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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

Entrance front of Capesthorne Hall

Capesthorne Hall is a grade-II*-listed country house, dating from the early 18th century, near the village of Siddington. It was built to Neoclassical designs by William Smith and (probably) his son Francis, and extended later in the 18th century. Edward Blore remodelled and extended it in the 1830s, adding a Jacobean-style frontage, and a large conservatory designed by Joseph Paxton was added in around 1837. The main part of the house was virtually destroyed by fire in 1861. Anthony Salvin was responsible for the rebuilding, which generally followed Blore's designs.

The hall is in red brick with ashlar dressings, on an asymmetrical plan with a long entrance front featuring paired turrets. A sculpture gallery houses ancient copies of famous Greek sculptures, collected by Edward Davies Davenport. The grounds include gardens, parkland and a lake crossed by a five-arched bridge. There is a grade-II*-listed private chapel with elaborate gates and gate piers; it is contemporaneous with the hall and was also designed by William Smith. The earthworks of an earlier hall and chapel, as well as a deserted medieval village in the grounds, form a scheduled ancient monument.

Selected picture

Sir Thomas Grosvenor, 3rd Baronet, by Peter Lely (1678)

Sir Thomas Grosvenor, 3rd Baronet (1655–1700) was the MP for Chester and served as the city's mayor in 1685. He was the first member of the Grosvenor family to have a substantial house built on the site of the present Eaton Hall; building started in 1675 with William Samwell as the architect. This portrait by Peter Lely dates from 1678.

Selected list

St Michael's Church, Baddiley

A total of 43 churches and chapels in Cheshire are listed at grade I. Although Christian churches have existed in the county since the Anglo-Saxon era, no significant Saxon features remain in its listed churches. Surviving Norman architecture is found, notably in Chester Cathedral and St John the Baptist, Chester.

Most churches in this list are in the Gothic style, dating between the 13th and the 17th centuries, predominantly in the Perpendicular style. There are some examples of Neoclassical architecture, including St Peter, Aston-by-Sutton, and St Peter, Congleton. The only buildings dating from a later period are Waterhouse's Eaton Chapel in French Rayonnant style, and Bodley's Church of St Mary at Eccleston, in Gothic Revival style, both from the 19th century.

Major building materials are the local sandstone and limestone. A handful of timber-framed churches survive, some of which have been encased in brick; examples include St Michael, Baddiley (pictured), St Luke, Holmes Chapel, St Oswald, Lower Peover, and St James and St Paul, Marton.

In this month

Sir William Brereton

1 February 1863: Artist and printmaker John Romney died in Chester.

1 February 1869: The first goods train crossed Runcorn Railway Bridge.

1 February 1994: Pop singer Harry Styles born in Holmes Chapel.

3 February 1646: Chester surrendered during the Civil War.

3 February 1857: First meeting of Cheshire Police committee.

3 February 1885: Foundation stone of Grosvenor Museum laid by the Duke of Westminster.

4 February 1253–4: Lordship of Chester gifted to Edward, heir of Henry III.

5 February 1977: Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie born in Macclesfield.

6 February 1987: Lindow III discovered at Lindow Moss.

9 February 1539: First recorded race at Chester Racecourse.

13 February 1839: Riot at Chester Castle in support of poachers awaiting trial.

14 February 1926: Fire partially destroyed Oulton Hall.

15 February 1918: Physicist John Holt born in Runcorn.

19 February 1943: Nobel prize winning biochemist Tim Hunt born in Neston.

20 February 1643: Beeston Castle seized from the Royalists by Parliamentary forces commanded by Sir William Brereton (pictured).

20 February 1907: Radar pioneer Skip Wilkins born in Chorlton.

21 February 2008: Sunny Lowry, first woman to swim the Channel, died in Warrington.

26 February 1993: IRA explosive devices went off at Warrington gasworks.


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 • 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: 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 • Margaret Ursula Jones • 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

James Chadwick in around 1935

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...

St John the Evangelist's Church, Sandiway

In the news

23 January: The prime minister chairs a regional cabinet meeting at Daresbury Laboratory near Warrington at which she unveils her industrial strategy for the UK.

19 January: Cheshire Constabulary announces that it is investigating more than 200 reports of alleged sex abuse involving 83 young footballers.

15 January: A memorial to Thomas Mottershead VC, DCM is unveiled in Victoria Park, Widnes.

10 January: Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington gain "cultural destination" recognition from the Arts Council and VisitEngland, with a £300,000 grant to improve arts and culture provision across the county.

2 January: Government plans for a new garden village at Handforth are announced.

15 December: The first phase of the Barons Quay retail and leisure complex opens in Northwich.

15 December: Cheshire East's revised local plan, including 36,000 new houses, is approved by the government planning inspector.

5 December: The Macclesfield-born sculptor Helen Marten wins the Turner Prize, shortly after winning the inaugural Hepworth Prize.

29 November: Chester wins the EC's Access City Award for the city's ease of access by the elderly or disabled.


O! thou thrice happy Shire, confinéd so to be
Twixt two so famous floods as Mersey is and Dee.
Thy Dee upon the West from Wales doth thee divide;
Thy Mersey on the North, from the Lancastrian side,
Thy natural sister Shire; and link'd unto thee so,
That Lancashire along with Cheshire still doth go.
As tow'rds the Derbian Peak, and Moreland (which do draw
More mountainous and wild) the high-crown'd Shutlingslawe
And Molcop be thy mounds, with those proud hills whence rove
The lovely sister Brooks, the silvery Dane and Dove;
Clear Dove, that makes to Trent; the other to the West.

From "The Eleventh Song" in Poly-Olbion by Michael Drayton (1612)

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 | 1874 Northwich F.C. | 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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