Experience Cheadle

Cheadle is an historic market town dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, with its own reference in the Domesday Book dating back to 1086, then the town was formally known as "Celle" and was occupied by only 9 families. Since then the town has grown dramatically and now has a total population of just over 12,200, even with the growth in population historic features have been kept throughout the town.

Cheadle has had a varied and eventful history. From the 1086 mention in the Domesday Book the town grew steadily over the next few hundred years, with the development of industry and agriculture. The historic industries that the town has depended on have been coal mining, Silk, agriculture, brass making and the historic copper industry in nearby Froghall and Oakamoor. The town and the nearby village of Upper Tean also had a textile industry in tape weaving.

Nowadays the old industry has passed into history and the new employers and industries are the large JCB factory, the several small industrial units on the site of the former New Haden Colliery and the nearby theme park of Alton Towers which employs many of the people from the Cheadle area. More people now commute to the Potteries for work than in previous years.

Cheadle did once have a railway station which was originally opened by the Cheadle Railway Company (purchased by the North Staffordshire Railway) in the early part of the 20th century, after years of petitioning for a connection. It was closed by British Rail in the 1960s for passenger traffic, and for freight traffic in the 1980s as the local sand and gravel quarries which used the station to transport their output to rail moved to road transport. One notable point of interest is the fact that the stone which helped to construct the Thames Flood Barrier in London was quarried from around Cheadle and loaded on to trains at Cheadle station.

Cheadle History Timeline

Cheadle is entered in the Domesday Book (1086) as "Celle" held by the lord of the manor, Robert of Stafford, at the time the area covered 6 miles by 3 miles and listed 9 families.

In 1176 the Basset family acquired the manor of "Chedle" and in 1250 Ralph Basset was granted a market charter and annual fair by King Henry III (750 years this year 2000).

In 1309, 75 families are recorded as using a corn-grinding mill sited near Mill Road.

In 1350 a new church was built replacing a 12th-century structure and this church remained in use until 1837.

In 1606 a school was founded by the church, and in 1685 the then curate of the parish (Rev, Henry Stubbs) left an endowment to "found" a grammar school in Cheadle. The school was built at Monkhouse and was active until 1917. The endowment continues to this day.

In 1676 Cheadle’s population is recorded as just over one thousand, and a hundred years later (1772) as one thousand eight hundred. At this time the main source of employment was agriculture and farming.

1775 : A new workhouse was built and opened. It was extended under the Cheadle Union an 1837. Part of the original building was demolished in 1909, renamed an Infirmary. The whole complex was demolished in 1987 and a new hospital was built on the site, which was opened on the 26th June 1989 by The Princess Royal.

In 1798, 10 weavers houses were built. The weavers lived downstairs and the looms for the manufacture of tape were upstairs. By the 1820’s the looms were transferred into a factory in Tape Street. This tape factory closed in 1972, and now forms a part of the "B&M Store".

The First Motor Car In Chealde Was In 1903

In 1851 silk and narrow fabric mills were built in Cheadle (by Arnolds) and these employed hundreds of operatives in their day, to be closed down in 1981. Between 1875 - 78 William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, made frequent visits to the silk works in Cheadle to experiment with organic dyes. Many of Cheadle's silk products featured Morris's designs.

In the Brookhouses area of Cheadle in 1725, the Cheadle Brass and Copper Company started production, transferring to the Oakamoor area 100 years later under the then company Thomas Patten, to be purchased in 1851 by Thomas Bolton of Birmingham. In 1890 Bolton’s opened a factory at Froghall and the Oakamoor works were eventually closed in 1963.

At the turn of the 20th century the first open air swimming baths were constructed at Brookhouses, and telephone installation began in 1904. In 1901 Cheadle was linked to the railway network by the Cheadle Railway, operated and later owned by the North Staffordshire Railway, with the building of a railway station at Majors Barn, this giving access to further industries and movement of passengers. At a later period sand, gravel and aggregates used for building purposes were transported from the station as well as coal.

The first motor car arrived in Cheadle in 1903, and the first licensed omnibus service – Cheadle to Longton –commenced in January 1914.

After the First World War (1914-18) changes in employment was made available/ possible by access out of Cheadle by means of transport use either by train or bus services.

