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Frodsham from Overton/Frodsham Hill
Frodsham is located in Cheshire
 Frodsham shown within Cheshire
Population 9,077 (2011)
OS grid reference SJ520775
Civil parish Frodsham
Unitary authority Cheshire West and Chester
Ceremonial county Cheshire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town FRODSHAM
Postcode district WA6
Dialling code 01928
Police Cheshire
Fire Cheshire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Weaver Vale
List of places

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Frodsham /ˈfrɒdʃəm/ is a market town, civil parish and electoral ward in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. Its population is 8,982.[1] increasing to 9,077 at the 2011 Census.[2] It is approximately 3 miles (5 km) south of Runcorn, 16 miles (26 km) south of Liverpool, and 28 miles (45 km) southwest of Manchester. The River Weaver runs to its northeast and on the west it overlooks the estuary of the River Mersey. The A56 road and the Chester–Manchester railway line pass through the town, and the M56 motorway passes to the northwest.

In medieval times Frodsham was an important borough and port belonging to the Earls of Chester[citation needed] Its parish church, St. Laurence's, still exhibits evidence of a building present in the 12th century in its nave[citation needed] and is referenced in the Domesday Book.

A market is held each Thursday, and Frodsham's viability as a trading centre is emphasised by the presence of the "big five" clearing banks and several building societies. Development in the town's shops and premises with alcohol licences is evident through the recent (post-2002) opening or modernisation of contemporary-style bar/restaurants, take-away food shops and public houses, and in the continued presence of small, specialised, businesses operating from town-centre shops.

Like many small market towns in Cheshire, Frodsham and the smaller surrounding villages are seen as an affluent area.



The etymology of Frodsham's name is not entirely clear. A literal translation of the Old English would give personal name of Frod or an old spelling of Ford, and ham which means a village or homestead; hence Frod's village or the Village on the Ford (Ford-ham). However, an alternative, more obscure etymology exists which suggests the name means "promontory into marsh", which would make sense considering that Frodsham had a promontory castle very close to marshland. Frodsham is unique as the name of a settlement in the British Isles.[3][4] Earlier spellings of the name have included Fradsham, Frandsham, Frodisham, Ffradsam and Ffradsham.[5]

Early history

Frodsham Hill is the location of an Iron Age promontory fort, the outline of which can still be seen.[6]

The town is of Saxon origin; its 11th century church is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Frodsham was an important manor of the medieval Earls of Chester and was created a borough in the early 13th century, probably by Earl Ranulf III. The mouth of the River Weaver, where it joins the Mersey, made Frodsham into a significant port for the coasting trade, particularly for the export of Cheshire salt, brought down the river from Northwich and Nantwich. The site of the manor house was in Castle Park; the building was of stone and was fortified. In an account of 1315 it is called 'castellum' (little castle), although 'manerium' (manor house) was the usual designation.

Recent history

Frodsham was the headquarters of Runcorn Rural District Council. In 1974 the district was split between Halton Borough Council, Warrington Borough Council and Vale Royal District Council (latterly Vale Royal Borough Council). In the early 1990s Vale Royal Borough Council opened a new purpose-built headquarters in Winsford. At the same time, its offices in Hartford near Northwich (the former headquarters of Northwich Rural District Council) and at Castle Park in Frodsham (the former headquarters of Runcorn Rural District Council) were downgraded.

Castle Park House had a major refurbishment in 2005–06 and now operates as a "one-stop shop" for Cheshire West and Chester Council providing a number of services for the community and for businesses.

Frodsham Castle Park Arts Centre (photo: Neil Kennedy)

In 1992 the parish council became Frodsham Town Council and Frodsham was no longer a village. The chair of the parish council became the mayor of Frodsham. The majority of powers were held by Cheshire County Council and Vale Royal Borough Council who were replaced by Cheshire West and Chester Council on 1 April 2009.

Frodsham was home to Frodsham School, a science and technology college, which closed in July 2009 due to the falling birth rate and amalgamated with Helsby High School. The site was redeveloped and now houses the new health centre for the town.

Frodsham, like the neighbouring village Helsby, has a hill overlooking the Mersey estuary which is popular with dog walkers and naturalists. Frodsham Hill, overlooking Frodsham and the Liverpool skyline, is a large sandstone hill, home to many farms, prestige homes and the Mersey View nightclub (commonly known as 'the View') and Forest Hills Hotel. Before the construction of the hotel and nightclub, famously hosting one of the Beatles' first appearances, the site was home to a very large helter skelter.

The Frodsham Caves are found in the sandstone foundations of Frodsham Hill.


