There was a Roman road passing through Sandbach from Middlewich, however few traces of life before Saxon times have been found. The inhabitants were converted to Christianity during the 7th Century by the alphabetically pleasing Adda, Betti, Cedda and Diuma in the interests of political union between the Kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria and the famous Saxon Crosses commemorate that event. At the Domesday survey in 1086, Sandbach, or Sandbecd, was of sufficient size to have a priest and a church - the name, also presented as Sanbec, is thought to derive from the sandy stream at the edge of town. In the 13th century, during King John's reign, the land in and about Sandbach was held by Richard de Sandbach, High Sheriff of Cheshire. The ownership of the manor then passed from the Sandbach family to the Leghs and then the Radcliffes/ Radclyffes who held Sandbach for about 250 years.
In 1579, Sir John Radclyffe was granted the right to hold fairs and markets in Sandbach by Queen Elizabeth I. There has been a Thursday market in Sandbach since then. The market was originally held on the Market Square near the Saxon Crosses, but today it occupies Scotch Common and the Market Hall. The Royal Charter also allowed for a fair to be held on the last weekend in September.
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries Sandbach was noted for the production of fine worsted yarns and malt liquor, and the revenue from these, together with that from the fairs and market, made the town modestly affluent. During the 19th century the town produced silk, boots and shoes and enjoyed extensive trade with its corn mills and salt works along the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Sandbach is the original home of both Foden and ERF lorries - Edwin Richard Foden split in 1931 over a disagreement over the role of diesel versus steam in future developments. Neither company now exists in Sandbach, having been taken over and production moved elsewhere. The world famous Foden Brass Band, originally created for employees, is still in existence and based in Sandbach under the title Foden Richardson Brass Band.
You've probably parked on the oddly named Scotch Common...
The only event of note in Sandbach during the Civil War occurred on 3rd September, 1651. Whilst the September fair was taking place, a skirmish occurred on the town’s Common. A party of nearly 1,000 exhausted Scottish troops on horseback, retreating from the Battle of Worcester, were passing through and were attacked by local people and market stallholders. A contemporary newspaper said: "The dispute was very hot for two or three houres, and there were some townsmen hurt and two or three slaine, the Townesman slew about nine or ten and tooke 100 prisoners."
We don't do that anymore.
New Crosses N53° 08.739 W2° 21.685
These English oak sculptures inspired by the Saxon Crosses were erected in October 2006. On the taller cross with a single large hole, how many ears of corn are in the image immediately below the hole on the side away from the common. Add 1 to get A
Literary Institute N53° 08.674 W2° 21.880
The Literary Institute was built in 1857 at a cost of £2500 – most of which was contributed by the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood. The architect was Sir George Gilbert Scott – his more famous works including St Pancras station, The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall.
The Institute contained a meeting room, library, corn exchange and an upper floor ballroom. Ramsay Macdonald once addressed a public meeting here. The building is of brick with stone dressings, constructed in the Gothic style. Amongst several buildings in the the town he also designed Sandbach Boys School (53°08.517'N, 2°22.158'W) and an attractive row of twenty Alms Houses (53°08.541'N, 2°21.360'W)
Looking across the roundabout and fountain from the Institute you’ll see The Wheatsheaf - one of several coaching inns in the town. This was the staging post for the delightfully named coach “The Nettle”
Staying with the Institute - on either side of each ground floor window and some of the upper floor windows is a carved head. How many heads are there altogether – including around the corner and back (you wouldn’t have Googled for a photo would you ;-) )
Subtract 22 to get D
Town Hall N53° 08.665 W2° 21.810
The market moved from The Square to The Common in 1879, when the Right Honourable Hungerford, Lord Crewe gave to the town the perpetual rights to all market tolls, together with the site for the new Town and Market Hall. This steep-roofed building with a bell tower (the single bell formerly having been used as the town's fire alarm) and an illuminated clock was built ten years later at a cost of £5000.
