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.
Adlington Hall is a grade-I-listed country house in the village of Adlington. The Legh family has lived on the site since the early 14th century. The hall follows a courtyard plan. The medieval Great Hall was built in 1480–1505 with a timber frame; it has a hammer-beam roof, a rare wooden canopy dated 1505, and an organ dating from the late 17th century, which was played by Handel, a friend of the Legh family. The Great Hall was encased in brick after the Civil War, when the hall was twice occupied by Parliamentary forces. The east wing dates from 1581, and retains its original "black and white" appearance. The remainder of the house largely dates from the 18th century, when Charles Legh transformed the hall into a Georgian manor.
The grounds were laid out as gardens, woodland and parkland in the 18th century; they are listed at Grade II*. They include Shell House, which has an interior decorated with shells and coloured mirrors, and Tig House, a pavilion which is an early example of the Chinoiserie style. The hall and grounds remain in private ownership, and are occasionally open to the public.
Of the over 200 Scheduled Monuments in Cheshire, at least 84 date from before 1066, the start of the Medieval period. Monuments are defined as sites deliberately constructed by human activity; some sites not visible above ground. Scheduled archaeological sites range from prehistoric standing stones and burial sites, through Roman remains, to the Saxon period.
The oldest Scheduled Monument is believed to be The Bridestones, a Neolithic long cairn. The monument at Somerford is also thought to have been a long cairn and there is evidence of a Neolithic settlement at Tatton. The Bronze Age is the period most strongly represented during this timeframe with 44 monuments, predominantly round barrows. Eleven Iron Age hillforts or promontory forts are scheduled. The Roman occupation left parts of Chester city walls, the remains of settlements at Heronbridge and Wilderspool, and several definite or possible Roman military camps. The Dark Age and Saxon monuments consist mainly of portions of crosses, including the Sandbach Crosses (pictured). There is also evidence of Saxon occupation of villages, now deserted, at Tatton and Baddiley.
- ...that when George Booth built Booth Mansion in Chester, he angled the building to make it more visible from Chester Cross, but was fined £10 for encroaching into the street?
We got to Chester about midnight on Tuesday; and here again I am in a state of much enjoyment ... Chester pleases my fancy more than any town I ever saw. I told a very pleasing young lady, niece to one of the Prebendaries, at whose house I saw her, "I have come to Chester, Madam, I cannot tell how; and far less can I tell how I am to get away from it."
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