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Cheshire Plain

Cheshire shown within England

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 a little over one million, 19th highest in England, with a population density of 449 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

Chester Cathedral interior

Chester Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It became the cathedral of the city of Chester in 1541, and has been the centre of worship, administration, ceremony and music for both city and diocese since that date.

A Christian basilica is believed to have occupied the site in the late Roman era, and an abbey church containing a shrine to St Werburgh, patron saint of the city, was destroyed in 1090.

The present cathedral was formerly the abbey church of a Benedictine monastery founded by Hugh Lupus in 1093. The existing building in New Red Sandstone dates from between the foundation and the early 1500s. Monastic buildings survive to the north of the cathedral. Extensive restorations were carried out during the 19th century, notably by George Gilbert Scott, and a free-standing bell tower was added in the 1970s. The site is a major tourist attraction, and the cathedral is used for concerts and exhibitions.

Selected image

Illustration from the poem, 'Pearl', showing the author as the father (left)

The 14th-century author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl, among other poems, wrote in the Cheshire dialect. He is believed to have been a native of east Cheshire or west Staffordshire, perhaps a member of the Massey family. This illustration from the Pearl manuscript shows the author (left) in the role of the father.

Credit: Unknown (14th century)

Selected list

Wrenbury Frith Bridge

Of the over 200 Scheduled Monuments in Cheshire, at least 34 date from after 1539, the end of the medieval period. Monuments are defined as sites deliberately constructed by human activity; some sites not visible above ground. They were formerly called "scheduled ancient monuments" but as they include structures dating from as late as the 1940s and 1950s, the word "ancient" has been dropped. They range in date from the early post-medieval period, through the Industrial Revolution, to the 20th century.

Early post-medieval monuments tend to be similar in type to those from the medieval period, namely moats or moated sites and churchyard crosses. Unusual post-medieval structures include a dovecote and a duck decoy. Many structures dating from the Industrial Revolution relate to the canal network, including the Anderton Boat Lift and several canal locks and bridges (example pictured). Industrial sites include the Lion Salt Works, the remains of a mine and a transporter bridge within a factory. The structures dating from the 20th century were constructed for the World Wars or the Cold War. They consist of a former Royal Air Force airfield and the remains of three sites for anti-aircraft guns.

In the news

8 January: Plans for sand extraction from farmland at Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, are approved by Cheshire West and Chester council.

15 December: A Cheshire Constabulary police constable is jailed for 25 years for the rape of a 13-year-old girl he met in the course of his police duties.

15 December: Visitors are evacuated from Chester Zoo because of a fire in the roof of the Monsoon Forest area.

11 December: Simon Byrne, the former Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary who was suspended in 2017 after allegations of bullying, is cleared of misconduct.

7 December: The headstone is unveiled at the previously unmarked grave in Halton village of Edith Smith, the first woman police officer to be granted power of arrest.

30 November: A property developer is fined after carrying out unauthorised demolition and other works to the grade-II*-listed Aston Park, Aston by Budworth, described by Cheshire East council as "reckless vandalism".

28 November: A five-year programme to vaccinate badgers against bovine tuberculosis begins near Northwich, in an attempt to control the spread of the cattle disease without culling.


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 • Darnhall Abbey • 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: Bridgewater Canal • Chester Canal • Manchester Ship CanalFeatured article • Northern EnglandFeatured 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 • Levi Mackin • One Direction • Peter, Abbot of Vale Royal • 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

John Vanbrugh by Godfrey Kneller (c.1704–10)

Sir John Vanbrugh (1664 – 26 March 1726) was an English architect and dramatist. Born in London, he grew up in Chester. As a young man and a committed Whig, he was involved in a plot to overthrow James II, put William III on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy. His actions led to his imprisonment as a political prisoner in the Bastille.

As an architect, Vanbrugh created what came to be known as English Baroque. He designed Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. His architectural work was bold and daring, and jarred conservative opinions on the subject.

His two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697) have become enduring stage favourites, although they originally occasioned much controversy. Vanbrugh offended many sections of Restoration and 18th century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but also by their messages in defence of women's rights in marriage.

Did you know...

Statue of Ludwig Mond
  • ...that the statues of Ludwig Mond (pictured) and John Brunner stand next to each other in the grounds of the factory they founded?

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.


Chester is a glorious ancient city with a rare elegance in its beautifully preserved old buildings. A sense that all England's history is encapsulated here in its broad, cobbled, enchanting streets and from its 2000 year old walls to the awesome cathedral. Yet it is surprisingly young and lively. A living city with a zing in the air, yet mature and relaxed, a city that knows itself to be happy in its skin. This is the city I grew up in and loved.

From Life of Dickens by Graham Laud (1939)



 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 | Warrington | Wilmslow
 Sport &  Recreation SPORTING TEAMS | 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. | 1874 Northwich 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, Health &  Services SCHOOLS | UNIVERSITIES | Manchester Metropolitan University | University of Chester | HEALTH | Countess of Chester Hospital | Leighton Hospital | 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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