infobox UK place
country = England

static_image_caption=Macclesfield Town Hall
official_name= Macclesfield
latitude= 53.2581
longitude= -2.1274
population = 50,688
shire_district= Macclesfield
shire_county= Cheshire
region= North West England
constituency_westminster= Macclesfield
post_town= MACCLESFIELD |postcode_area= SK
postcode_district= SK10 SK11
dial_code= 01625
os_grid_reference= SJ9173

Macclesfield is a market town in Cheshire, England with a population of about 50,688 (2001 census for Macclesfield urban sub-area). It is the largest settlement and administrative centre of the Borough of Macclesfield.


Macclesfield is located in the east of Cheshire, on the River Bollin, a tributary of the River Mersey. It is close to the county borders of Greater Manchester, (to the north), Derbyshire, (to the east) and Staffordshire, (to the south). It is near to the towns of Stockport, (to the north), Buxton, (to the east), which is on the western edge of the Peak District and to Congleton, (to the south). It is 30miles, (45km), to the east of Chester, the county town of Cheshire. To the west of the town lies the Cheshire Plain. The town is most famous for its once thriving silk textile industry, commemorated in the local Silk Museum. Although "Silk Town" seems to be the preferred nickname these days, Macclesfield's traditional local nickname is "Treacle Town"—supposedly from an incident where a merchant spilt a load of treacle on Hibel Road, and the poor rushed out to scoop it off the cobbles. Another, less picturesque, reason has it that the mill-owners used to provide barrels of treacle to the un-employed weavers.Fact|date=February 2007

Macclesfield railway station opened on 1 July 1873.

In 2008, the borough was named by as the fifth happiest of 273 districts in Britain by researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester, who used information on self-reported personal well-being from the British Household Panel Survey. [cite web|url=|title=Britain's happiest places mapped||accessdate=2008-09-02] [cite web|url=|title=A step-by-step ESDS Longitudinal guide: Guide to British Household Panel Survey||accessdate=2008-09-02]

It is the home to furniture store Arighi Bianchi, local football club Macclesfield Town, AstraZeneca, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, The King's School, Macclesfield which dates from the 16th century, the King's Girls School, Macclesfield, a much more recent development and Beech Hall School; all are private schools. [cite web | url= | title = regional GCSE league table] Other local High schools include Fallibroome High School, Tytherington High School, Macclesfield High School and All Hallows Catholic College. The fine Georgian Town Hall was designed by Francis Goodwin in 1823. Present day industries include: pharmaceuticals, textiles, light engineering, paper and plastics.


The Domesday Book lists Macclesfield as "Maclesfeld", whilst in 1183 it was referred to as "Makeslesfeld". [Scholes (2000). page 104.]

It is thought that Macclesfield got its name from "Michael's field" - referring to St. Michael, as in St. Michael's church.

A person from Macclesfield is referred to as a "Maxonian".

The school 'Henbury High School' has now been re-located and re-named to 'Macclesfield High School'


Situated in the ancient Domesday Hundred of Hamestan,cite web|last=Finney|first=Isaac|title=Macklesfelde in ye olden time| url=
] (later, in the hundred of Macclesfield) Macclesfield was granted a borough charter by the Lord Edward, the future King Edward I, in 1261. There is evidence that the borough had originally been founded by Ranulf III, Earl of Chester, early in the thirteenth century. The parish church of St Michael was built in 1278, an extension of a chapel built in approximately 1220. [cite web | title=A History of the Church|work=St. Michael's Macclesfield| url=| accessmonthday=November 28 | accessyear=2006]

The borough had a weekly market, and two annual fairs: the Barnaby fair, was on St Barnabas day (11 June), the other on the feast of All Saints (1 November).

Macclesfield was the administrative centre of the later Hundred of Macclesfield, which occupied most of east Cheshire. [Clayton, D. J. (1990). pages 32, 33.] The Earl of Chester's manor of Macclesfield was very large, and its boundary went as far as Disley. The manor house was situated on the edge of the deer-park, on the west of the town.

