchi, a local football club Macclesfield Town, 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.

Culture and sport

The Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society was founded in 1947. MADS performed their first play at the Little Theatre on Lord Street in 1954

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.[19]

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 Football Club. The town has a thriving art group, who hold 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.[20] 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.[21] 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[22] and the Community News.[23] Macclesfield residents have access to Macclesfield Forum, an online message board, for informal discussion of local news and issues.[24] The town is also served by two locally-based radio stations: Canalside Community Radio based at the Clarence Mill in Bollington,[25] just north of Macclesfield, and Silk FM, a commercial independent radio station with studios in the town.[26]

The last remaining commercial cinema in Macclesfield closed in 1997. Discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of building a multiplex cinema,[27] but similar 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[28] has since become well established; also based in the Heritage Centre is the Silk Screen arts cinema,[29] 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[30] 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, Evans Theatre 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.

Gawsworth Hall hosts an annual Shakespeare festival as well as many arts and music events throughout the year.

Macclesfield has appeared in film: it was used as the location for Sir John Mills's film So Well Remembered in 1947.[31] 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.[32] It was also the location of the 2007 film Control, a biopic film about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division who grew up in Macclesfield.

Musically, Macclesfield is best known as the home town of bluesman John Mayall as well as Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris of Joy Division, and Gillian Gilbert who along with Stephen Morris was a member of New Order, Bernard Sumner in the nearby village of Alderly Edge was also a member of both New Order and Joy Division. A memorial to Curtis is located in Macclesfield Crematorium.[33] Other Macclesfield acts to have gained recognition include The Macc Lads and Marion. The Macclesfield band Silk Brass have also gone on to receive a National Champion title in the brass band movement in 2003.

In literature, Macclesfield is the second principal location of the fantasy novels The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner.

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, having been bookies relegation favourites for seven years due to playing on a tiny budget.

Youth football teams include Macclesfield Juniors FC, Macclesfield Saints JFC and Tytherington Juniors.

Macclesfield RUFC, the town's rugby union club, play in National League One, following promotion from National League 2 (North) in the 2009 - 2010 season.

Macclesfield's cycling club Macclesfield Wheelers[34] 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 3 years during the 1960s. The local cycling campaign group is known as MaccBUG (Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group).[35] Formed in 1999 they campaign for better cycling provision for leisure and utility cyclists.

Macclesfield Chess Club is one of the oldest chess clubs in the country having been founded in 1886.[36]

Barracks Square was the home of the Cheshire Militia from 1859. It is now a Grade 2 listed residential area.

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 3 times a week for 30 minutes.[37]

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.[38][39]


Macclesfield is served by four state high schools; Tytherington High School, The Macclesfield Academy, Fallibroome Academy and All Hallows Catholic College.

There are also two independent schools, The King's School and Beech Hall School.

Macclesfield High School is made up of students from the former school Henbury High School, and also took in the students left over when the secondary school Ryles Park closed 2004, which 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.


Rail services

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 east bound route from the town, heading to Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Notable people

TV personalities

See also

Armoury Towers
Armoury Towers

Notes and references


  1. ^ macclesfield express town_flying_high
  2. ^ a b Finney, Isaac. "Macklesfelde in ye olden time". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
  3. ^ Scholes (2000). page 104.
  4. ^ "Macclesfield". Key to English Place Names. Institude for Name Studies, University of Nottingham. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  5. ^ "A History of the Church". St. Michael's Macclesfield. Archived from the original on 21 July 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2006.
  6. ^ Clayton, D. J. (1990). pages 32, 33.
  7. ^ Silk Tapestries of Macclesfield. Retrieval Date: 15 October 2007.
  8. ^ Paradise Mill website. Retrieval Date: 15 October 2007.
  9. ^ Tim Boddington. "The Macclesfield Canal". Retrieved 28 November 2006.
  10. ^ a b Missing movie classic unearthed by Macc Lad - News - Macclesfield Express
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ macclesfieldexpress Rutley_plans_to_act_differently.
  13. ^ a b Winterton expenses controversy (The Telegraph)
  14. ^ The Telegraph report on Nicholas Winterton's comments regarding David Cameron
  15. ^ Wintertons' expenses controversy (Macclesfield Express)
  16. ^ "MP's anger at expenses 'ban' on first-class travel". BBC News. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  17. ^ a b Papworth's Ordinary
  18. ^ noted at the church 2001
  19. ^ [2] Retrieval date: 28 April 2011
  20. ^ [3][dead link]
  21. ^ Debut for 'Monkey Run' opera | Macclesfield Express -
  22. ^ Macclesfield Express. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
  23. ^ Community News Group. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
  24. ^ Macclesfield Forum. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
  25. ^ Canalside Community Radio. Retrieval Date: 16 February 2008
  26. ^ Silk FM. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ Cinemac. Retrieval Date: 16 February 2008.
  29. ^ Silk Screen Cinema. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008.
  30. ^ Macclesfield Majestic Theatre Group
  31. ^ So Well Remembered. International Movie database website. Retrieval date: 15 October 2007.
  32. ^ Green Street (US title: Hooligans) International Movie Database website. Retrieval Date: 15 October 2007.
  33. ^ "Getting to know Dad". Macclesfield Express. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  34. ^ Macclesfield Wheelers Cycling Club. Official website. Retrieval date: 16 December 2007
  35. ^ Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group (MaccBUG). Official website. Retrieval date: 1 October 2007.
  36. ^ Furness (1988); p. 126.
  37. ^ Active People Survey. Sport England website. Retrieval date: 16 February 2008.
  38. ^ "Britain's happiest places mapped". 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  39. ^ "A step-by-step ESDS Longitudinal guide: Guide to British Household Panel Survey". Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  40. ^ About Nick Robinson. Retrieval Date: 9 January 2009.
  41. ^ "Biography for Ian Curtis". Retrieved 18 January 2009.
  42. ^ [4] Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
  43. ^ [5] Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
  44. ^ Biography about David Shrigley. Retrieval Date: 18 February 2008.
  45. ^ (Olympic) Brits to Watch: Ben Ainslie. Retrieval Date: 9 December 2008.
  46. ^ World Cup Scouting - Peter Crouch. Retrieval Date: 9 December 2008.
  47. ^ Peter Moores. Cricket England website. Retrieval Date: 16 February 2008.
  48. ^ [6] Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.
  49. ^ Mr. Methane Retrieval Date:2 March 2009.