Northwich is a Wich town in Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain at the confluence of the River Weaver and River Dane. The area around it has been exploited for its salt pans since the Roman period, when the settlement was known as Condate.
The town has been severely affected by salt mining with subsidence being a large issue. However, recent investment in mine stabilisation is set to change the town with the 'Northwich Vision' providing a roadmap for a programme of development work into the future.
During Roman times Northwich was known as Condate. There is archealogical evidence of a Roman auxiliary fort within the area of Castle dated to 70AD. This and other North West forts were built as the Romans moved north from their stronghold in Chester. The fort at Northwich is thought to have been built to due to the strategic river crossing of the Weaver and the presence of the brine springs.
Salt was very important in Roman society. The Roman word salarium, linked employment, salt and soldiers, but the exact link is unclear. It is also theorised that this is the basis for the modern word salary. Another theory is that the word soldier itself comes from the Latin sal dare (to give salt). See History of salt for further details.
The Romans used lead salt pans to extract the salt from the brine. Salt pans and 1st Century brine kilns have all been found around the roman fort.