Middlewich can be found in north west England in the county of Cheshire. The town is part of the Borough of Congleton and lies close to Northwich and Winsford on the confluence of the rivers Croc, Wheelock and Dane. The Shropshire Union Canal, Wardle Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal also run through and around the town. It is thought that people have settled in the Middlewich area since at least Roman times.
The ‘wich’ in the name Middlewich is usually given to refer to the salt production that takes place in the area. The ‘wich’ or ‘wych’ was the term used to refer to a spring or well that produced brine that could be used to make salt. So towns that ended in this suffix would often be centres of salt production. The original spelling of Middlewich (as seen in the Domesday Book) was Mildestvich.
The Romans called the town Salinae, again because of the salt deposits that could be mined here and this became a major salt manufacturing site for the Romans for many years. During Norman times the local area was ruled by Gilbert de Venables, the Baron of Kinderton. He built a manor house close to the town. The town also saw action in the English Civil War - in 1643 there were two significant battles here.
Salt production remained the main focus of the town for centuries. Middlewich was also once renowned for its production of Cheshire cheese and the town also had strong industrial links with chemical industries and silk and cotton manufacturing. Agriculture also played an important role in the town and its surrounding areas. Today salt is still manufactured in the town by British Salt although the industry here no longer employs the large numbers of local people that it has done historically. One of the largest employers in Middlewich at the moment is the Ideal Standard company that makes china sanitary ware.
Many people come to Middlewich today for a canal related reason. This is actually one of the most consistent reasons that tourists visit Cheshire as a whole. The Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival is a particularly popular time to visit the town. This festival is generally held every year and mixes folk music performances with a gathering of canal boat enthusiasts.
Middlewich also holds a Roman festival on an ad hoc basis every few years.
The town also has a Roman type theatre which was built in the early 2000s. The town uses this theatre for various purposes during the year including ice skating and open air theatre. Many people recommend a visit to the church of St Michael and All Angels in Middlewich. Parts of the church can be traced back to the 12th to 16th centuries.