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The Town of Winsford - A Brief History

The story of Winsford, Cheshire goes back 200 million years to when beds of rock salt were deposited. However, human occupation can be traced back over a thousand years to the Anglo-Saxon period.

During the last 30 years Winsford has practically been built into a "new town" and hardly any sign of its long history can be seen by the casual visitor. This new book changes that impression by exploring the evidence for early settlements, the Domesday Book records and archaeological evidence for medieval occupation. The story of Vale Royal Abbey and the many legends surrounding it are told in full.

Winsford had a fascinating past and the book is full of tales ranging from a peasants revolt in the 14th Century to full scale riots in demand of better working conditions in the 19th Century. There are tales of poachers, princes, murderers and philanthropists. The town includes the ancient borough of Over, which was the smallest municipality in the Country.

Winsford became the greatest producer of salt in the World following the navigation of the River Weaver from 1721. The story of the salt industry is told and well illustrated including some photos from newly discovered glass negatives around 100 years old. Much of the old town was destroyed by subsidence caused by pumping brine to make salt and in the early 19th Century it resembled a "boom town" of the old west. There were probably more industrial chimneys in half a mile than any similar size area in the world.

Attractive legacies of those days are the large lakes known as "flashes" which are used for sailing and angling and form an unusually picturesque centrepiece for the town. Knights Grange is one of the oldest brick built buildings in Cheshire and has now been converted to a comfortable pub that doubles as the club-house for the municipal golf course.

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