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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

Macclesfield Forest and Trentabank Reservoir in the Peak District

The Peak District is an upland area of England that forms the southern end of the Pennines. Lying mainly in northern Derbyshire, the region also covers the east of Cheshire as well as several other counties. Most of the area falls within the Peak District National Park, the first National Park in England and Wales to be designated and, as of 2010, the fifth largest.

The Cheshire region forms part of the South West Peak area of the Dark Peak, whose gritstone and shale supports heather moorland and blanket bog environments. Rough sheep pasture and grouse shooting are the main land uses. Features include the hills and edges of Shining Tor, Shutlingsloe, Tegg's Nose, The Cloud and Windgather Rocks, the Dane, Dean and Goyt rivers, and the woodland of Macclesfield Forest.

Tourism forms a major part of the economy. Recreational activities include walking, climbing, fell running, orienteering, horse riding, cycling, hang gliding, paragliding and birdwatching on the fells; sailing, fishing and canoeing on reservoirs such as Lamaload; and visiting historic houses such as Lyme Park. With an estimated 22 million visitors per year, the Peak District is the second most-visited national park in the world.

Selected picture

Stretton Watermill

Stretton Watermill is a working water-powered cornmill at Stretton, which originally dates from the 16th and 17th centuries. The mill closed in 1959, but was restored in 1967 and is now open to the public.

Credit: Joopercoopers (21 March 2008)

Selected list

Woodhey wayside cross

Of the over 200 Scheduled Monuments in Cheshire, at least 129 date from the Medieval period, more than half the total. Scheduled Medieval archaeological sites are defined as dating from between 1066 and 1539, and range from the remains of deserted villages and large buildings to boundary stones. Monuments are defined as sites deliberately constructed by human activity; in many cases they consist only of earthworks or foundations.

The 55 moats or moated sites are the most frequent monument remaining from this period. Houses were built on moated sites during this period partly for defensive purposes but also as a sign of prestige. The remains of twelve motte and bailey castles and three abbeys are scheduled. There are many churchyard and wayside crosses, such as the one at Woodhey (pictured), which were variously used as sites for prayer and pilgrimage, for public proclamations, as guides to local abbeys, and as "plague stones", used for the transfer of money and items during periods of plague. Other monuments include holy wells, halls, bridges, Chester city walls, a lime kiln, a pottery kiln, a hospital, a former chapel, a monastic grange, a tomb, an ice house and a hunting lodge.

In this month

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

1 April 1974: Widnes and Warrington gained from Lancashire; Hyde, Dukinfield and Stalybridge lost to Greater Manchester; parts of the Wirral lost to Merseyside; and Tintwistle lost to Derbyshire in local government reorganisation.

1 April 1998: Halton and Warrington became unitary authorities.

1 April 2009: Unitary authorities of Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East took control.

5 April 1847: The Port of Runcorn became an independent customs port.

5 April 1847: Birkenhead Park, the UK's first publicly funded civic park, opened.

8 April 1889: Conductor Adrian Boult born in Chester.

10 April 1964: Runcorn designated a new town.

10 April 1998: Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker (pictured) opened as a museum.

11 April 1830: Architect John Douglas born in Sandiway.

17 April 1948: Train crash near Winsford killed 24 people and injured 10.

17 April 1951: Peak District became the UK's first national park.

20 April 1857: Cheshire Constabulary formed.

21 April 1913: George V and Queen Mary visited Crewe Railway Works and Worleston Dairy Institute.

24 April 1643: Royalist forces plundered Acton, Dorfold, Ravensmoor and Sound during the Civil War.

25 April 1956: Construction of Silver Jubilee Bridge began.

26 April 1761: Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, born in Ness.

30 April 1851: Accident in Sutton Railway Tunnel killed nine people and injured at least 30.


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 • Beeston Castle • 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 Chadwick • 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

Wythenshawe Hall, seat of the Tatton family

Robert Tatton (1606 – 19 August 1669) was a Cheshire landowner who supported King Charles I in the Civil War.

He inherited the family estate in Wythenshawe, then in Cheshire, aged ten, and married Anne Brereton in 1628. When Civil War broke out, he joined the Royalist side, despite his wife being closely related to Sir William Brereton, who commanded the Parliamentary forces in Cheshire. Tatton is perhaps best known for his defence of his family home, Wythenshawe Hall (pictured), during its three-month siege in the winter of 1643/44 by a Parliamentary force commanded by Robert Duckenfield. Parliamentary casualties included Duckinfield's second-in-command, but their victory was inevitable when cannons were brought in. On surrender, the hall's contents were valued at almost £1650 (now around £230,000).

Tatton served as the High Sheriff of Chester between 1645 and 1646. Although heavily fined by Parliament for fighting on the side of the king, he was subsequently rewarded for his loyalty by Charles II following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The Wythenshawe estate remained in the Tatton family until the 1920s.

Did you know...

A man standing, wearing a red and white cloak, and white trousers and stockings

In the news

8 April: Consultation opens on relocating the county archives, currently held in inadequate storage conditions in Chester.

8 April: Anti-fracking protesters set up a camp at Upton by Chester, at a site with planning permission for drilling but not fracking.

3 April: Royal Bank of Scotland announces the closure of the last remaining bank branches in Bollington and Chelford.

1 April: Cheshire awarded grant to expand high-speed broadband access in Antrobus, Arley, Audlem, Burleydam, Gawsworth, Huxley, North Rode and Wincle.

April: S E Sellers of Tarporley is appointed High Sheriff of Cheshire.

20 March: Cheshire historian George Ormerod's notes are donated to the county archive.

17 March: The HS2 high-speed railway chair calls for the extension to Crewe to be brought forward to 2027.

12 March: Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service wins the Business Transformation category of the Local Government Chronicle awards.

12 March: The sale of Alderley Park AstraZeneca site to Manchester Science Parks is announced.

10 March: The UK's largest incinerator for burning refuse-derived fuel is switched on in Runcorn.


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 | Bollington | Chester | Congleton | Disley | Frodsham | Great Budworth | Knutsford | Lymm | Macclesfield | Nantwich | Runcorn | 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 | RECREATION | Scouting | Walks
 Economy ECONOMY | Cheshire cheese | 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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