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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 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

Narrowboats just to the Northwich side of the Big Lock, Middlewich

Middlewich is one of the four Cheshire wich towns. Founded by the Romans under the name Salinae, it was a major Roman site of salt production, and salt manufacture remains an important local industry. Middlewich has also been known historically for silk and agriculture.

The town lies on the confluence of a number of natural and man-made features: the Rivers Dane, Croco and Wheelock; the Shropshire Union and Trent and Mersey Canals; and the A533, A54 and A530 roads. The parish church, St. Michael and All Angels, dates back to the 12th century.

In common with other towns within mid-Cheshire, the good motorway and road links have seen a large influx of people since 1970, doubling the population of Middlewich to around 14,000. Events such as the annual folk and boat festival, and the Roman and Norman festivals have helped to boost tourism in the town.

Selected image

Chimney-piece from Tabley Old Hall

The chimney-piece from Tabley Old Hall, now ruinous, is displayed at nearby Tabley House. It dates from 1619, and is in painted and gilded wood, with carvings including statues of Lucretia, Cleopatra and a female nude reclining on a skull.

Credit: Peter I. Vardy (April 2010)

Selected list

Part of the north wall of Chester, showing Morgan's Mount

Chester city walls surround the medieval extent of Chester. The circuit of the walls extends for 2 miles (3 km), rises to a height of 40 feet (12.2 m), and "is the most complete circuit of Roman and medieval defensive town wall in Britain." The walls and associated structures are a scheduled monument, and almost all parts are listed, mainly at grade I.

The walls originated between 70 and 90 AD as defences for the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix. The earliest walls were earth ramparts surmounted by wooden palisades, with wooden gates and towers. Rebuilding in sandstone started at the end of the 1st century and took over 100 years. The existing circuit was completed by the end of the 12th century. The four main gates were replaced during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

By the 18th century the walls were becoming popular as a promenade, and £1,000 (equivalent to £150,000 in 2016) was spent in 1707 on repairs and paving the footway. Distinguished visitors who walked the walls at that time included John Wesley and Samuel Johnson. They remain a significant tourist attraction.

In the news

14 August: A fire breaks out at the Recresco recycling plant in Ellesmere Port.

2 August: United Utilities cancels its planned hosepipe ban after rain and cooler weather in the North West.

1 August: Cheshire East council rejects plans for 112 proposed houses on the Doddington estate to support the renovation of Doddington Hall.

3 July: A nurse is arrested in Chester as part of the investigation into a series of infant deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

28 June: The University of Chester Academies Trust, which runs schools in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Warrington and Weaverham, announces that it will close.

19–20 June: The Royal Cheshire County Show is held near Knutsford, and celebrates Cheshire Agricultural Society's 180th anniversary.

14 June: The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex open the Mersey Gateway from the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes, and later the Storyhouse Theatre in Chester.


Cheshire West and ChesterCheshire EastCheshire EastCheshire EastHaltonWarringtonCheshire 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

Reginald Heber

Reginald Heber (21 April 1783 – 3 April 1826) was a clergyman, biographer and hymn-writer, who was born in Malpas.

After his ordination in 1807, he served as rector of Hodnet for sixteen years. During this period he wrote a biography of the 17th-century cleric Jeremy Taylor, as well as 57 hymns. Only a handful of these remain in use, including "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Brightest and best of the sons of the morning". His missionary hymn "From Greenland's icy mountains" was formerly popular, but became controversial in the 20th century for its lack of sensitivity to non-Christian beliefs.

A fervent supporter of missionary aims, Heber served as the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta from 1823 until his death. He travelled widely within India and worked hard to improve both spiritual and general living conditions within his diocese. After his death in Trichinopoly, monuments were erected to his memory in St Paul's Cathedral and in India. Bishop Heber High School in his home town of Malpas was named for him.

Did you know...

Nantwich Aqueduct, Acton

In this month

Portrait of Edward I in Westminster Abbey

1 August 1984: Lindow Man bog body discovered.

2 August 1957: Lovell Telescope took its first image.

3 August 1952: Pianist Martin Roscoe born in Halton.

4 August 1643: Attack on Nantwich by Royalists led by Lord Capell during the Civil War.

4–6 August 1896: Princess Louise visited Crewe Hall and opened bazaar in aid of Crewe Memorial Hospital.

6 August 2012: Astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell died in Swettenham.

8 August 1953: First (private) motor race at Oulton Park.

9 August 1886: Grosvenor Museum officially opened by the First Duke of Westminster.

10 August 1933: Acton swing bridge over the Weaver opened.

11 August 1642: Confrontation between Sir William Brereton and Royalist forces near Ravensmoor during the Civil War.

13 August 1277: Foundation stones of Vale Royal Abbey laid by Edward I (pictured) and Eleanor of Castile.

15 August 1538: Dissolution of Chester's three friaries.

23–26 August 1617: James I visited Chester, Nantwich and Utkinton Hall, and hunted in Delamere Forest.

24 August 1538: Warrant issued for the dissolution of Vale Royal Abbey.


Sometyme I was a taverner,
a gentle gossippe and a tapster,
of wyne and ale a trustie bruer,
which woe hath me wrought.
Of kannes I kept no trewe measure.
My cuppes I sould at my pleasure,
deceavinge manye a creature,
thoe my ale Were nought.

And when I was a bruer longe,
with hoppes I made my alle stronge;
esshes and hearbes I blend amonge
and marred so good malt.

From "The Harrowing of Hell", in the Chester Mystery Cycle (c. 15th century)

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 | 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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