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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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