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.
Chester Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral dedicated to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It became the cathedral of the city of Chester in 1541, and has been the centre of worship, administration, ceremony and music for both city and diocese since that date.
A Christian basilica is believed to have occupied the site in the late Roman era, and an abbey church containing a shrine to St Werburgh, patron saint of the city, was destroyed in 1090.
The present cathedral was formerly the abbey church of a Benedictine monastery founded by Hugh Lupus in 1093. The existing building in New Red Sandstone dates from between the foundation and the early 1500s. Monastic buildings survive to the north of the cathedral. Extensive restorations were carried out during the 19th century, notably by George Gilbert Scott, and a free-standing bell tower was added in the 1970s. The site is a major tourist attraction, and the cathedral is used for concerts and exhibitions.
The 131 listed buildings in Nantwich include three at grade I, seven at grade II* and 121 at grade II. The majority of the listed buildings were originally residential, and churches, chapels, public houses, schools, banks, almshouses and workhouses are also well represented. They range in date from the 14th century to 1911.
Only a few buildings date from before the fire of 1583, which destroyed almost all of the town centre, the oldest being the 14th-century St Mary's Church. Two timber-framed, "black and white" Elizabethan mansion houses, Churche's Mansion and Sweetbriar Hall, also pre-date the fire. Elizabeth I personally contributed to the town's subsequent rebuilding, and particularly fine examples of timber-framed buildings dating from around 1584 are 46 High Street (pictured) and the Crown Hotel, a former coaching inn believed to stand on the site of the town's Norman castle. Many Georgian town houses are listed, with four attaining grade II*, as well as several examples of Victorian corporate architecture. Unusual listed structures include a mounting block, twelve cast-iron bollards, a stone gateway, two garden walls and a summerhouse.
The tortuous wall—girdle, long since snapped, of the little swollen city, half held in place by careful civic hands—wanders in narrow file between parapets smoothed by peaceful generations, pausing here and there for a dismantled gate or a bridged gap, with rises and drops, steps up and steps down, queer twists, queer contacts, peeps into homely streets and under the brows of gables, views of cathedral tower and waterside fields, of huddled English town and ordered English country.
A selection of recent articles of interest include:
|Click the "►" below to see all subcategories: