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Cheshire Plain

Cheshire showing four unitary authorities

Cheshire is a ceremonial county in the North West of England. Chester is the county town, and formerly gave its name to the county. The largest town is Warrington, and other major towns include Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Macclesfield, Northwich, Runcorn, Sandbach, Widnes, Wilmslow and Winsford. The county is administered as four unitary authorities.

Cheshire occupies a boulder clay plain (pictured) which separates the hills of North Wales from the Peak District of Derbyshire. The county covers an area of 2,343 km2 (905 sq mi), with a high point of 559 m (1,834 ft) elevation. The estimated population is 1,028,600, 19th highest in England, with a population density of 439 people per km2.

The county was created in around 920, but the area has a long history of human occupation dating back to before the last Ice Age. Deva was a major Roman fort, and Cheshire played an important part in the Civil War. Predominantly rural, the county is historically famous for the production of Cheshire cheese, salt and silk. During the 19th century, towns in the north of the county were pioneers of the chemical industry, while Crewe became a major railway junction and engineering facility.

Selected article

Model of Deva Victrix

Deva Victrix (also known as Deva) was a Roman legionary fortress and town on the site of the modern city of Chester. The fortress was built by the Roman legion Legio II Adiutrix in the AD 70s as the Roman army advanced north against the Brigantes. Covering 62 acres (25 hectares), it contained barracks, granaries, military headquarters, military baths, and an unusual elliptical building that might have acted as the governor of Britain's headquarters.

The fortress was rebuilt in stone at the end of the 1st century AD when it was occupied by the Legio XX Valeria Victrix, and again in the early 3rd century. The legion probably remained at the fortress until it fell into disuse in the late 4th or early 5th century.

A civilian settlement grew around the fortress and remained after the Romans withdrew. Peripheral settlements included Boughton, the source of the garrison's water supply, and Handbridge, the site of a sandstone quarry and the Minerva Shrine, the only in situ, rock-cut Roman shrine in Britain. Chester Roman Amphitheatre is the largest known military amphitheatre in Britain, seating 8,000 to 10,000 people.

Selected picture

Stanlow Refinery, Ellesmere Port

Stanlow Refinery at Ellesmere Port, near the River Mersey, has its origins in a small bitumen plant established in 1924. The complex now employs 800 people and handles 12 million tonnes of crude oil annually.

Credit: Peter Gordois (24 October 2006)

Selected list

Sandbach Crosses

Of the over 200 Scheduled Monuments in Cheshire, at least 84 date from before 1066, the start of the Medieval period. Monuments are defined as sites deliberately constructed by human activity; some sites not visible above ground. Scheduled archaeological sites range from prehistoric standing stones and burial sites, through Roman remains, to the Saxon period.

The oldest Scheduled Monument is believed to be The Bridestones, a Neolithic long cairn. The monument at Somerford is also thought to have been a long cairn and there is evidence of a Neolithic settlement at Tatton. The Bronze Age is the period most strongly represented during this timeframe with 44 monuments, predominantly round barrows. Eleven Iron Age hillforts or promontory forts are scheduled. The Roman occupation left parts of Chester city walls, the remains of settlements at Heronbridge and Wilderspool, and several definite or possible Roman military camps. The Dark Age and Saxon monuments consist mainly of portions of crosses, including the Sandbach Crosses (pictured). There is also evidence of Saxon occupation of villages, now deserted, at Tatton and Baddiley.

In this month

Fiddlers Ferry Power Station

1 January 1894: Manchester Ship Canal first opened to traffic.

2 January 1644: Dorfold Hall taken by Royalist forces during the Civil War.

3 January 1866: Crewe Hall gutted by fire.

13 January 1984: A cooling tower at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station (pictured) collapsed in high winds.

17 January 1644: Royalist forces attacked Nantwich during the Civil War.

20 January 1540: Dissolution of St Werburgh's Abbey.

20 January 1971: Singer–songwriter Gary Barlow born in Frodsham.

24 January 1909: Film star Ann Todd born in Hartford.

25 January 1837: Fire damaged the new wing of Vale Royal Abbey.

26 January 1644: Battle of Nantwich.

27 January 1832: Author and mathematician Lewis Carroll born in Daresbury.

27 January 1941: Cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley born in Chester.

28 January 1643: First battle of Nantwich.


Cheshire West and Chester Cheshire East Cheshire East Cheshire East Halton WarringtonCheshire unitary number.png
About this image

The ceremonial county of Cheshire is administered by four unitary authorities (click on the map for details):

1 – Cheshire West and Chester

2 – Cheshire East

3 – Warrington

4 – Halton

In the local government reorganisation of 1974, Cheshire gained an area formerly in Lancashire including Widnes and Warrington. The county lost Tintwistle to Derbyshire, part of the Wirral Peninsula to Merseyside, and a northern area including Stockport, Altrincham, Sale, Hyde, Dukinfield and Stalybridge to Greater Manchester.

