Cheshire Plain from the Mid Cheshire Ridge

Cheshire shown within England

Cheshire showing four unitary authorities

Flag of Cheshire.svg

Cheshire (/ˈɛʃər, -ɪər/ CHESH-ər, -⁠eer; archaically the County Palatine of Chester) is a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south, and Flintshire and Wrexham County Borough in Wales to the west. Cheshire's county town is the City of Chester (118,200); the largest town is Warrington (209,700). Other major towns include Crewe (71,722), Runcorn (61,789), Widnes (61,464), Ellesmere Port (55,715), Macclesfield (52,044), Winsford (32,610) and Northwich (19,924).

The county covers 905 square miles (2,344 km2) and has a population of around 1 million. It is mostly rural, with a number of small towns and villages supporting the agricultural and other industries which produce Cheshire cheese, salt, chemicals and silk.

Selected article

Cholmondeley Castle, viewed from the south

Cholmondeley Castle is a grade-II*-listed country house in Cholmondeley in the form of a battlemented sandstone castle. Built in 1801–5 for George Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley, who was responsible for much of the design, it was extended in 1817 and again in 1828–29 by Robert Smirke, who added a round tower. The present house replaced a timber-framed hall on a moated platform, largely demolished in the late 18th century. In the grounds stands the grade-I-listed St Nicholas' Chapel, which dates originally from the 13th century and was encased in brick in 1717.

The original grounds were designed in the 17th century by George London as a formal garden and re-modelled by William Emes, who converted part into a landscape park with two lakes. The remaining formal gardens include the Silver Garden, the Lily Pool Garden, the Rose Garden and the Temple Garden, which has a temple structure on an island. The gardens are open to the public in summer.

Selected image

Eaton Chapel, Eaton Hall

Eaton Chapel was built in 1869–84 for Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, as the private chapel for Eaton Hall. An example of the Gothic Revival style with Alfred Waterhouse as the architect, the grade-I-listed chapel was retained when Waterhouse's hall was demolished in the 1960s.

Credit: Peter I. Vardy (4 April 2010)

In the news

3 April: East Cheshire NHS Trust requests donations of medical scrubs on Twitter for Macclesfield Hospital.

17–19 March: The Storyhouse theatre in Chester, the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe, and The Brindley theatre in Runcorn all close for a temporary period.

18 March: Cases of novel coronavirus are confirmed across Cheshire, including Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington and Halton.

13 March: The Queen's planned visit to Crewe and Macclesfield on 19 March has been postponed owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

10 March: Unilever announces that it plans to close its washing powder plant in Warrington, threatening more than 120 jobs.

25 February: Cransley School in Great Budworth closes for a week to reduce any possible risk of novel coronavirus spreading after pupils returning from a holiday in Bormio, northern Italy had respiratory symptoms.

18 February: Stanlow Refinery at Ellesmere Port is one of two British plants to share a government grant to begin manufacturing hydrogen as a low-emission industrial fuel.

21 January: Halton Transport, which provides bus services in Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes, has entered liquidation after making losses of £620,000 in 2019.

16 January: A stretch of Chester's Roman walls collapses due to excavations from adjacent building work.

Selected list

Agricola Tower of Chester Castle, a motte-and-bailey castle dating from 1070

Twenty castles lie within the modern boundaries of Cheshire. The most common form is the motte-and-bailey, which consists of a mound (motte), surmounted by a keep or tower, with an outer enclosure (bailey) where the barracks and workshops were located. Ringworks are less common; they are contemporary with motte-and-bailey castles and have a similar structure but lack the motte. Fortified manor houses are also found in the county; they are considered castles because they often had battlements or crenellations.

The earliest castles in Cheshire were built just after the Norman Conquest in 1070 (Chester Castle pictured), with the majority dating from before the end of the 12th century. After the 13th century, the castles are either tower houses or fortified manor houses, and were primarily a feudal residence rather than a military structure. The latest castle dates from the 15th century. The county played an important role in defending England against the Welsh, with eight castles being within 4 miles (6.4 km) of the Welsh border. Away from the borders, baronial castles were built as a status symbol. Most of the castles are now in a ruinous state, having been abandoned after they fulfilled their military purpose.


Top: Map of modern Cheshire showing urban areas (grey) and the major road network. Chester (red) is the county town, and Warrington has the greatest population. Towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants in 2011 are highlighted; the size of dot gives a rough indication of the relative population. Wales and the adjacent English counties are shown in capitals.

Bottom: Relief map showing the major hills. The Mid Cheshire Ridge is a discontinuous ridge of low hills running north–south from Beacon Hill (north of Helsby Hill) to Bickerton Hill. Most other high ground falls within the Peak District in the east of the county. Shining Tor (559 metres), on the boundary with Derbyshire, forms the county's high point.


Cheshire West and ChesterCheshire EastCheshire EastCheshire EastHaltonWarringtonCheshire 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.

Selected biography

5th-century Romano-British or Anglo-Saxon belt fittings from the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Mucking

Margaret Ursula Jones (née Owen; 16 May 1916 – 23 March 2001) was an archaeologist.

Born in Birkenhead, Jones first became involved in archaeology while studying at the University of Liverpool, where she volunteered on W. J. Varley's 1930s excavations of Cheshire hillforts, including Maiden Castle and Eddisbury hill fort. In 1956, she began working for the Ministry of Works as a freelance archaeologist in the burgeoning field of rescue archaeology.