In addition, the Earls of Chester had established the forest of Macclesfield, which was much larger than its present-day namesake. It was used for hunting deer, as well as pasturing sheep and cattle. By the end of the thirteenth century, large areas of the forest had been ploughed up because of the pressure of population growth. In 1356, two trees from the forest were gifted to archer William Jauderell to repair his home.

The so-called 'Macclesfield Castle' was a fortified town house built by the dukes of Buckingham in the later Middle Ages.

In the uprising of 1745, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London. The Mayor was forced, reluctantly, to officially welcome the Prince, and this welcome is commemorated in one of the town's famous silk tapestries. [ [ Silk Tapestries of Macclesfield.] Retrieval Date: October 15, 2007.] At one point, Macclesfield was the world's biggest producer of finished silk; now, the four Macclesfield Silk Museums display a huge range of information and products from that period. At one time the silk manufacture was home based but as machinery was introduced large sheds were built to accommodate it and the workers were expected to move into them. Paradise Mill is a working mill museum which demonstrates the art of silk weaving to the public. [ [ Paradise Mill website.] Retrieval Date: October 15, 2007.]

Between 1826 and 1831 the Macclesfield Canal was constructed, [cite web | title=The Macclesfield Canal|author=Tim Boddington| url=| accessmonthday=November 28 |accessyear=2006] linking Macclesfield to Marple to the north and Kidsgrove to the south.

Waters Green was once home to a nationally known horse market which features in the legend of the Wizard of Alderley Edge.

Thornton Square

Thornton Square is situated in a mainly residential area of Macclesfield. In 2002, the square came to national media prominence in the UK as a result of ‘The Thornton Square Affair’ – an eighteen month police operation leading to the issuing of some of the earliest multiple ASBO (anti-social behaviour orders) in respect of five youths accused of being verbally abusive and threatening, stealing from shops, behaving drunkenly and public micturition. The case was subsequently used by a number of UK police forces, including Cumbria and London Metropolitan, as a training case-study and an example of how to run similar operations. [ [ Thornton Square News Report.] "Macclesfield Express". Retrieval Date: March 19, 2008.]

Government and politics

"See also: Macclesfield (UK Parliament constituency), Macclesfield (borough)"

Macclesfield gives its name to a parliamentary constituency which covers the town and the surrounding area. The current MP is Sir Nicholas Winterton, who was first elected in 1971. On a local government level, Macclesfield town hall is the headquarters of Macclesfield Borough Council, which administers the Macclesfield parliamentary constituency and the neighbouring constituency of Tatton. Both the parliamentary seat and the council are held by the Conservatives, who have held the parliamentary seat since the 1918 general election [cite web | title=Safe seats|work=Electoral Reform Society| url=| accessmonthday=November 29 | accessyear=2006] and have held overall control of the council since 1976. [cite web | title=Local elections: Macclesfield|work=BBC News| url=| accessmonthday=November 29 | accessyear=2006]

Twinning with other towns and cities

The entire borough of Macclesfield is twinned with flagicon|GER Eckernförde, Germany. [ [ Details of twinning arrangements.] "Macclesfield Borough Official Website". Retrieval Date: 25 September, 2007.]

Culture and sport

Macclesfield has few cultural amenities; in 2004, research was published in "The Times" naming Macclesfield and its borough the most uncultured town in Britain, based on its lack of theatres, cinemas and other cultural facilities. [cite web | title=Is charming Macclesfield really such a cultural cul-de-sac?|work=The Times| url=,,2-1349485,00.html| accessmonthday=November 29 | accessyear=2006] However, Macclesfield does have a museum which concentrates on the history of the silk industry in the town. [ [ Macclesfield Silk Museums.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008.]

Local newspapers include the Macclesfield Express [ [ Macclesfield Express.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008] and the Community News. [ [ Community News Group.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008] Macclesfield residents have access to Macclesfield Forum, an online message board, for informal discussion of local news and issues. [ [ Macclesfield Forum.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008] The town is also served by two locally-based radio stations: Canalside Community Radio based at the Clarence Mill in Bollington [ [ Canalside Community Radio.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008] , just north of Macclesfield, and Silk FM, a commercial independent radio station with studios in the town. [ [ Silk FM.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008]

The last remaining commercial cinema in Macclesfield closed in 1997. Discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of building a multiplex cinema, [cite web | title=Cinema may replace Tesco and Hughes stores as new star in town|work=Macclesfield Express| url=| accessmonthday=November 29 |accessyear=2006] but similar attempts to build a cinema have thus far been unsuccessful. In 2005 a small scale temporary cinema was set up in the Heritage Centre, and Cinemac [ [ Cinemac.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008.] has since become well established; also based in the Heritage Centre is the Silk Screen arts cinema, [ [ Silk Screen Cinema.] Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008.] which gives fortnightly screenings of art house films. Amateur dramatics is well represented in the town by Macclesfield Amateur Dramatic Society which has run since 1947 and has its own theatre in town; there are three art galleries in Macclesfield; [ [ Art galleries of Macclesfield.] Cheshire County Website. Retrieval Date: October 15, 2007.] Gawsworth Hall hosts an annual Shakespeare festival as well as many arts and music events throughout the year.However, during the recent outlining of plans for the new Macclesfield town centre, a large cinema has been given the go-ahead after many years of pressure from the residents.

Macclesfield has appeared in film: it was used as the location for Sir John Mills' film "So Well Remembered" in 1947. [ [ So Well Remembered.] International Movie database website. Retrieval Date: October 15, 2007.] Some of the locations are still recognisable, such as Hibel Road. A fictionalised version of Macclesfield's railway station appeared in the 2005 football hooliganism film "Green Street". [ [ "Green Street" (US title: "Hooligans")] International Movie Database website. Retrieval Date: October 15, 2007.]

Musically, Macclesfield is best known as the home town of Ian Curtis and Stephen Morris of Joy Division; a memorial to Curtis is located in Macclesfield Crematorium. [cite web | title=Getting to know Dad|work=Macclesfield Express| url=| accessmonthday=November 29 |accessyear=2006] Other Macclesfield acts to have gained recognition include The Macc Lads and Marion. The Macclesfield band Silk Brass have also gone on to receive a National Champion title in the brass band movement in 2003. Since 2004 [ Maccattack Promotions] , and friends, have promoted a flourishing local music scene, with live acts playing at The Queens Hotel, Cuban Knights, The Townhouse and now The Swan With Two Necks.The King Edward Musical Society (KEMS) Orchestra and Macclesfield Light Orchestra both reside and give regular concerts in Macclesfield.

Pub Culture is very much a part of Macclesfield life, past and present. The vast majority of Macclesfield's Pubs, Bars and Restaurants have been documented and reviewed in detail at [ Pub Toilets - Macclesfield] .

In literature, Macclesfield is the second principal location of the fantasy novels "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" and "The Moon of Gomrath" by Alan Garner.

Macclesfield's professional football club, Macclesfield Town, first gained league status in 1997, and currently play in League Two. The club play their home games at the Moss Rose in the south of the town. "Macclesfield RUFC", the town's rugby union club, play in National Division Three (North), the fourth tier of rugby union in England.

Macclesfield's cycling club Macclesfield Wheelers [ [ Macclesfield Wheelers Cycling Club.] "Official website." Retrieval Date: December 16, 2007] is a local club specialising in all forms of cycling activities - from pleasure riding to racing. World famous cyclist Reg Harris produced "Reg Harris" bikes in Macclesfield for 3 years during the 1960s. The local cycling campaign group is known as MaccBUG (Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group). [ [ Macclesfield Borough Bicycle Users Group (MaccBUG).] "Official website." Retrieval Date: October 1, 2007.] Formed in 1999 they campaign for better cycling provision for leisure and utility cyclists.

