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, Nantwich, 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.
Peckforton Castle is a grade-I-listed Victorian country house built in the style of a medieval castle. Faced in red sandstone, it features a gatehouse, portcullis, dry moat, two large towers and external windows that are little more than arrow slots. It stands in woodland at the north end of the Peckforton Hills, near the villages of Peckforton and Beeston. The ruins of the genuinely medieval Beeston Castle are about ¾ mile to the north.
The castle was built in 1844–50 as a family home for John Tollemache, a wealthy landowner, estate manager and Member of Parliament, and his family continued to live in the house until 1939. It was designed by Anthony Salvin in the Gothic style. George Gilbert Scott described the building in 1858 as "the largest and most carefully and learnedly executed Gothic mansion of the present" and "the very height of masquerading".
The chapel and entrance lodge, also by Salvin, are listed at grade II*, and part of the surrounding woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The castle has been used as a filming location, including for the Doctor Who serial The Time Warrior and a 1991 film of Robin Hood.
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 £170,000 in 2018) 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.
Map of modern Cheshire showing urban areas (grey) and the major road network.
Towns with more than 25,000 inhabitants in 2011 are highlighted.
In the news
April: Candidates are announced for all seats in the borough council elections in Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester, to be held on 2 May.
19 March: Middlewich residents reject adoption of the proposed neighbourhood plan in a referendum, only the third settlement in England to do so.
6 March: Plans for a major redevelopment of Chester Racecourse are rejected by Cheshire West and Chester council.
22 February: Widnes Vikings rugby league club goes under administration.
8 February: Darren Martland is confirmed as Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary.
7 February: Horse racing across Britain is suspended after horses from a stable in Cholmondeley test positive for equine influenza.
3 February: Demonstrators rally outside Cheshire Constabulary headquarters in Winsford, demanding that the police take more action over illegal fox hunting.
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.
Sir James Chadwick (20 October 1891 – 24 July 1974) was an English physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his 1932 discovery of the neutron. He later measured its mass.
Born in Bollington, he studied at the University of Manchester. His early research, under Hans Geiger, showed that beta radiation produces a continuous electromagnetic spectrum. He was Assistant Director, under Ernest Rutherford, of the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory for over a decade, when it was one of the world's foremost centres for physics research.
In 1935, Chadwick joined the University of Liverpool, turning its physics laboratory into an important nuclear physics research centre by installing a cyclotron. During the Second World War, he was involved in the Tube Alloys project to build an atomic bomb, and later led the British team working on the Manhattan Project. Knighted in 1945, he served as Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge 1948–1958.
Did you know...
In this month
The huge yellow somethings went unnoticed at Goonhilly, they passed over Cape Canaveral without a blip, Woomera and Jodrell Bank looked straight through them – which was a pity because it was exactly the sort of thing they'd been looking for all these years. ... Miles above the surface of the planet the huge yellow somethings began to fan out. At Jodrell Bank, someone decided it was time for a nice relaxing cup of tea.
|Click the "►" below to see all subcategories: