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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 449 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, Astbury

St Mary's Church, Astbury, is a grade-I-listed Anglican parish church in the village of Newbold Astbury. The existing church is Norman in origin, perhaps replacing a Saxon building on the site. The exterior dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, and all styles of English Gothic architecture are visible: Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular. During the civil war, Sir William Brereton's Roundheads stabled their horses in the church. The interior was restored by George Gilbert Scott in the 19th century.

Described as "one of the most exciting Cheshire churches," it has an unusual trapezoidal shape, with an exceptionally wide nave, broader than that of Chester Cathedral. The tower is separate from the body of the church, joined to it by a passage with a porch, and is built in millstone grit, a rare material in Cheshire churches. The interior contains a Norman round-headed archway, and has the largest collection of medieval fittings and furniture of any Cheshire church. A late-13th-century canopied tomb, two medieval memorials and more than fifty 17th-century gravestones survive in the churchyard.

Selected image

Chimney-piece from Tabley Old Hall

The chimney-piece from Tabley Old Hall, now ruinous, is displayed at nearby Tabley House. It dates from 1619, and is in painted and gilded wood, with carvings including statues of Lucretia, Cleopatra and a female nude reclining on a skull.

Credit: Peter I. Vardy (April 2010)

In the news

15 July: The Bank of England announces that the mathematician Alan Turing, who died in Wilmslow, has been chosen as the theme for the new £50 note.

7 July: Jodrell Bank Observatory is named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

27 June: A major fire occurs in a warehouse in the Golden Triangle Industrial Estate, Widnes.

18 June: Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane calls for the police and crime panel's chair to resign, after the latter criticised Cheshire Constabulary's deputy chief constable for wearing a rainbow lanyard in support of the LGBT+ community on duty.

13 June: Over 4,000 greater Bermuda land snails, previously believed to have been extinct, are returned to Bermuda after a captive breeding programme at Chester Zoo.

12 June: Severe flooding in the Nantwich and Crewe area blocks roads and disrupts the Crewe–Chester and Chester–Shrewsbury railway lines.

27 May: In the European Parliament election, 3 Brexit party, 2 Labour, 2 Liberal Democrat and 1 Green are elected in the North West.

22 May: Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils elect Labour leaders – Cheshire East's first – after no party gained an overall majority on either council in recent elections.

Selected list

Billy Hobby's Well, Grosvenor Park, Chester (1865–67)

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.


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.

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

Michael Owen in 2010

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, and in 2001 became one of a handful of English players to win the Ballon d'Or. As of 2019, he is fifth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team and is England's eleventh most-capped player, having scored 26 competitive goals – formerly a national record – 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 from football in 2013. He has subsequently owned and bred racehorses, and acts as a sports commentator and pundit.

Did you know...

Risley Moss

  • ...that when George Booth built Booth Mansion in Chester, he angled the building to make it more visible from Chester Cross, but was fined £10 for encroaching into the street?

Selected town or village

Sandbach market square, showing a black-and-white public house (left) and the war memorial (right), with Sandbach Crosses in the background

Sandbach is a market town and civil parish near Crewe. The town is Cheshire East Council's administrative centre. The civil parish covers 10.7 km2 (4.1 sq mi), and also contains Elworth, Ettiley Heath and Wheelock villages, with a total population of nearly 18,000 in 2011.

The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon and means "sand stream" or "sand valley". There are traces of Saxon settlement and two Saxon crosses, believed to have been completed by the 9th century, stand in the market square. Sandbach appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. It has been a market town since 1579. Sandbach School was founded in 1677. The population increased during the 19th century, when the town was engaged in the silk industry. In the 20th century, Sandbach was the site of Foden and ERF lorries, and remains known for Foden's Brass Band.

The parish's many listed buildings include Old Hall Hotel and other former coaching inns, as well as several buildings by George Gilbert Scott. Sandbach Flashes, fourteen pools created by subsidence due to underlying salt deposits, form an important wildlife habitat.

In this month

Rowton Moor Memorial Stone

September 1707: Physician Nathan Alcock born at Aston.

1 September 1858: Crewe and Shrewsbury Railway opened.

1 September 1876: Activist and editor Harriet Shaw Weaver born in Frodsham.

1 September 2007: Cheshire Regiment merged into the Mercian Regiment.

7 September 1917: Pilot and charity founder Leonard Cheshire born in Chester.

8 September 1949: Bernard Lovell and Charles Husband first meet at Jodrell Bank to discuss the 250-ft radio telescope.

14 September 1804: Landowner and poet Rowland Egerton-Warburton born in Norley.

16 September 1947: Comedian Russ Abbot born in Chester.

21 September 1642: Charles I brought his army to Chester during the Civil War.

24 September 1645: Battle of Rowton Heath (memorial pictured).

29 September 1908: Cheshire County Cricket Club founded.


They left the shimmering road for the green wood, and The Wizard was soon lost behind them as they walked among fir and pine, oak, ash, and silver birch, along tracks through bracken, and across sleek hummocks of grass. There was no end to the peace and beauty. And then, abruptly, they came upon a stretch of rock and sand from which the heat vibrated as if from an oven. To the north, the Cheshire plain spread before them like a green and yellow patchwork quilt dotted with toy farms and houses. Here the Edge dropped steeply for several hundred feet, while away to their right the country rose in folds and wrinkles until it joined the bulk of the Pennines, which loomed eight miles away through the haze.



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 | UNIVERSITIES | Manchester Metropolitan University | University of Chester | HEALTH | Countess of Chester Hospital | Halton General Hospital | Leighton 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 | 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 | 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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