The Cheshire Portal


Cheshire Plain from the Mid Cheshire Ridge

Cheshire shown within England

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, Nantwich, 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 a little over one million, 19th highest in England, with a population density of around 450 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

South range of Little Moreton Hall, showing the Long Gallery (left)

Little Moreton Hall is a moated half-timbered "black and white" manor house near Congleton. The earliest parts of the house were built for prosperous Cheshire landowner William Moreton in about 1504–08 on the site of a medieval building. The remainder was constructed in stages by successive generations of the family until about 1610. The house remained in the possession of the Moreton family for almost 450 years.

Highly irregular, with three asymmetrical ranges forming a small, rectangular cobbled courtyard, the house has been described as being "lifted straight from a fairy story, a gingerbread house". Its top-heavy appearance, "like a stranded Noah's Ark", is due to the Long Gallery that runs the length of the south range's upper floor. The building is listed at grade I, and the site is also a Scheduled Monument.

The house has been owned by the National Trust since 1938, and is open to the public. The gardens were recreated in the 20th century, and include a knot garden, planted to a 17th-century design.

Selected image

Handforth Hall

Dated 1562, Handforth Hall is one of many black-and-white, half-timbered former manor houses in the county. It was once the home of Sir William Brereton (1604–61), a Parliamentary commander in the Civil War.

Credit: Mike in Macc (29 September 2013)

In this month

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker

1 April 1974: Widnes and Warrington gained from Lancashire; Hyde, Dukinfield and Stalybridge lost to Greater Manchester; parts of the Wirral lost to Merseyside; and Tintwistle lost to Derbyshire in local government reorganisation.

1 April 1998: Halton and Warrington became unitary authorities.

1 April 2009: Unitary authorities of Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East took control.

5 April 1847: The Port of Runcorn became an independent customs port.

5 April 1847: Birkenhead Park, the UK's first publicly funded civic park, opened.

8 April 1889: Conductor Adrian Boult born in Chester.

10 April 1964: Runcorn designated a new town.

10 April 1998: Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker (pictured) opened as a museum.

11 April 1830: Architect John Douglas born in Sandiway.

17 April 1948: Train crash near Winsford killed 24 people and injured 10.

17 April 1951: Peak District became the UK's first national park.

20 April 1857: Cheshire Constabulary formed.

21 April 1913: George V and Queen Mary visited Crewe Railway Works and Worleston Dairy Institute.

23 April 1610: First St George's Day race held at Chester Racecourse.

24 April 1643: Royalist forces plundered Acton, Dorfold, Ravensmoor and Sound during the Civil War.

25 April 1956: Construction of Silver Jubilee Bridge began.

26 April 1761: Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, born in Ness.

30 April 1851: Accident in Sutton Railway Tunnel killed nine people and injured at least 30.

Selected list

Church Street, Great Budworth, where almost all the buildings are listed

The 59 listed buildings in Great Budworth include two at Grade I, one at Grade II* and the remainder at Grade II. Most are in the village of Great Budworth, formerly within the Arley Hall estate. In 1860–1900, Rowland Egerton-Warburton, the hall's owner, commissioned new buildings and the restoration of existing ones in the village, employing architects working in the Vernacular Revival style, including John Douglas, Edmund Kirby and William Eden Nesfield. Almost all the buildings in the village centre, those in Main Street, Church Street (pictured) and School Lane, are listed.

The Grade-I-listed St Mary and All Saints Church originated in the 14th century and was virtually complete by the end of the 16th century. The Grade-I-listed Belmont Hall, designed by James Gibbs in about 1750, incorporates Palladian features. The Grade-II*-listed Old School House dates from 1615. Many of the Grade-II-listed buildings are 17th-century timber-framed houses and farm buildings, most of which have been recased in brick. There are two listed public houses: the Cock Inn and the George and Dragon. More unusual listed structures include the churchyard walls, a sundial, stocks, lychgate, guidepost, two wellhouses and a telephone kiosk.


