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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

Lovell telescope

The Lovell Telescope is a radio telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Goostrey. When it was constructed in the mid 1950s, it was the largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world at 76.2 m (250 ft) in diameter. It is now the third largest, after the Green Bank and Effelsberg telescopes. It forms part of the MERLIN and European VLBI Network arrays of radio telescopes.

Originally known as the 250 ft telescope or the Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank, then as the Mark I telescope when future telescopes (the Mark II, III and IV) were being discussed around 1961, it was renamed the Lovell Telescope in 1987 after Bernard Lovell. Lovell and Charles Husband were both knighted for their roles in creating the telescope.

The Lovell Telescope became a Grade I listed building in 1988, and won the BBC's online competition to find the UK's greatest "Unsung Landmark" in 2006.

Selected picture

Eastgate Clock, Chester

The Eastgate Clock in Chester dates from 1899 and commemorates Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. It is said to be the second most photographed clock in England. Eastgate stands on the site of the original entrance to the Roman fortress of Deva Victrix.

Credit: Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net) (6 January 2008)

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 (now £150,000) 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 this month

Cartoon of Hall Caine, by Harry Furniss

3 May 1938: Cheshire County Council granted a banner of arms, now the county flag.

8 May 1817: Early paper on Cheshire dialect read at Society of Antiquaries by Roger Wilbraham.

12 May 1278: Fire destroyed much of Chester.

13 May 1983: Lindow Woman bog body discovered.

14 May 1853: Novelist and playwright Hall Caine (pictured) born in Runcorn.

18 May 1980: Musician Ian Curtis committed suicide at Macclesfield.

21 May 1868: First train crossed Runcorn Railway Bridge.

21 May 1894: Manchester Ship Canal officially opened by Queen Victoria.

23 May 1911: Architect John Douglas died in Chester.

24 May 1847: Five people killed in the Dee bridge disaster.

27 May 1899: Eastgate Clock unveiled, marking the 80th birthday of Queen Victoria.

29 May 1905: Widnes–Runcorn Transporter Bridge officially opened by Sir John Brunner.

31 May 1807: Primitive Methodism originated in a prayer meeting at Mow Cop.

31 May 1939: Humanitarian Terry Waite born in Styal.


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 ChadwickFeatured article • 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

Exterior of a modern concert hall

Sir Adrian Cedric Boult (8 April 1889 – 22 February 1983) was an English conductor. Born in Chester, he was educated at Westminster School, Christ Church, Oxford, and the Leipzig Conservatory, where he learned to conduct by watching the eminent Hungarian conductor Arthur Nikisch. He made his concert debut in 1914, and conducted the first performance of Holst's The Planets in 1918.

Boult conducted the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 1924–30 and 1959–60, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for twenty years from its inception in 1930. After his controversial enforced retirement from the BBC Symphony, he became Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held until 1957. He continued to conduct and make recordings until 1981.

Particularly associated with 20th century British music, Boult's prolific recordings include the complete Vaughan Williams symphonies, as well as many works by Elgar and Holst. The main auditorium (pictured) of the Birmingham Conservatoire was named for him.

Did you know...

Phoenix Tower, Chester

In the news

8 May: Labour gain City of Chester and hold Ellesmere Port & Neston, Halton and Warrington North; Conservatives hold Congleton, Crewe & Nantwich, Eddisbury, Macclesfield, Tatton, Warrington South and Weaver Vale; the Liberal Democrats fail to make any gains in the general election.

6 May: Work commences on the £107 million Bridge Street Quarter project in Warrington town centre.

29 April: Jodrell Bank chosen as the permanent headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project.

26 April: Paula Radcliffe retires from competitive running after the London Marathon.

20 April: Liam Livingstone scores one of the highest-ever one-day cricket scores for Nantwich cricket club.

1 April: The Duke of Gloucester visits Runcorn to launch the celebrations marking the town's 1,100 years of existence.

24 March: Royal London pensions group announces expansion plans in Wilmslow, which will create 450 jobs.

23 March: Warrington WA1 is one of the ten best districts in England to live in, according to a Royal Mail survey.


But to have the ability to read Latin and Greek in the original, and also to be the natural speaker of the language of the Gawain poet are riches enough. Where there may be an association that is necessary for me to celebrate in my work is in the Gawain language, for the speaking of which I had my mouth washed out with carbolic soap by a well meaning teacher at the age of five. ... The language of my childhood and of my native culture is, technically, North-West Mercian Middle English. Of course it has changed, as all living language changes, since the time of the Gawain poet. But when I read sections of the poem aloud to my father, he knew, and used, more than 90% of the vocabulary; and the phonetics of the vowels have scarcely changed.

Alan Garner on the Cheshire dialect, elimae (2002)

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 | 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 &  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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