Macclesfield Chess Club is one of the oldest chess clubs in the country having been founded in 1886. [Furness (1988). page 126.]

In December 2006, Sport England published a survey which revealed that residents of Macclesfield were the 3rd most active in England in sports and other fitness activities. 29.3% of the population participate at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes. [ [ Active People Survey.] "Sport England website". Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008.]


Macclesfield is served by four state high schools; Macclesfield High School, Fallibroome High School, Tytherington High School and All Hallows Catholic College. A fifth public high school, The King's School, also exists.

Notable People

*Ben Amos - Manchester United u19 goalkeeper. Made his debut against Middlesbrough on the 23rd September 2008. Has also been capped by England at youth level.
*Ben Ainslie - Olympic gold medal winning yachtsman: born in Macclesfield 1977
*William Buckley - a convict transported to Australia who escaped and lived with local aborigines for 32 years, until discovered by the man who first settled Melbourne, Australia
*Peter Crouch - England international football player, born in Macclesfield.
*Ian Curtis - Lead vocalist of the band Joy Division, grew up in Macclesfield.
*Stephen Morris - Drummer/Percussion with Joy Division, New Order and The Other Two. He went to school with Ian Curtis.
*Geoff Lloyd - well-known radio DJ for Virgin Radio grew up in Macclesfield.
*John Mayall, OBE - pioneering English blues singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
*Joseph McCabe - rationalist author.
*Peter Moores - Sussex and England Cricket Coach as of May 2007: born and went to school in Macclesfield. [ [ Peter Moores.] "Cricket England website". Retrieval Date: February 16, 2008.]
*Mr. Scruff - British DJ and artist born in Macclesfield.
*The Macc Lads - famous rock group, well known for obscenities in many of their lyrics.
*David Dickinson - Famous for TV Antique programme Bargain Hunt and for his use of the phrases "Cheap as Chips" and "Bobby Dazzler".Fact|date=June 2007
*Nick Robinson - Political editor for the BBC was born in Macclesfield and attended nearby Cheadle Hulme School.
*Vera Brittain - Novelist, pacifist and mother of Shirley Williams. (Lived in Macclesfield from 18 months old until 11 years old.)
*Mr. Methane - Performing flatulist born in Macclesfield.
*Marshall Lancaster - Actor who portrays Chris Skelton in the BBCTV series 'Life On Mars' and 'Ashes To Ashes', born in Macclesfield.
*David Shrigley - The Glasgow based artist was born in the town in 1968, and lived there until 1970. [ [ Biographiy about David Shrigley.] "". Retrieval Date: February 18, 2008.]
*Ephraim Jackson - Indentured for 4 years to a Joseph Hall family from this town, the family moved in a body to Chester County PA USA, where Ephraim, after a visit back to Macclesfield in 1709-1710, became a Quaker leader and patriarch of one of the Jackson lines in this part of Pennsylvania. May be a descendant of the Jacksons of Killingwoldgraves in the East Riding. Source: "The Jackson Family: History of Ephraim Jackson and His Descendants 1684-1960" by Jesse C. Cross, 1961, USA.

ee also

* [ Macclesfield ] An interactive news website for Macclesfield.
*St Michael's Church, Macclesfield
*Christ Church, Macclesfield
*St Alban's Church, Macclesfield
*King Edward Street Chapel, Macclesfield

Notes and references



*cite book|last=Clayton|first=D. J.|date=1990|title=The administration of the county palatine of Chester, 1442—85|publisher=The Chetham Society|location=Manchester, United Kingdom|isbn=0719013437
*cite book|last=Furness|first=R. A.|date=1988|title=The Cheshire Hundred (1888-1988): The centenary history of the Cheshire & North Wales Chess Association|publisher=Cheshire and North Wales Chess Association
*cite book|last=Scholes|first=R|date=2000|title=Towns and villages of Britain: Cheshire|location=Wilmslow, Cheshire|publisher=Sigma Press|isbn=1850586373

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