Recommended articles

Places: Bradwall • Middlewich • Runcorn • Widnes

Sights: Adlington Hall • All Saints' Church, Runcorn • Beeston Castle • Capesthorne Hall • Chester Cathedral • Chester Rows • Cholmondeley Castle • Churche's Mansion • Crewe Hall • Eaton Hall • Gawsworth Old Hall • Halton Castle • Jodrell Bank Observatory • Little Moreton HallFeatured article • Lovell Telescope • Lyme Park • Norton PrioryFeatured article • Peckforton Castle • Rode Hall • St Mary's Church, Acton • St Mary's Church, Astbury • St Mary's Church, Nantwich • St Mary's Church, Nether Alderley • Tabley House

History: Battle of Brunanburh • Battle of Rowton Heath • Deva Victrix • Eddisbury hill fort • Lindow ManFeatured article • Maiden Castle

Geography & Transport: A500 road • Bridgewater Canal • Chester Canal • Manchester Ship CanalFeatured article • Peak District • River Weaver

People: Jonathan AgnewFeatured article • Ben Amos • Adrian BoultFeatured article • Thomas Brassey • Neil BrooksFeatured article • Sir John Brunner, 1st Baronet • James ChadwickFeatured article • Djibril Cissé • Daniel Craig • John DouglasFeatured article • Rowland Egerton-Warburton • Thomas Harrison • Reginald HeberFeatured article • Eddie Johnson • Margaret Ursula Jones • One Direction • Plegmund • Joseph PriestleyFeatured article • Mark Roberts • Nick Robinson • Edmund SharpeFeatured article • Robert Tatton • Alan Turing • William Windsor

Lists: CastlesFeatured article • Church restorations, amendments and furniture by John DouglasFeatured article • Grade I listed churchesFeatured article • Houses and associated buildings by John DouglasFeatured article • Listed buildings in Runcorn (rural area)Featured article • Listed buildings in Runcorn (urban area)Featured article • Listed buildings in WidnesFeatured article • New churches by John DouglasFeatured article • Non-ecclesiastical and non-residential works by John DouglasFeatured article

Selected biography

Alan Turing memorial statue in Sackville Park, by Glyn Hughes (2001)

Alan Mathison Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist. He was influential in the development of computer science and providing a formalisation of the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, playing a significant role in the creation of the modern computer.

During World War II, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, devising techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. He later worked at the National Physical Laboratory, creating one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE. He joined the University of Manchester in 1948, developing software for the Manchester Mark 1.

Turing's homosexuality resulted in criminal prosecution in 1952. As an alternative to imprisonment, he accepted chemical castration. He committed suicide at his home in Wilmslow in 1954. In 2009, Gordon Brown officially apologised on behalf of the government for Turing's treatment, and in 2013, Turing was granted a royal pardon.

Did you know...

Photograph of a three-storey black-and-white shop building on an angle in the street.

In the news

14 October: Mersey Gateway opens to traffic.

20 July: Work begins to reopen Halton Curve at Runcorn to provide a direct rail link between North Wales, Chester and Liverpool.

1 July: Runcorn Shopping Centre has changed its name back to its original name of Runcorn Shopping City.

29 June: Alstom opened the UK's largest train modernisation facility in Widnes.

9 June: In the general election, the Labour party gains Crewe and Nantwich, Warrington South and Weaver Vale and holds City of Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston, Halton and Warrington North, while the Conservative party retains Congleton, Eddisbury, Macclesfield and Tatton.

11 May: Chester Storyhouse, a new theatre, cinema and library complex, opens in a grade-II-listed, Art Deco former cinema.

26 April: Esther McVey is selected as the Conservative candidate for the constituency of Tatton.

20 April: The North Approach Viaduct to the Mersey Gateway is completed.

19 April: George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and recently appointed editor of the London Evening Standard, decides not to stand for re-election to the constituency of Tatton.


Before the advent of the London and North Western and the establishment of its works there was no Crewe. Let the London and North Western depart tomorrow, and Crewe would perish out of the list of living towns as completely as Nineveh or Pompeii. The grass would grow in its streets, its houses would stand in empty rows, its churches would become nesting places for the rooks and owls, its people would fly from it; and pasture fields for sheep and oxen, dotted with, perhaps, half a dozen peasant homesteads, would take the place of one of the most progressive and flourishing towns of modern England.

