Enter through the door of Nantwich’s former Victorian library and you’ll discover a fascinating archive of local history. Roman salt-making, Civil War and a Great Fire come together at Nantwich Museum to tell the story of one of Cheshire’s most historic towns.
Everybody knows that the Romans made their mark on Chester, but did you know that the Romans came to Nantwich? Nantwich gets its name from the Welsh, ‘Nant yr Heledd Wen’, meaning the stream of the white salt pit. The Romans made salt in the area during the second and third centuries and the salt industry carried on for the next 1600 years. Visitors to Nantwich Museum can examine a Roman lead pan used to evaporate brine and see the salt ship, a hollowed-out tree trunk used in Medieval times to store the brine.
In 2019, the museum launched The Cheshire Civil War Centre and here visitors can find out about Nantwich’s pivotal role in the battle. Exhibits include a ‘lobster tail helmet’, armour and shot, and a 4ft long civil war musket. Discover what really happened at the Great Fire of Nantwich, which burned for 20 days, destroying 150 houses, inns and other buildings. Old fire fighting equipment includes a 17th century fire engine and this section of the museum gives a powerful sense of how severe the threat of fire was in a town like Nantwich.
Find out why Nantwich is so good for making cheese and how the town became an important centre for clockmaking. New for 2021 is a Late Bronze Age hoard found near the local village of Wrenbury. This remarkable collection is around 3,000 years old and includes seven objects, the most valuable of which is a gold penannular ring.
The museum is also the starting point for the Nantwich Town Trail which directs you to some of the more interesting sites in this beautiful historic town; a booklet is available to download from the website.