The MERLIN radio telescope, Darnhall
Darnhall shown within Cheshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Cheshire West and Chester|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Darnhall is a civil parish and small village to the south west of Winsford in the Borough of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire in England. It has a population of 214, increasing to 232 at the 2011 Census.
The Norman Earls of Chester had a hunting lodge or summer palace at Darnhall in Over parish. There was an enclosed area where deer and wild boar were kept to be hunted by the Earl and his guests. It was there that the last earl met his death in 1237. It was rumoured that his wife, Helen the daughter of Llywelyn the Great, had poisoned him in order to favour the powerful aristocrat that her daughter had married. However, King Henry III annexed the title and its lands and even spent time at Darnhall. After the Second Barons' War, the Ash Brook was dammed to drive three water mills and to make pools to keep fish. In 1270 at the behest of his son, Henry III gave Darnhall to the Cistercians, who built an abbey in 1274 on the north bank of the new lake. However the land was not suitable for the grand scale of building envisaged, and the locals were not cooperative, so the monks left Darnhall to found Vale Royal Abbey in Whitegate in 1281.
The first mention of a priest is in 1307 when a Thomas de Dutton is mentioned, but it is uncertain if this was at St Chad's in Winsford or as a chaplain at Darnhall, or both. The church and responsibility for the parish was given to St Mary's Convent in Chester, who appointed the priests in charge.
A small area near the eastern boundary of the civil parish falls within the Weaver Valley Area of Special County Value. The parish includes Darnhall Wood, part of the Wettenhall And Darnhall Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, together with woodland in the adjacent Wettenhall parish.
Darnhall is home to one of the radio telescopes that make up the Jodrell Bank MERLIN (Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network) radio telescope array linking six observing stations that together form a powerful telescope with an effective aperture of over 217 kilometres.
- Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish headcounts : Vale Royal Retrieved 2009-12-14
- "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- Curzon, J. Brian. It's All Over (2006)
- Natural England: Wettenhall And Darnhall Woods (accessed 16 April 2010)
- Natural England: Nature on the Map: Wettenhall & Darnhall Woods SSSI (accessed 16 April 2010)
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