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

The courtyard of Adlington Hall, showing the north-east corner, the oldest part of the hall

Adlington Hall is a grade-I-listed country house in the village of Adlington. The Legh family has lived on the site since the early 14th century. The hall follows a courtyard plan. The medieval Great Hall was built in 1480–1505 with a timber frame; it has a hammer-beam roof, a rare wooden canopy dated 1505, and an organ dating from the late 17th century, which was played by Handel, a friend of the Legh family. The Great Hall was encased in brick after the Civil War, when the hall was twice occupied by Parliamentary forces. The east wing dates from 1581, and retains its original "black and white" appearance. The remainder of the house largely dates from the 18th century, when Charles Legh transformed the hall into a Georgian manor.

The grounds were laid out as gardens, woodland and parkland in the 18th century; they are listed at Grade II*. They include Shell House, which has an interior decorated with shells and coloured mirrors, and Tig House, a pavilion which is an early example of the Chinoiserie style. The hall and grounds remain in private ownership, and are occasionally open to the public.

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

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

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 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

John Brunner in 1885

Sir John Tomlinson Brunner, 1st Baronet (8 February 1842 – 1 July 1919) was a chemical industrialist and Liberal Party politician.

Born in Liverpool, he worked at Hutchinson's alkali works in Widnes, rising to general manager. In 1873, in partnership with Ludwig Mond, he started the chemical company Brunner Mond & Co. at Winnington near Northwich, initially making alkali by the Solvay process. It became the wealthiest British chemical company of the late 19th century and, after Brunner's death, was one of the four companies that merged to found Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI).

Brunner represented Northwich in Parliament in 1885–86 and 1887–1910. He was a prominent Freemason, a paternalistic employer and a generous benefactor to the towns in his constituency and to the University of Liverpool. He is the great grandfather of HRH The Duchess of Kent.

Did you know...

St Mary's and St Michael's Church, Burleydam

Selected town or village

Spike Island, Widnes

Widnes is an industrial town on the northern bank of the River Mersey, where the estuary narrows to form the Runcorn Gap. Historically in Lancashire, it became part of Cheshire in 1974, within the borough of Halton. It had a population of a little over 60,000 in 2011.

Before the Industrial Revolution, Widnes consisted of a small number of separate settlements on predominantly marsh and moorland. In 1847, the first chemical factory was established, and the town rapidly became a major centre of the chemical industry using immigrant workers from Ireland, Poland, Lithuania and Wales. The town was described in 1888 as "the dirtiest, ugliest and most depressing town in England". Although there has been a degree of diversification of the town's industries, Widnes remains a major manufacturer of chemicals.

Spike Island (pictured), where the disused Sankey Canal terminates, has been reclaimed as a recreational area. The nearby Catalyst Science Discovery Centre is the world's first museum dedicated to the chemical industry.

In this month

Portrait of Edward I in Westminster Abbey

1 August 1984: Lindow Man bog body discovered.

2 August 1957: Lovell Telescope took its first image.

3 August 1952: Pianist Martin Roscoe born in Halton.

4 August 1643: Attack on Nantwich by Royalists led by Lord Capell during the Civil War.

4–6 August 1896: Princess Louise visited Crewe Hall and opened bazaar in aid of Crewe Memorial Hospital.

6 August 2012: Astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell died in Swettenham.

8 August 1953: First (private) motor race at Oulton Park.

9 August 1886: Grosvenor Museum officially opened by the First Duke of Westminster.

10 August 1933: Acton swing bridge over the Weaver opened.

11 August 1642: Confrontation between Sir William Brereton and Royalist forces near Ravensmoor during the Civil War.

13 August 1277: Foundation stones of Vale Royal Abbey laid by Edward I (pictured) and Eleanor of Castile.

15 August 1538: Dissolution of Chester's three friaries.

23–26 August 1617: James I visited Chester, Nantwich and Utkinton Hall, and hunted in Delamere Forest.

24 August 1538: Warrant issued for the dissolution of Vale Royal Abbey.

27 August 1781: First recorded game of cricket in the county.

29 August 1940: An air raid destroyed around fifty houses in Crewe.


To which I may add, that special gift which God hath bestowed on the soil in and near to that place, for the excellency of the cheese there made; which, notwithstanding all the disputations which many make to the contrary, and all the trials that our ladies and gentlewomen make in their dairies, in other parts of the country, and in other countries of the kingdom, yet can they never fully match the perfect relish of the right Nantwich cheese; nor can, I think, that cheese be equalled by any other made in Europe, for pleasantness of taste, and wholesomeness of digestion, even in the daintiest stomachs of them that love it.

William Webb (1621), quoted in George Ormerod's History



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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