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
Winsford. The county is administered as four
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
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.
Crewe Hall is a
Jacobean mansion located east of
Crewe. Described by
Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the two finest Jacobean houses in
Cheshire, it is listed at
Built in 1615–36 for
Sir Randolph Crewe, perhaps using drawings by
Inigo Jones, Crewe Hall was said to have "brought London into Cheshire", and it was among the county's largest houses in the 17th century. The hall was extended in the late 18th century and altered by
Edward Blore in the early Victorian era. It was extensively restored by
E. M. Barry after a devastating fire in 1866, and is considered among his best works. The restoration also employed
J. Birnie Philip,
J. G. Crace,
Henry Weekes and the firm of
Clayton and Bell. The interior is elaborately decorated and contains many fine examples of wood carving, chimneypieces and plasterwork, some of which are Jacobean in date.
The park was landscaped during the 18th century by
William Emes and
Humphry Repton, and formal gardens were designed by
W. A. Nesfield in the 19th century. The stables quadrangle is contemporary with the hall and is listed at grade II*.
In this month
78 listed buildings in Sandbach include two at Grade I, two at Grade II* and the remainder at Grade II. By far the earliest listed structures are the two 9th-century
Sandbach Crosses, recorded in the town in the mid-16th century and reinstalled in the Market Square in 1816. The other Grade-I-listed building is
Old Hall Hotel, a
timber-framed building dating from 1656, on the site of a former
manor house. Another timber-framed building is the Grade-II*-listed Black Bear Inn, which dates from 1634. Several buildings in and around
Sandbach are by the Victorian architect
George Gilbert Scott, in the
Gothic Revival styles. These include
Sandbach School and its lodge, the Literary Institute and a set of
almshouses. He rebuilt the Grade-II*-listed
St Mary's Church in Sandbach, and designed
St John the Evangelist's Church in Sandbach Heath. Sandbach Town Hall and Market Hall (pictured) was designed by
Thomas Bower in 1889.
Trent and Mersey Canal runs through the parish and several listed buildings are associated with it, including bridges,
locks, mileposts, accommodation for canal workers, a stable and ticket office, and a warehouse. More unusual listed structures include three war memorials, a drinking fountain and a telephone kiosk.
Thomas Harrison (1744 – 29 March 1829) was an
architect and bridge
engineer. He worked in northwest England, and many of his buildings were in
His most important project in Cheshire was the design of new buildings within the grounds of
Chester Castle, a commission on which he worked from 1786 until 1815. He created accommodation for prisoners, law courts and a shire hall. His other works include public buildings, gentlemen's clubs, churches, houses and monuments. Most of his designs, particularly those at Chester Castle, were
Neoclassical in design, and he was a major influence in the emergence of the
Greek Revival in British architecture.
Harrison was also known for his innovative work on bridges.
Skerton Bridge in
Lancaster was the first substantial bridge in England to have a flat roadway, and
Grosvenor Bridge in
Chester, his final major commission, was the longest single-arched masonry bridge in the world at the time of its construction. He died at his home in Chester in 1829.
Did you know...
Selected town or village
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
St Mary's Church, whose 13th-century tower is among the earliest in the county.
In the news
Crewe Market Hall
29 October, 1 November:
Warrington council and the mayor of
Crewe each announce plans to bid for city status in 2022.
Prince Edward visits
Chester and opens a Fire Service training centre in
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
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 ayr is very wholesome, insomuch that the people of the countrey are seldom infected with Diseases or Sicknesse, neither do they use the help of the Physicians, nothing so much, as in other countries: For when any of them are sick, they make him a posset, and tye a kerchieff on his head; and if that will not amend him, then God be merciful to him! The people there live till they be very old; some are Grandfathers, their Fathers yet living; and some are Grandfathers before they be married.
From The Vale Royall of England by Daniel King (1656)
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