Jones is best known for directing the Mucking excavation in Essex (1965–78), a major Anglo-Saxon settlement and associated cemetery, with finds ranging from the Stone Age to the Medieval period. It was Britain's largest ever archaeological excavation, producing an unprecedented volume of material. Some academic archaeologists have criticised the fact that the results did not appear in print until decades after the excavation had ended. Jones' work at Mucking, as well as her role in founding the campaign group Rescue, was influential in the establishment of modern commercial archaeology in Britain.

Did you know...

The Duchess of Cambridge posing in her wedding dress after her marriage to Prince William

Selected town or village

Warrington Town Hall

Warrington stands at the lowest bridging point of the River Mersey. Historically within Lancashire, it became part of Cheshire in 1974. With an estimated population of just over 209,500 in 2018, it is the county's largest town. The Warrington unitary authority also encompasses 18 civil parishes.

The site has been an important crossing place on the Mersey since prehistoric times. A large Roman industrial settlement centred on modern Wilderspool stood on the south bank. It declined after the end of the 2nd century, and a Saxon settlement was established on the north bank, recorded in the Domesday Survey as Walintune. By the Middle Ages, it had emerged as a market town. Warrington's expansion and urbanisation coincided with the Industrial Revolution, particularly after the Mersey was made navigable in the 18th century. In the 19th century, industries included wire drawing, textiles, brewing, tanning and soap manufacture. Further growth occurred after it was designated a new town in 1968. An IRA bomb attack in the centre in 1993 killed two children. Several medieval churches survive, and the town has a museum and art gallery.

In this month

Edward the Elder

July 1538: Dissolution of Combermere Abbey.

July 1804: Runcorn to Latchford Canal opened.

1 July 1869: Statue of Richard Grosvenor unveiled in Grosvenor Park.

4 July 1837: First trains crossed Dutton Viaduct.

4 July 1887: Queens Park, Crewe dedicated.

11 July 1910: Pulp author Hugh B. Cave born in Chester.

11 July 1978: Hybrid elephant Motty born at Chester Zoo.

14 July 1876: Chapel builder Thomas Hazlehurst born in Runcorn.

17 July 924: Edward the Elder (pictured) died at Farndon or Aldford.

17 July 1256: Edward, heir of Henry III and Lord of Chester, first visited Chester.

17 July 2015: An explosion at a wood-treatment mill in Bosley killed four employees.

20 July 1376: Charter of disafforestation of Wirral issued.

20 July 1816: Histologist and ophthalmologist William Bowman born in Nantwich.

21 July 1961: Silver Jubilee Bridge officially opened by Princess Alexandra.

23 July 1403: Sir Richard Venables and Richard de Vernon executed for supporting Henry "Hotspur" Percy in the Battle of Shrewsbury.

27 July 1962: Olympic gold medallist swimmer Neil Brooks born in Crewe.

29 July 1940: Crewe hit by first Cheshire air raid of Second World War.


It lay in the midst of a demesne of considerable extent, and richly wooded with venerable timber; but, apart from the somber majesty of these giant groups, and the varieties of the undulating ground on which they stood, there was little that could be deemed attractive in the place. A certain air of neglect and decay, and an indescribable gloom and melancholy, hung over it. In darkness, it seemed darker than any other tract; when the moonlight fell upon its glades and hollows, they looked spectral and awful, with a sort of churchyard loneliness; and even when the blush of the morning kissed its broad woodlands, there was a melancholy in the salute that saddened rather than cheered the heart of the beholder.

From "The Evil Guest" by Sheridan Le Fanu (1895)



Towns & Districts CHESHIRE | PLACES | CIVIL PARISHES | BY POPULATION | 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 Woodlands
History HISTORY | TIMELINE | [Agricultural history | 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 | Warrington Museum | Weaver Hall Museum  | PUBLIC PARKS | Grosvenor Park | Marbury Country 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 | Neston | Runcorn | Sandbach | Warrington | Wilmslow
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. | 1874 Northwich 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 | Walks
Economy ECONOMY | Agriculture | 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, Health & Services SCHOOLS | HIGHER EDUCATION | University of Chester | University of Law | Reaseheath College | HEALTH | Countess of Chester Hospital | Halton General Hospital | Leighton Hospital | Macclesfield Hospital | Warrington Hospital | PRISONS | HMP Risley | HMP Styal | HMP Thorn Cross | SERVICES | Fire and Rescue | Police | United Utilities
 Culture & Media LITERATURE | Cheshire Cat | Cheshire dialect | THEATRE | The Brindley | Lyceum Theatre | Storyhouse | CONCERT HALLS | Parr Hall | 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

Recommended articles

Towns & Villages 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 | Darnhall Abbey | Eaton Hall | Gawsworth Old Hall | Goat tower | 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 | Vale Royal Abbey
History Battle of Brunanburh | Battle of Rowton Heath | Deva Victrix | Dispute between Darnhall and Vale Royal Abbey | Eddisbury hill fort | Lindow ManFeatured article | Maiden Castle
Geography & Transport Bridgewater Canal | Chester Canal | Manchester Ship CanalFeatured article | Northern EnglandFeatured article | Peak District | River Weaver
People Jonathan AgnewFeatured article | Muthu Alagappan | 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 | Levi Mackin | One Direction | Peter, Abbot of Vale Royal | Plegmund | Joseph PriestleyFeatured article | Mark Roberts | Nick Robinson | Edmund SharpeFeatured article | Robert Tatton | Stuart Tomlinson | 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

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