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 EastHaltonWarrington

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

Daniel Craig in 2015

Daniel Craig (born 2 March 1968) is an English actor. Born in Chester and brought up on the Wirral, he joined the National Youth Theatre at the age of sixteen and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1991. His breakthrough performances were in Layer Cake and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; other early successes include roles in Enduring Love and Munich.

Craig is the sixth actor to portray the fictional secret agent James Bond in the long-running film series. His debut appearance in the 2006 film Casino Royale gained critical acclaim and was nominated for a BAFTA award. He also stars in the sequels, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Spectre and No Time to Die. He guest-starred as Bond alongside Queen Elizabeth II in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

He has also appeared in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Golden Compass, an adaptation of the Philip Pullman novel, Northern Lights. He was nominated for a 2020 Golden Globe Award for his work in the murder mystery, Knives Out.

Did you know...

Addleshaw Tower, Chester
Addleshaw Tower, Chester

Selected town or village

The centre of Acton village, with St Mary's church tower in the background

Acton is a small village and civil parish lying immediately west of Nantwich. The civil parish covers 762 acres (3.08 km2) and also includes Dorfold and part of Burford, with an estimated population of 340 in 2006. The area is agricultural, with dairy farming the main industry.

The parish is believed to have been inhabited since the 8th or 9th century. Acton appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was one of the wealthiest townships in the Nantwich Hundred, being valued for the same sum as Nantwich. The name means "oak town", referring to the pedunculate oaks that predominated in the adjacent Forest of Mondrem. During the Civil War, the village was taken by siege several times. The Shropshire Union Canal reached the parish in 1835, using a long embankment to avoid Dorfold Park. The parish contains many historic buildings, notably Dorfold Hall, considered by Nikolaus Pevsner to be one of the two finest Jacobean houses in Cheshire, and St Mary's Church, whose 13th-century tower is among the earliest in the county.

In the news

Crewe Market Hall
Crewe Market Hall

29 October, 1 November: Warrington council and the mayor of Crewe each announce plans to bid for city status in 2022.

13–14 October: Prince Edward visits Chester and opens a Fire Service training centre in Winsford.

8 October: Castle Street shopping area in Macclesfield reopens after refurbishment.

4 October: Restoration of the grade-I-listed Bridgegate, part of Chester city walls, is completed.

25 September: A bronze frieze by the sculptor Tom Murphy is unveiled in Warrington, as a memorial to the band Viola Beach.

9 September: The fifth stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race takes place in Cheshire, starting at Alderley Park and finishing in Warrington.

24 July: The grade-II-listed Crewe Market Hall (pictured) formally reopens after refurbishment.

15 July: Crewe, Runcorn and Warrington are awarded potential funding under the "Town Deal" government scheme.


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.

From "The Harrowing of Hell", in the Chester Mystery Cycle (c. 15th century)


Click on "►" below to display subcategories:


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 | Cats Tor | Kerridge 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 | Congleton Town F.C. | Macclesfield F.C. | 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 Hall | Lovell Telescope | Lyme Park | Norton Priory | 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 Man | Maiden Castle
Geography & Transport Bridgewater Canal | Chester Canal | Manchester Ship Canal | Northern England | Peak District | River Weaver
People Jonathan Agnew | Muthu Alagappan | Ben Amos | Adrian Boult | Thomas Brassey | Neil Brooks | Sir John Brunner, 1st Baronet | James Chadwick | Djibril Cissé | Daniel Craig | Hilda Ellis Davidson | John Douglas | Rowland Egerton-Warburton | Thomas Harrison | Reginald Heber | Eddie Johnson | Margaret Ursula Jones | Levi Mackin | One Direction | Peter, Abbot of Vale Royal | Plegmund | Joseph Priestley | Mark Roberts | Nick Robinson | Edmund Sharpe | Robert Tatton | Stuart Tomlinson | Alan Turing | William Windsor
Lists Castles | Church restorations, amendments and furniture by John Douglas | Grade I listed churches | Houses and associated buildings by John Douglas | Listed buildings in Runcorn (rural area) | Listed buildings in Runcorn (urban area) | Listed buildings in Widnes | New churches by John Douglas | Non-ecclesiastical and non-residential works by John Douglas

Things you can do


Map of Cheshire
Map of Cheshire

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