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Cheshire Plain

Cheshire showing four unitary authorities

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

Chester Canal basin, near the junction between the Chester Canal and the River Dee

Chester Canal is a former canal linking the River Dee at Chester with Nantwich. It now forms part of the Shropshire Union Canal.

The original intention was to construct a main line from Chester to Middlewich, with a branch to Nantwich, but Francis Egerton, Duke of Bridgewater, opposed a direct link with the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich. Construction began in 1772, and the route was opened through to Nantwich in 1779. At first unsuccessful, it was linked first to the Ellesmere Canal in 1797 and then the Llangollen Canal in 1805, so that the original Chester Canal formed the middle section of a profitable canal. The Middlewich Branch finally opened in 1833, and the canal operated successfully into the 20th century.

The canal passes alongside Chester city walls in a deep, vertical red sandstone cutting, and the route then runs broadly south-east, passing via Christleton, Beeston and Bunbury before reaching Nantwich Basin. It crosses the River Gowy via an aqueduct. Beeston Iron Lock, built using cast iron plates by Thomas Telford in 1828, is unique in England.

Selected picture

Chester shot tower

Built in 1799, Chester Shot Tower is probably the oldest remaining shot tower in the world and was used to manufacture lead shot for the Napoleonic Wars. Lead was exported via Chester during the Roman period and the lead industry flourished in the city during the 19th century.

Credit: Espresso Addict (3 February 2007)

Selected list

Billy Hobby's Well, Grosvenor Park, Chester (1865–67)

The output of Chester-based architect John Douglas (1830–1911) included a diverse range of non-residential works. The majority of his works were in Cheshire and North Wales. His architectural styles were eclectic, but as he worked during the Gothic Revival period much of his output incorporates elements of the English Gothic style. He is probably best remembered for his incorporation of vernacular elements in his buildings, especially half-timbering, but also tile-hanging, pargeting, and decorative brickwork in diapering and tall chimney stacks.

In addition to numerous churches, Douglas's non-residential works included a great variety of buildings such as schools, shops, offices, hotels, public houses, banks, model farms, cheese factories, a gentlemen's club, a public baths and a public convenience. The Eastgate Clock in Chester, a memorial of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, is perhaps the best known of the smaller commissions he undertook. Other examples include memorials, a canopy over a well (pictured), a temporary triumphal arch, a garden ornament and an obelisk.

In this month

Nuclear structure research tower at Daresbury Laboratory

5 June 1965: Engine fire on Crewe–Carlisle train between Crewe and Winsford fatally injured driver Wallace Oakes.

6 June 1690: William III stayed at Combermere Abbey on his way to the Battle of the Boyne.

7 June 1940: Actor Ronald Pickup born in Chester.

7 June 1954: Mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing died in Wilmslow.

8 June 1825: Ten to twelve thousand people attended the funeral of Sir John Grey Egerton of Oulton Park, MP for Chester and Freemason, at Little Budworth.

10 June 1878: Chester Tramways Company started operating horse-drawn trams in Chester.

10 June 1931: Chester Zoo opened.

14 June 1988: Lindow IV discovered at Lindow Moss.

16 June 1967: Daresbury Laboratory (pictured) officially opened by Harold Wilson, prime minister.

18 June 1886: Mountaineer George Mallory born in Mobberley.

19 June 2011: Fire damaged east wing of Peckforton Castle.

23 June 1999: Train crash near Winsford injured 31 people.

24 June 1604: Plague started in Nantwich, with around 430 deaths by the following March.

25 June 1897: Actor Basil Radford born in Chester.

26 June 1923: Jazz musician and bandleader Syd Lawrence born in Wilmslow.

27 June 1919: X-ray crystallographer Alexander Stokes born in Macclesfield.


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

Michael Owen, while with Real Madrid

Michael James Owen (born 14 December 1979) is a former English football player who played as a striker. Born in Chester, his father Terry Owen was a professional footballer who played for Chester City and Everton.

Owen enjoyed a hugely successful and high-profile career at both club and international level, being named European Footballer of the Year in 2001, one of only four English players to gain this honour. As of June 2014, he was fourth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team and was England's eleventh most-capped player, having scored a national record of 26 competitive goals, with 40 in total from 89 appearances (1998–2008). Pace and clinical finishing were Owen's greatest assets early in his career, though he later lost pace due to injuries.

In club football, he played for Liverpool (1996–2004), Real Madrid (2004–5), Newcastle United (2005–9), Manchester United (2009–12) and Stoke City (2012–13). He retired at the end of the 2012–13 season.

Did you know...

Miniature of Elizabeth Gaskell by William John Thomson (1832)

In the news

25 May: The temporary trestle bridge for the construction of the Mersey Gateway has been completed.

9 May: In the council elections, Labour gain Cheshire West and Chester (election) and hold Halton (election) and Warrington (election), and Conservatives hold Cheshire East (election).

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.


Sometyme I was a taverner,
a gentle gossippe and a tapster,
of wyne and ale a trustie bruer,
which woe hath me wrought.
Of kannes I kept no trewe measure.
My cuppes I sould at my pleasure,
deceavinge manye a creature,
thoe my ale Were nought.

And when I was a bruer longe,
with hoppes I made my alle stronge;
esshes and hearbes I blend amonge
and marred so good malt.

From "The Harrowing of Hell", in the Chester Mystery Cycle (c. 15th century)

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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