From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


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

Gawsworth Old Hall

Gawsworth Old Hall is a timber-framed, "black and white" country house in the village of Gawsworth, near Macclesfield; it is listed at grade I. Built between 1480 and 1600, the existing hall replaced an earlier Norman house. It was probably built as a courtyard house enclosing a quadrangle, but only three sides are still standing.

Mary Fitton, perhaps the "Dark Lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets, was born here, and the grave of Samuel "Maggoty" Johnson, a playwright described as the last professional jester in England, is in the grounds. In 1712, a long-running dispute about the ownership of the estate between the Fittons and the Gerards culminated in a duel in which both the combatants were killed.

The hall is surrounded by formal gardens and parkland, listed at grade II*, which once included an Elizabethan pleasure garden and, possibly, a tilting ground for jousting. The house and grounds remain in private ownership and are open to the public; a collection of items salvaged from other historic buildings is on display. An open-air theatre in the grounds hosts plays and concerts in summer.

Selected picture

1960 Bentley badge and hood ornament

The Bentley Crewe plant in Crewe opened in 1938, manufacturing Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engines during the Second World War. Bentley cars have been made there since 1946.

Credit: Dan Smith (October 2005)

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 Bridge, Chester

1 October 1827: First stone laid of Grosvenor Bridge, Chester (pictured).

1 October 1905: Inventor John Dolphin born in Christleton.

3 October 1953: First public motor race at Oulton Park.

5 October 1963: Journalist Nick Robinson born in Macclesfield.

10 October 1654: Frodsham Castle destroyed by fire during the Civil War, after the death there of John Savage, 2nd Earl Rivers.

10 October 1868: Runcorn Railway Bridge officially opened.

10 October 1960: Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen first published.

11 October 1678: Antiquarian Sir Peter Leycester died in Nether Tabley.

14 October 1869: Chester Town Hall officially opened by the future Edward VII.

16 October 1643: Acton and Dorfold briefly captured by Royalists.

17 October 1832: Grosvenor Bridge, Chester, officially opened (still incomplete) by the future Queen Victoria.

17 October 1934: Novelist Alan Garner born in Congleton.

19 October 1965: Train driver Wallace Oakes awarded the George Cross posthumously.

20 October 1891: Physicist and Nobel prize winner James Chadwick born in Bollington.

21 October 1650: First record of the Cheshire cheese trade with London.

22 October 1996: Helicopter crash near Middlewich killed five people, including Matthew Harding, vice-chair of Chelsea F.C., and journalist John Bauldie.

26 October 1865: Equestrian Statue of Viscount Combermere unveiled in Chester.

27 October 1874: Mill fire killed eight people at Over.


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

Thomas Brassey in his mid-forties

Thomas Brassey (7 November 1805 – 8 December 1870) was a civil engineering contractor and manufacturer of building materials. At the time of his death, he was responsible for building 1 in every 20 miles of railway worldwide.

Born in Buerton, the son of a farmer, he attended school in nearby Chester. After an apprenticeship in Overton, Flintshire, he established a business in Birkenhead. His first railway commission was Penkridge Viaduct, completed in 1837.

Brassey was responsible for building about one-third of Britain's railways and three-quarters of those in France, as well as major lines across Europe and in Canada, Australia, S. America and India. He also constructed the associated docks, bridges, viaducts, stations, tunnels and drainage works. His other works included steamships, mines, locomotive factories, marine telegraphy and water supply and sewerage systems, including part of the London sewerage system. His estate was valued at over £5 million.

Did you know...

Memorial board in St Mary's Church, Thornton-le-Moors

In the news

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.

5 June: Lion Salt Works reopens after a restoration costing £10.23m.

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


The huge yellow somethings went unnoticed at Goonhilly, they passed over Cape Canaveral without a blip, Woomera and Jodrell Bank looked straight through them – which was a pity because it was exactly the sort of thing they'd been looking for all these years. ... Miles above the surface of the planet the huge yellow somethings began to fan out. At Jodrell Bank, someone decided it was time for a nice relaxing cup of tea.

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

Things you can do