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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

Chester Cathedral interior

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.

Selected picture

Cheshire Cat from John Tenniel's illustration to 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1866)

Lewis Carroll popularised the Cheshire Cat, but the idea has a much earlier origin. A 16th-century carving of a grinning cat at St Wilfrid's, Grappenhall, near the author's birthplace, might have been an inspiration.

Credit: John Tenniel (1866)

Selected list

Runcorn Railway Bridge

The 61 listed buildings in Runcorn urban area include two at Grade I, nine at Grade II* and 50 at Grade II. Runcorn's earliest listed buildings, Halton Castle and Norton Priory, date from the 11th and 12th centuries and are now in ruins. The oldest standing building, the Seneschal's House, dates from 1598. Other early buildings include ones relating to stately homes, such as the loggia and ice house in the grounds of Norton Priory; domestic buildings, such as Halton Old Hall, and church-related buildings, such as Halton Vicarage and the Chesshyre Library.

The diversity of Runcorn's buildings increased during the Industrial Revolution. Structures such as Bridgewater House were associated with industry, while large domestic buildings such as Halton Grange were financed by the new wealth created. The enlarged town required new civic buildings and transport infrastructure such as the railway bridge (pictured) and the tide dock, while the needs of the growing population were met by structures such as Norton Water Tower. The most recent listed structure is the Silver Jubilee Bridge, constructed in 1961.

In this month

Fiddlers Ferry Power Station

1 January 1894: Manchester Ship Canal first opened to traffic.

2 January 1644: Dorfold Hall taken by Royalist forces during the Civil War.

3 January 1866: Crewe Hall gutted by fire.

13 January 1984: A cooling tower at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station (pictured) collapsed in high winds.

17 January 1644: Royalist forces attacked Nantwich during the Civil War.

20 January 1540: Dissolution of St Werburgh's Abbey.

20 January 1971: Singer–songwriter Gary Barlow born in Frodsham.

24 January 1909: Film star Ann Todd born in Hartford.

25 January 1837: Fire damaged the new wing of Vale Royal Abbey.

26 January 1644: Battle of Nantwich.

27 January 1832: Author and mathematician Lewis Carroll born in Daresbury.

27 January 1941: Cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley born in Chester.

28 January 1643: First battle of Nantwich.


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

John Douglas in late middle age

John Douglas (11 April 1830 – 23 May 1911) was an English architect, practising in Chester. Pevsner described him, without qualification, as "the best Cheshire architect".

Born in Sandiway, his father was a former labourer who rose to be a surveyor. He trained with Edmund Sharpe and Edward Graham Paley in Lancaster, and later practised with Paley. Other early influences included Pugin and the Cambridge Camden Society. He set up his own practice in Chester in 1860, working with Daniel Fordham, Charles Minshall and his two surviving sons. His early buildings were High Victorian; he later became an important practitioner of the half-timbered revival style.

Douglas' most popular works are the black-and-white buildings on Chester's St Werburgh Street and the nearby Eastgate Clock. Many of his works are on the Eaton Hall estate of the 1st Duke of Westminster, an important patron. He also designed churches, large houses and many smaller properties.

Did you know...

39 Welsh Row, Nantwich

In the news

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.

28 November: Cyclists Jason Kenny, Laura Kenny and Sarah Storey are shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.


[Alice] went on. "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"– so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

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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