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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

Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory

The Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Goostrey and Holmes Chapel, is part of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. The main Lovell Telescope (pictured) was the largest steerable radio telescope in the world on its completion in 1957; it is now the third largest. The observatory's three other active radio telescopes are the Mark II and the 42 ft and 7 m diameter telescopes. Jodrell Bank is also the base of the Multi–Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN).

Established in 1945 by Sir Bernard Lovell to investigate cosmic rays, the observatory has played an important role in the research of meteors, quasars, pulsars, masers and gravitational lenses, and was also heavily involved with the tracking of space probes at the start of the Space Age. A popular tourist attraction, Jodrell Bank has also been mentioned in Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Selected picture

Church of St James and St Paul, Marton

The Church of St James and St Paul at Marton, founded in 1343 by Sir John de Davenport and his son Vivian, is one of the oldest timber-framed churches in Europe. Traces of an early medieval painting of the Last Judgement were discovered in 1930.

Credit: Richard Slessor (10 April 2004)

Selected list

Tower Building, originally the office of Hutchinson & Co, now part of the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre

The 21 listed buildings in Widnes include five at Grade II* and 16 at Grade II. Widnes's oldest listed building is St Luke's Church, Farnworth, which dates from the 12th century. Other early structures include two 18th-century houses and a bridewell dating from 1827.

In 1833, the Sankey Canal reached the area; the lock at the canal's terminus is another early listed structure. The St Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway established a terminus adjacent to the canal, the world's first railway dock was constructed there and, in 1847, a chemical factory was established nearby. More chemical factories were built during the second half of the 19th century, and the town grew, absorbing the previously separated hamlets of Appleton, Cronton, Farnworth and Upton.

The listed structures dating from after 1847 – three churches, paired cemetery chapels, the town hall, two railway stations, two bridges crossing the River Mersey, and the former power house of the demolished Widnes–Runcorn Transporter Bridge – largely reflect the growing population of the town and its increasing transport links. Structures relating to the chemical industry include Tower Building (pictured), formerly an office, and a sewer vent. The most recent listed structure is the Silver Jubilee Bridge, constructed in 1961.

In this month

Grosvenor Park Lodge

November 1867: Grosvenor Park, Chester (pictured) opened.

1 November 1831: Harry Atkinson, Premier of New Zealand, born in Broxton.

4 November 1553: Lawyer Roger Wilbraham born in Nantwich.

7 November 1805: Railway builder Thomas Brassey born in Bulkeley.

11 November 1662: Lawyer John Chesshyre born in Halton.

14 November 1762: Tarporley Hunt Club first met.

15 November 1941: Author Heathcote Williams born in Helsby.

22 November 1961: Pianist Stephen Hough born in Heswall.

24 November 1935: Cyclist Vin Denson born in Chester.

24 November 1955: Cricketer Ian Botham born in Heswall.

26 November 1574: River Weaver in Nantwich flooded, affecting 40 dwellings and 24 salthouses.

29 November 1933: Musician John Mayall 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

The freeze-dried body of Lindow Man

Lindow Man, sometimes called Pete Marsh, is a naturally preserved bog body of an Iron Age man, discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Mobberley in 1984. The body has been preserved by freeze drying and is usually on display at the British Museum.

Lindow Man was a healthy male in his mid-20s, perhaps someone of high status, such as a druid, as his body has manicured fingernails and shows little evidence of heavy or rough work. He would have stood around 5'7" (1.7 m) tall and have weighed about 132 pounds (60 kg). He had healthy teeth but was suffering from slight osteoarthritis and an infestation of whipworm and maw worm. The body retains a trimmed beard, moustache and sideburns of brown hair, and was naked apart from a fox-fur armband.

The nature of his death was violent, possibly ritualistic. After a last, charred meal, he was strangled, hit on the head, and his throat was cut. His body was deposited into Lindow Moss, face down, in around March or April some time between 2 BC to 119 AD.

Did you know...

Sweetbriar Hall, Nantwich

In the news

7 November: Lavinia Cholmondeley, chatelaine of Cholmondeley Castle, died.

28 October: Hari Hi-Way, a three-year-old elephant, died at Chester Zoo only six weeks after the death of his sister Bala.

10 August: The M56 motorway was closed for 10 hours due to a fire in a tanker carrying propane gas near Helsby.

1 August: The pilot was killed when his Folland Gnat plane crashed in an air display near Oulton Park.

31 July: Two human skeletons, buried at least 400 years ago, are found within the walls of Halton Castle during excavations.

27 July: Round Tower Lodge, Sandiway, rebuilt after demolition following a road traffic accident.

18 July: Four people are missing following explosions and a fire at a wood treatment works in Bosley.

13 July: The first phase of a new project called Islands opens at Chester Zoo.


They left the shimmering road for the green wood, and The Wizard was soon lost behind them as they walked among fir and pine, oak, ash, and silver birch, along tracks through bracken, and across sleek hummocks of grass. There was no end to the peace and beauty. And then, abruptly, they came upon a stretch of rock and sand from which the heat vibrated as if from an oven. To the north, the Cheshire plain spread before them like a green and yellow patchwork quilt dotted with toy farms and houses. Here the Edge dropped steeply for several hundred feet, while away to their right the country rose in folds and wrinkles until it joined the bulk of the Pennines, which loomed eight miles away through the haze.

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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