The further you look into the history of Macclesfield, the more astonished you find yourself.
With the town’s original industry being silk, there is a rich heritage and community pride still observable to date.
But…did you know Macclesfield had a castle?!
Built by John de Macclesfield in 1398, an aid to the then English King, Richard II, the castle stood with a walled garden and grounds of a quarter-acre. At one point it also boasted a brewery, pharmacy, kennels, stables and servants’ quarters!
When John de Macclesfield died, the castle passed to his son, before the line of Dukes of Buckingham took possession until the late 16th century, when the Earls of Derby took ownership.
Falling into a state of some disrepair in the 17th century, the medieval mansion was divided into tenements.
So is it a possibility that these tunnels may exist under Macclesfield?!
An antique dealer became the ‘gatekeeper’ to 600 years of Maxonian history after buying nine ancient keys.
It is believed that all nine are the original keys to the town’s long-disappeared medieval castle.
None of the original castle, or castellated mansion as it has been described, remains, but it once proudly stood on the site of Marks and Spencer on Mill Street and is thought there is a piece of the castle within the town hall, but nothing else.
At the back of this site in 1933 there were still the remains of one of the castle towers. They say there were eight turrets and nine castle gates.
When the owner was negotiating to sell the site to Marks and Spencer, an association was formed to save what was left. But much of the rock was unfortunately taken away and crushed in a lime pit. However the association, led by local history enthusiast Christine Wragg, persuaded the shopping chain to let them excavate the foundations before they built there – which they did for three solid months.
A large amount of interesting artefacts were found, possibly including the nine keys. Those involved said there are still tunnels under some of the shops in the town centre which once linked to the castle and maybe some of the keys were to internal doors.
Chestergate, Jordangate, Backwallgate and Churchwallgate are just some of the names once home to keys and still familiar to Maxonians today.
What do you think? Far fetched or an amazing story?