After the Second World War (1939-45) Cheadle developed by building and extending factories for employment which in turn created a need for more employees, which needed the building of more houses, both council and private for the families.

In the late 1950’s an industrial site was developed in the Brookhouses area

In the 1960s - Cheadle railway station was closed by British Rail for passenger traffic

In the mid 1980’s part of the JCB complex took over what had been "The Silk Mill", and converted it to manufacturing products.

1980s Cheadle railway station closed for freight traffic as the local sand and gravel quarries which used the station to transport their output to rail moved to road transport.

In the 1990’s two new JCB factories were built on the Leek Road, in Cheadle, and JCB became one of the largest employers within the town.

St Giles Catholic Church

The St. Giles Catholic Church is a Grade I listed building, 1 of only 11 Grade 1 listed buildings within the Staffordshire Moorlands area and the only one in Cheadle. It was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and commissioned by John Talbot (16th Earl of Shrewsbury) and opened on 31 August 1846.

The church is known as "Pugin's Gem" and took 5 years to complete from start to finish. During the build money was no object to the Earl of Shewsbury who resided at Alton Towers, which was then known as Alton Abbey. The original estimate of £5,000 had increased dramatically to a figure of some £40,000 by the time of its completion in 1846. .

Pugin believed that, after stained glass, encaustic tiles were amongst the most important forms of decorative art. By the winter of 1843 Pugin was able to tell Earl Shrewsbury that the tiles for Cheadle were proceeding well and that they would have "the finest floor in Europe".

The tiles for the chancel and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament were both rich and expensive. Earl Shrewsbury was concerned that they would be damaged by being constantly walked upon, so he suggested putting down carpets, which in Pugin's view defeated the object of having patterned tiles in the first place. The clerk-of-works, John Denny proposed a solution: the priest and his assistants would be required to wear special overshoes made of cloth. Earl Shrewsbury warmed to the idea, and told Pugin: "You may have your tiles and we shall want no carpet"

The date for the consecration of St. Giles was fixed originally for September 1845 but with the various alterations this proved to be optimistic. Pugin noted that the spire was topped on 27th June 1845, but the bells did not arrive until January 1846. The inscriptions on them, in Gothic lettering, include invocations of Our Lady, St. Giles', St. Chad and St. Francis.

St Giles Catholic ChurchThe consecration of the church was postponed for twelve months, but by March 1846 Pugin could not guarantee even that, unless Earl Shrewsbury would allow him to keep a full work-force including joiners and painters. Of particular concern were the great crucifix and carved figures for the Rood, which were being made by George Myers at Lambeth.

The loss of the sculptor Thomas Roddis, who died in October 1845, was another sad blow, for although Roddis had completed his works at St. Giles' by this time, his contribution to the building was substantial and of superb quality.

To this day the 200 foot steeple of this magnificent church dominates the town and is visible from miles around, St Giles is of unique importance in the history of the Gothic and Catholic Revival. St Giles was a seventh-century French abbot and is often pictured with a doe, an allusion to the story that he once rescued a doe which was being persued by hunters.

The Church itself was opened and consecrated on the 31st August 1846. The very next day the First Solemn Mass was celebrated amid great pomp and splendour. Historical records tell us that eight carriages bearing the Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury and their guests left Alton Towers(when it was a stately home) for the drive to Cheadle. Among the guests were eight Deacons, 53 Priests, 13 Bishops and two Archbishops.

Unfortunately, the 16th Earl died before the Church could be endowed and his heir, the 17th Earl died only four years later. The 18th Earl was not a Roman Catholic and so the upkeep and maintenance of the Church has since fallen upon the parishioners and townspeople of Cheadle.

As with the exterior of the Church the interior is absolutely magnificent and highly worth a visit, even if you only have a short stay in Cheadle ensure that the St. Giles Catholic Church is top priority on your to do list.

The Church is open every day from 8.00 till around 3pm. On Saturdays, we do not close till after Evening Mass, which finishes at 6.15pm. You are welcome at any time, though please do not wander around during the liturgy and other times of public prayer.

Discover the Secret Trail Walk

Click here to view the discover the secret trail walk and the route.

Map of Cheadle

Click here to view Map of Cheadle.

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