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.
The Peak District is an upland area of England that forms the southern end of the Pennines. Lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, the region also covers the east of Cheshire as well as several other counties. Most of the area falls within the Peak District National Park, the first National Park in England and Wales to be designated and, as of 2010, the fifth largest.
The Cheshire region forms part of the South West Peak area of the Dark Peak, whose gritstone and shale supports heather moorland and blanket bog environments. Rough sheep pasture and grouse shooting are the main land uses. Features include the hills and edges of Shining Tor, Shutlingsloe, Tegg's Nose, The Cloud and Windgather Rocks, the Dane, Dean and Goyt rivers, and the woodland of Macclesfield Forest.
Tourism forms a major part of the economy. Recreational activities include walking, climbing, fell running, orienteering, horse riding, cycling, hang gliding, paragliding and birdwatching on the fells; sailing, fishing and canoeing on reservoirs such as Lamaload; and visiting historic houses such as Lyme Park. With an estimated 22 million visitors per year, the Peak District is the second most-visited national park in the world.
A total of 43 churches and chapels in Cheshire are listed at grade I. Although Christian churches have existed in the county since the Anglo-Saxon era, no significant Saxon features remain in its listed churches. Surviving Norman architecture is found, notably in Chester Cathedral and St John the Baptist, Chester.
Most churches in this list are in the Gothic style, dating between the 13th and the 17th centuries, predominantly in the Perpendicular style. There are some examples of Neoclassical architecture, including St Peter, Aston-by-Sutton, and St Peter, Congleton. The only buildings dating from a later period are Waterhouse's Eaton Chapel in French Rayonnant style, and Bodley's Church of St Mary at Eccleston, in Gothic Revival style, both from the 19th century.
Major building materials are the local sandstone and limestone. A handful of timber-framed churches survive, some of which have been encased in brick; examples include St Michael, Baddiley (pictured), St Luke, Holmes Chapel, St Oswald, Lower Peover, and St James and St Paul, Marton.
1 December 1906: Carnegie Library, Runcorn officially opened.
6 December 1891: Rowland Egerton-Warburton died at Arley Hall.
8 December 1665: Civil War diarist Edward Burghall died at Alpraham.
9 December 1836: Dutton Viaduct completed.
10 December 1583: Great Fire of Nantwich started.
13 December 1643: Siege of Nantwich started.
14 December 1979: Footballer Michael Owen born in Chester.
17 December 1925: Cricketer A. N. Hornby (gravestone pictured) died in Nantwich.
17 December 1973: Long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe born in Davenham.
19 December 1572: Landlord of Nantwich's Crown Inn murdered; the investigation involved many among the town's gentry.
22 December 1643: Royalist forces occupied Audlem, Brindley, Buerton, Hankelow, Hatherton, Hurleston, Stoke and Wrenbury during the Civil War.
23 December 1642: Bunbury Agreement drawn up.
24 December 1643: Twelve Parliamentarians massacred at St Bertoline's Church, Barthomley.
26 December 1643: Second Battle of Middlewich during the Civil War.
26 December 1962: Train crash at Coppenhall, between Crewe and Winsford, killed 18 people and injured 34.
29 December 1940: Air raid badly damaged the Crewe Rolls Royce works and killed 16 employees.
Lindow Man, sometimes called Pete Marsh, is a naturally preserved bog body of an Iron Age man, discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Mobberley in 1984. The body has been preserved by freeze drying and is usually on display at the British Museum.
Lindow Man was a healthy male in his mid-20s, perhaps someone of high status, such as a druid, as his body has manicured fingernails and shows little evidence of heavy or rough work. He would have stood around 5'7" (1.7 m) tall and have weighed about 132 pounds (60 kg). He had healthy teeth but was suffering from slight osteoarthritis and an infestation of whipworm and maw worm. The body retains a trimmed beard, moustache and sideburns of brown hair, and was naked apart from a fox-fur armband.
The nature of his death was violent, possibly ritualistic. After a last, charred meal, he was strangled, hit on the head, and his throat was cut. His body was deposited into Lindow Moss, face down, in around March or April some time between 2 BC to 119 AD.
12 December: Para-cyclist Sophie Thornhill is one of the finalists of the BBC Young Sports Personality 2014.
4 December: Bentley announces a new R&D centre at its Crewe headquarters, with the creation of 300 jobs.
3 December: A new Cognitive Computing Research Centre is announced in Daresbury.
2 December: "Catafalque for Anton Bruckner", a 1981 bronze by Michael Sandle, is donated to the Grosvenor Museum in Chester.
19 November: The Carbon Landscape project to enhance wildlife corridors between Cheshire and Manchester wetlands is announced.
18 November: Funding is announced for conservation projects in the south-west Peak District.
3 November: Congleton wins a gold medal in the 2014 Britain in Bloom awards.
8 August: Norton Priory receives a grant of £3.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop its museum.
5 August: Chester Zoo is rated the top zoo in the UK, and the second in Europe, in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travellers' Choice Awards.
3 August: A statue of "Todger" Jones, VC, DCM is unveiled in the Memorial Garden, Runcorn.
The tortuous wall—girdle, long since snapped, of the little swollen city, half held in place by careful civic hands—wanders in narrow file between parapets smoothed by peaceful generations, pausing here and there for a dismantled gate or a bridged gap, with rises and drops, steps up and steps down, queer twists, queer contacts, peeps into homely streets and under the brows of gables, views of cathedral tower and waterside fields, of huddled English town and ordered English country.
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