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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 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

Macclesfield Forest and Trentabank Reservoir in the Peak District

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.

Selected picture

Arley Hall, near Lymm

Arley Hall, near Lymm, is the seat of Viscount Ashbrook. The original 15th-century timber-framed building was replaced in the 19th century by a brick hall, designed by Nantwich architect George Latham and modelled on various Elizabethan buildings.

Credit: Pixie2000 (26 October 2006)

Selected list

St Michael's Church, Baddiley

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.

In this month

Gravestone of A. N. Hornby at St Mary's, Acton

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.


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 • 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 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 Chadwick • Djibril Cissé • Daniel Craig • John DouglasFeatured article • Rowland Egerton-Warburton • Thomas Harrison • Reginald HeberFeatured article • Eddie Johnson • 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

The freeze-dried body of Lindow Man

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.

Did you know...

St John's Church, High Legh

In the news

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.

Description of Chester city walls, from The Ambassadors by Henry James (1909)

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 | 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 | 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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