From "The King of Crewe" in Crewe Chronicle (1902)

Newest articles



 Towns &  Districts CHESHIRE | PLACES | CIVIL PARISHES | Alsager | Bollington | Chester | Congleton | Crewe | Ellesmere Port | Frodsham | Knutsford | Lymm | Macclesfield | Middlewich | Nantwich | Neston | Northwich | Poynton | Runcorn | Sandbach | Warrington | Widnes | Wilmslow | Winsford | Wirral
 Geography &  Ecology GEOLOGY | Cheshire Plain | Geology of Alderley Edge | HILLS | Bickerton Hill | Peckforton Hills | Shining Tor | Shutlingsloe | Tegg's Nose | Windgather Rocks | RIVERS & LAKES | Lamaload Reservoir | River Bollin | River Dane | River Dean | River Dee | River Gowy | River Goyt | River Mersey | River Weaver | SITES OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST | Cheshire Wildlife Trust | rECOrd | WOODLAND | Delamere Forest | Macclesfield Forest | Northwich Community Woodlands
 History HISTORY | TIMELINE | Ancient parishes | History of Chester | Deva Victrix | History of Middlewich | History of salt in Middlewich | History of Northwich | History of Sandbach | Forests of Mara and Mondrem | ARCHAEOLOGY | SCHEDULED MONUMENTS: Pre-1066 | 1066–1539 | Post-1539 | Bridestones | Chester Roman Amphitheatre | Eddisbury hill fort | Lindow Man | Maiden Castle | Sandbach Crosses | MILITARY HISTORY | Battle of Brunanburh | Battle of Chester | First Battle of Middlewich | Battle of Nantwich | Battle of Rowton Heath | Bunbury Agreement | Cheshire Regiment | RAF Burtonwood | RAF Hooton Park | RAF Ringway
 Sights PLACES OF INTEREST | CASTLES | Beeston Castle | Chester Castle | Cholmondeley Castle | Halton Castle | HISTORIC BUILDINGS | Adlington Hall | Arley Hall | Combermere Abbey | Dorfold Hall | Eaton Hall | Gawsworth Old Hall | Little Moreton Hall | Lyme Park | Norton Priory | Tatton Park | MUSEUMS & VISITOR ATTRACTIONS | Anderton Boat Lift | Anson Engine Museum | Blue Planet Aquarium | Catalyst Science Discovery Centre | Chester Zoo | Crewe Heritage Centre | Cuckooland Museum | Grosvenor Museum | Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker | Jodrell Bank Observatory | Lion Salt Works | National Waterways Museum | Quarry Bank Mill | Stretton Watermill | Weaver Hall Museum  | PUBLIC PARKS | Grosvenor Park | Marbury Park | Ness Botanic Gardens | Queens Park
 Architecture ARCHITECTURE | Norman architecture | LISTED BUILDINGS | Grade I listed churches | Non-ecclesiastical grade I listed buildings outside Chester | Chester | Congleton | Frodsham | Great Budworth | Knutsford | Lymm | Macclesfield | Nantwich | Runcorn | Sandbach | Wilmslow | Warrington
 Sport &  Recreation SPORTING TEAMS | 1874 Northwich F.C. | Alsager Town F.C. | Chester F.C. | Chester City F.C. | Cheshire County Cricket Club | Cheshire Phoenix | Crewe Alexandra F.C. | Crewe Railroaders | Macclesfield Town F.C. | Nantwich Town F.C. | Northwich Victoria F.C. | Runcorn Linnets F.C. | Vauxhall Motors F.C. | Warrington Town F.C. | Warrington Wolves | Widnes Vikings | Winsford United F.C. | Witton Albion F.C. | SPORTING VENUES | Chester Racecourse | Oulton Park | County Cricket Club grounds | RECREATION | Scouting | Walks
 Economy ECONOMY | Cheshire cheese | Cheshire Show | Crewe Railway Works | Salt | Silk | Textile mills 
 Transport BUSES | Arriva | CANALS | Cheshire Ring | Bridgewater Canal | Ellesmere Canal | Llangollen Canal | Macclesfield Canal | Manchester Ship Canal | Shropshire Union Canal | RAIL | Birkenhead Railway | Chester–Manchester Line | Crewe railway station | Crewe–Derby Line | Crewe–Manchester Line | Ellesmere Port–Warrington Line | Mid-Cheshire Line | Welsh Marches Line | ROADS | A34 | A41 | A49 | A50 | A56 | A500 | A537 | A556 | M6 | M53 | M56
 Governance  UNITARY AUTHORITIES | Cheshire East | Cheshire West and Chester | Halton | Warrington | PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCIES | EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
 Education &  Services SCHOOLS | UNIVERSITIES | Manchester Metropolitan University | University of Chester | SERVICES | Fire and Rescue | Police | United Utilities
 Culture &  Media LITERATURE | Cheshire Cat | Cheshire dialect | THEATRE | The Brindley | Lyceum Theatre | NEWSPAPERS | Chester Chronicle | Crewe Chronicle | RADIO | BBC Radio Manchester | BBC Radio Merseyside | BBC Radio Stoke
 Religion RELIGION | CHURCHES | Bishop of Chester | Chester Cathedral | Diocese of Chester | Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury

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Cheshire on Wikimedia Commons  Cheshire on Wikivoyage  Cheshire on Wikisource  Cheshire on Wiktionary
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