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

St Mary's Church, Nantwich, from the north east

St Mary's Church, Nantwich is the Anglican parish church of the town of Nantwich. The church is built in red sandstone on a cruciform plan with an octagonal tower. Building commenced in 1340 but was interrupted in 1349–1369, probably by an outbreak of the Black Death, which has resulted in the church's style being a mix of Decorated and Perpendicular. The church was briefly used as a prison for Royalists captured at the battles of Nantwich and Preston during the Civil War. George Gilbert Scott carried out substantial restorations in the 19th century. The interior features a stone lierne-vaulted ceiling to the choir, carved stone canopies over the sedilia in the chancel, as well as intricately carved wooden misericords and choirstall canopies.

A Grade I listed building, the church has been called the "Cathedral of South Cheshire". It is considered by some to be one of the finest medieval churches in England. Raymond Richards describes it as "one of the great architectural treasures of Cheshire" and Alec Clifton-Taylor includes it in his list of "outstanding" English parish churches.

Selected image

Norman doorway at St Edith's Church, Shocklach

Dating from around 1150, St Edith's Church, Shocklach is among the oldest churches in Cheshire. Its carved sandstone doorway is one of the county's finest examples of Norman architecture.

Credit: Peter I. Vardy (30 June 2010)

In this month

Fiddlers Ferry Power Station

1 January 1894: Manchester Ship Canal first opened to traffic.

2 January 1644: Dorfold Hall taken by Royalist forces during the Civil War.

3 January 1866: Crewe Hall gutted by fire.

13 January 1984: A cooling tower at Fiddlers Ferry Power Station (pictured) collapsed in high winds.

17 January 1644: Royalist forces attacked Nantwich during the Civil War.

20 January 1540: Dissolution of St Werburgh's Abbey.

20 January 1971: Singer–songwriter Gary Barlow born in Frodsham.

24 January 1909: Film star Ann Todd born in Hartford.

25 January 1837: Fire damaged the new wing of Vale Royal Abbey.

26 January 1644: Battle of Nantwich.

27 January 1832: Author and mathematician Lewis Carroll born in Daresbury.

27 January 1941: Cosmologist Beatrice Tinsley born in Chester.

28 January 1643: First battle of Nantwich.

Selected list

6–11 Grosvenor Park Road, Chester (c. 1879–80)

The output of Chester-based architect John Douglas (1830–1911) included a diverse collection of residential buildings. 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.

Douglas' new houses embraced a range of sizes and types, and included substantial country houses, such as Oakmere Hall, as well as terraces of houses built for speculation, such as 6–11 Grosvenor Park Road (pictured) and 1–11 and 13 Bath Street in Chester. He also designed many humbler projects, including farmhouses, cottages and workers' houses. Work carried out on grand houses included additions to Vale Royal Abbey. Other commissions included park entrance gates and a set of kennels.


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

Jonathan Agnew in 2006

Jonathan Philip Agnew (born 4 April 1960), nicknamed "Aggers", is a cricket broadcaster and former professional cricketer, who was born in Macclesfield.

He had a successful first-class career as a fast bowler for Leicestershire from 1979 to 1990, playing for England six times in Test matches and One Day Internationals. His greatest success came towards the end of his career, after he started to swing the ball. He took 100 wickets in a season in 1987 and was named one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in 1988.

Since his retirement, Agnew has become a leading voice of cricket on radio, as the BBC radio cricket correspondent and as a commentator on Test Match Special. He has also appeared on the Australian Grandstand team. He is known for his humour and occasional innuendo. His notorious on-air "leg over" comment in 1991 has been voted "the greatest sporting commentary ever" in a BBC poll.

Did you know...

Thomas Aldersey by Robert Peake the elder (1588)

Selected town or village

Northwich Public Library, one of several buildings designed to be lifted in the event of subsidence

Northwich, the most northerly of Cheshire's wich towns, lies at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane, near Winsford, in the heart of the Cheshire Plain. The population of the civil parish was nearly 20,000 in 2011.

Northwich rests on Lower Keuper saliferous beds. The settlement – then called Condate, thought to mean "confluence" – has been known since the Roman era, when it was important as a river crossing and a source of salt, and the area has long been exploited for its salt pans. The town has had a market since at least 1535. From the 19th century, pumped water was used to extract salt as brine, leading to subsidence problems and the creation of flashes. Several buildings were designed to be lifted in the event of subsidence. Northwich has been involved in the chemical industry since 1874, when Brunner Mond, later part of ICI, started to manufacture soda ash in Winnington. The mines were stabilised in the early 2000s, and much of the industrial area has been reclaimed to form Northwich Woodlands. The Weaver Hall Museum documents the town's salt industry.

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.


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.



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


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