This might be the only time you’ll want to look up to a bigot – this one was the first Norman to hold the manor of Sandbach and a nephew of William the Conqueror. He’s holding something in his right hand – how many round things are on it? (I think they're seals on a document) Add 4 to get B
Black Bear and Saxon Crosses N53° 08.644 W2° 21.729
"Ye Olde Black Beare Inn" formerly owned by Lord Crewe, is a timbered black and white building built in the 17th Century. It is said (obviously) that Dick Turpin stayed here on more than one occasion, and that bear-baiting took place. The two sandstone Saxon crosses which stand in the cobbled Market Square are under the care of English Heritage and their origins are still subject to some discussion. They are believed to date from the 8th or 9th Century and were a monument to the introduction of Christianity into the area. They would apparently have been brightly painted and decorated with jewels and metal inserts. The first documentary reference is by William Smith, a Herald, in 1585 when he describes them as being present in the market place. It is thought that the crosses were broken up by Puritan Iconoclasts in the seventeenth century and fragments were scattered over a wide area. The larger pieces were found as far away as Oulton and Tarporley; smaller pieces were found on various sites in Sandbach. They were eventually re-erected on their original site in 1816. The buildings along the left-hand side of the Market Square were built in 1767, whilst the Market Tavern and The Crown public houses were probably built about 1680. Originally the Market Tavern had a row of small rooms running from front to back used by market traders where they could conduct their business. The middle frosted window in the Crown reads “Commercial Room” – presumably for similar reasons. On the right is Williams & Son – a former "Delicatessen of the Year" - which was once a police house. The buildings from here to the corner of The Square all date back to about 1760.
According to the sign above the door of the Black Bear – it was built in 16*4 – subtract the missing number from the year from the number of wooden pillars around the crosses in the square to get E.
Lower Chequer N53° 08.649 W2° 21.691
This is the oldest building in Sandbach, dating from 1570. The chequered board probably helped customers to count their money especially as many landlords were also moneylenders. There is a mounting block at the side under the pub sign – this was one of Cheshire's best known coaching inns on the main road from Manchester to London.
How many bags of money are on one face of the pub sign – this is C
Carry on to your right. There are two ways to get X. You can either go through the gate up a few steps (there are a few more, steeper steps at the other end) to pass under the church tower and go to the Saxon fragments at N53° 08.613 W2° 21.682 - or - if it is not appropriate to pass through the churchyard or you would like to avoid the steps you can go to the Town Spout at N53° 08.586 W2° 21.621
At the fragments add up the small square numbers and subtract 20 - or - at the Town Spout add up the individual numbers of the year it was resited and subtract 22. The number is the same – this is X.
(Don't confuse the Town Spout and The Pump - check your co-ordinates!)
(To continue avoiding steps from the Town Spout walk along Front Street to N53° 08.562 W2° 21.540 then turn back along the main road)
The Old Hall N53° 08.572 W2° 21.633
The Old Hall, opposite the church, is a large black and white half-timbered building dating from the 17th century and is a Grade 1 listed building. It is probably on the site of the original Manor, the present building was built for Sir John Radclyffe who secured Sandbach's market charter from Queen Elizabeth I. It was originally constructed from wattle and daub with oak frame. It isn't known exactly how old it is but it bears the date 1656. At one time it was divided into two - one side being used as a public house called "The Three Tuns Inn". There has been some restoration but most of the original structure remains. Inside are some original fireplaces and oak panelling. It was latterly a hotel but was closed for some time before recently being taken up for conversion to a gastropub.
How many chimneys are visible from the road? Add them up then divide by two - this is F.
If you’ve come through the churchyard you could walk down the steps opposite the entrance to The Old Hall, across the road. If you’re avoiding steps you could retrace your route to the bridge and back past the Town Spout – or carry on walking along the main road back to the crosses and back through the square again.
The Pump N53° 08.642 W2° 21.646
There is a metal badge on the front of the pump with a word underneath it. Count the number of letters in the word and add one – this is Y
The cache is located at 53 08.AB(C-X) 2 21.DE(F-Y)
Many thanks to Congleton Borough Council for giving permission to place this cache.