Located in the county of Cheshire in the north west of the country the town of Congleton lies on the River Dane. The town is close to a Neolithic burial site which indicates that there have been settlements in this area since ancient times and there is evidence of Bronze Age inhabitation as well.
It is believed that Congleton was also once a Roman settlement of some note. The first real mention of the town, however, was in the Domesday Book. By the 1200s the town was given a charter to hold markets and fairs which indicates that it had a significant presence in the region as a whole. The main industries of the area at this time were predominantly agricultural but many people also worked in shoe making, tanning and as drapers and mercers. In some cases people worked the land at the same time that they took on another job.
By the 1600s Congleton got a bit of a reputation in the region due to the bear baiting spectacles that it was licensed to hold. The town had owned a bear but it was (depending on the version of the story that you hear) either on its last legs or dead. So, if the town wished to raise revenues from bear baiting there was a need to buy a new bear but no funds to do so. The town did have a fund to buy a new bible so used that money to buy the bear instead.
Once bear baiting revenues went up the money for the bible purchase was replaced. But, this story went through a system of local Chinese Whispers and other towns in the area spread the rumour that Congleton had sold its town bible to buy the bear. This led to a famous local folk song being written - the Congleton Bear. The local football team, Congleton Town FC, are nicknamed The Bears to this day. Many locals will still call Congleton Beartown on this basis as well.
During the 1700s the town became more industrialised with its first silk mill and cotton spinning mill as well as various weaving factories. By the mid 1800s the town was given access to the railway network between Manchester and London which helped with it progress. The towns’ best known products of this time were probably leather gloves and lace. Nowadays many people move to Congleton and then commute to larger towns and cities such as Manchester.