|The Town Hall||The tower|
|Hammer beam roof||The roof as seen from the balcony|
|St. Peter's from the south east||St. Peter's from the south west|
|Neoclassical church entrance||The East Window|
|The White Lion||Judge Bradshaw's reinforced hat|
Congleton obtained its royal charter in 1272. Its prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries was based on cotton and silk manufacture. The city fathers funded a magnificent town hall in High Stree. It is surrounded by other buildings, preventing a full view. It was designed by E. W. Godwin who had won a competition for the design of Northampton town hall in 1861. Congleton's town hall was built between 1864 and 1866. The tower is 110 feet high. The main hall has what appears to be a medieaval hammer beam roof but it incorporates wrought and cast iron components.
St. Peter's church was rebuilt between 1740 and 1742. The body of the church is in brick and has seven bays. The stone tower, in "Gothick" style was completed in 1786. By contrast the main door is in classical style with two pairs of Roman Doric columns. The east window is in Venetian style. I could not gain access to the church when I called as a funeral was in progress, but according to Arthur Mee, there is a monument inside to Sir Thomas Reade who persuaded the Bey of Algiers to abolish slavery in 1849. Sir Thomas was on the island of St. Helena when Napoleon was a prisoner there.
Almost opposite the town hall is the White Lion. A blue plaque on the wall placed by the Congleton Civic Society states, "The White Lion, built 16-17th century. Said to have housed the attorney's office where John Bradshaw, regicide, served his articles." Bradshaw was the president of the court which condemned Charles I. Judge Bradshaw's iron reinforced hat it on display at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Photography is allowed in the museum but not with flash. My picture was taken hand-held, supporting my elbow on the case, with an exposure of one third of a second - hence the poor quality of the picture. However, the iron bands around the crown of the hat are more clearly visible on my picture than on the museum's own website. An account of Bradshaw's career can be found on the Congleton Musuem site.
Arthur Mee's Cheshire, published by Hodder
and Stoughton, London, 1938; fourth impression 1950.
The Buildings of England, Cheshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner and Edward Hubbard, Yale University Press, 2003, ISBN 0 300 09588 0