Did you know Leiden museum has a similar Roman mirror to Whitchurch Heritage Centre ?

On display at Whitchurch Heritage Centre is a Roman mirror. It was found in the 1970s near the junction of Sedgford and Edgeley Road.

One of our volunteers, Abi Taylor, is studying for her master’s degree in Leiden, Holland and visited the local musem (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden). There she spied a Roman mirror very similar to ours.

Spot the similarities


Mirror on display at Whitchurch


Mirror on display at Leiden

Mirror on display at Leiden

Did you know that Whitchurch workhouse had a cow that produced butter ?

This snippet appeared in the July 1813 edition of the Monthly Magazine & British Register

Monthly Magazine & British Register vol 35 - Copy

Presumably the cow produced milk first !

It takes around 22 pints of milk to make one pound of butter. So this particular cow would have produced around 33 gallons of milk per week. This must have been an unusually large amount 200 years ago (before the days of intense dairy farming) to warrant the article..

Did you know there were highwaymen on the roads near Whitchurch in 1698 ?

Celia Fiennes made several journeys around England between 1682 and 1712 and recorded her travels in diaries.

In 1698 she visited Whitchurch and her diary describes an encounter with highwaymen on the road from Beeston.

17th century highwayman

17th century highwayman

“There I think I may say was ye only time I had reason to suspect I was Engaged wth some highway men. 2 fellows all on a sudden from ye wood fell into ye Road, they Looked trussed up with great Coates and as it were bundles about them which I believe was pistols, but they dogged me one before ye other behind and would often Look back to Each other, and frequently jostled my horse out of ye way to get between one of my servants horses and mine, and when they first came up to us did disown their knowledge of ye way and would often stay a little behind and talk together, then come up again, but the providence of God so ordered it as there was men at work in ye fields haymaking, and it being market day at Whitchurch as I drew near to it in 3 or 4 miles was continually met with some of ye market people, so they at last called each other off and so left us and turned back; but as they rode with us 3 or 4 miles at last they described the places we should come by, and a high pillar finely painted in ye Road about 3 mile off of Whitchurch (which accordingly we saw as we passed on) which showed them no strangers to ye Road as they at first pretended.”



Did you know that a picture hanging in Whitchurch Heritage Centre is part of the BBC’s ‘Your Paintings’ project ?

‘The Recognition’  is the largest painting hanging in the Caldecott Gallery. It is an oil painting by Randolph Caldecott which was given to the old Whitchurch Museum by a local benefactor, Mr E.P. Thompson.

The Recognition

To view a larger image visit the BBC website


Did you know that The Beatles Played in Whitchurch 50 Years ago?

The Beetles







On the 19th January 1963 The Beatles played the Town Hall Ballroom in Whitchurch. This was the same day as their important appearance ITV’s ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars‘ they played just one song on the TV show this was ‘Please Please Me’.

Information from The Beatles Bible

This version of the song is from their first tour of America

Did you know that Whitchurch played a crucial role in a notorious eighteenth century divorce case?

In 1769 the Duke of Cumberland was sued by Lord Grosvenor for adultery with Lady Grosvenor. The evidence given in the divorce case was widely publicised, including what happened at Whitchurch.

1770 print for The Oxford Magazine

Employees from the Red Lyon in High Street, where the couple were alleged to have had ‘criminal conversation’, were called upon to give evidence.

These witnesses included the eighteen year old grand-daughter of the keeper of the Red Lyon Inn, Mary Spencer, as well as the chambermaid Jane Richardson and her husband Joseph, the ostler.

Copies of their depositions can be seen at this google books site.

Did you know Whitchurch had a race course in the 18th & 19th centuries

There are references to horse racing taking place in the Whitchurch area from the beginning of the eighteenth century until the middle of the nineteenth. Racing was originally on the flat and took place on Prees Heath, although there was not a designated race track. Generally the races were 2 or 3 day events, and depended upon local gentry to organise the event and fund the prizes. Find out more information here.