From 1923 the Grand Cinema stood by the railway bridge in Church Street. Before this there was a cinema in Fluin Lane. Five steps led to a small foyer area with the paybox on the right. Because the cinema was near the railway station, a vibration could be felt in the auditorium when a train went over the bridge. The Grand did not open on a Sunday. It often ran features for three days, and there was a children's matinee on a Saturday afternoon. Up in the projection box were two Kalee 8 projectors. If you sat at the back of the small balcony you could faintly hear the noise of the projector. Films were shown in the evenings only, being continuous. At one time there were two separate performances on a Saturday evening. Later it became continuous. The last manager was James Turner, known by locals as 'Jimmy Pictures'. He would greet patrons as they entered the building. After the cinema's closure he started his own window cleaning business. The cinema closed its doors on 5 August 1961 with the film Carry On Regardless. The building was demolished and a supermarket was built on the site.


Map of civil parish of Frodsham within the former borough of Vale Royal

Frodsham sits beneath the imposing wooded escarpment of Beacon Hill, which is also known locally as Frodsham Hill or Overton Hill and whose top attains a height of just over 500 feet (152 m). The hill forms the northern end of the Mid-Cheshire Ridge, a range of sandstone hills that extends southwards to Delamere Forest and Tarporley. The northern boundaries of the modern parish are defined by the River Weaver (canalised in part as the Weaver Navigation) and the inner Mersey Estuary into which it flows. The Manchester Ship Canal runs parallel to the Mersey along the northern edge of the low-lying ground of Frodsham Marsh and Lordship Marsh, which themselves extend south and east to the built-up area of Frodsham.

The town is close to the junction of the A56, the main link between Chester and Warrington, with the B5152 road, which runs southeast to connect with Kingsley, Northwich and Tarporley in the centre of the county. The Chester–Manchester railway line passes through the town and the M56 motorway runs parallel to the road and railway along the southeastern edge of the marsh. The formerly separate settlements of Netherton and Overton form the southern districts of the town while the easternmost section towards Frodsham Bridge is known as Newtown.[7]


The parish, like most in Cheshire, is underlain by a suite of sedimentary rocks dating from the Triassic Period. They comprise (in ascending order) the Lower Triassic age Kinnerton Sandstone, Chester Pebble Beds and Wilmslow Sandstone Formations together with the upper Triassic age Helsby Sandstone, Tarporley Siltstone and Sidmouth Mudstone Formations. Those formations up to and including the Helsby Sandstone Formation are assigned to the Sherwood Sandstone Group. It is this formation whose relatively hard-wearing sandstones form the higher ground of Beacon Hill, Woodhouse Hill and Harrol Edge. The younger siltstones and mudstones are assigned to the Mercia Mudstone Group.[8] The sequence of sandstones is exposed in a railway cutting and two road cuttings, which are designated as an earth sciences Site of Special Scientific Interest.[9][10]

Several faults run roughly northwest–southeast through the area, notably the Overton Fault, which roughly parallels the B5439 and B5152 roads, and the Frodsham Fault, which runs north from the vicinity of Crowmere to the mouth of the River Weaver. Both of these faults and others in the area downthrow to the east. Movement on them is thought to have taken place in the Tertiary period. The uplift resulted in trapping the water table at an elevation of around 200 feet (61 m) at which level springs developed.[11]

Overlying the bedrock is a variety of superficial deposits (otherwise known as drift). These comprise a thin and patchy cover of glacial till (or 'boulder clay'), largely a legacy of the last ice age, together with spreads of glacio-fluvial sand and gravel, a product of the eventual deglaciation of the area. Recent alluvium fills the deeply incised valley of the Weaver and also extends across the Marsh to the Mersey estuary.[8][12]


Being close to the west coast and the Irish Sea, the climate is generally temperate with few extremes of temperature or weather. The mean average temperature in the years 1971 to 2000 was 9.4 to 9.7°C, slightly above the average for the United Kingdom[13] as was the average amount of annual sunshine at 1391 to 1470 hours.[14] The average annual rainfall was 741 to 870 mm, slightly below the average for the UK.[15] The average number of days in the year when snow is on the ground is 0 to 6, which is low for the United Kingdom.[16] The average number of days of air frost is 2 to 39, which is also low.[17]


There is a railway station in Frodsham which is managed by Arriva Trains Wales.[18] They run an hourly service between Manchester Piccadilly and Llandudno via Frodsham and Chester. There are also infrequent services by Northern Rail between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool Lime Street via Warrington Bank Quay.[19] Bus services are available to Chester, Runcorn, Ellesmere Port, Hatchmere (adjacent to Delamere Forest) and to Northwich.[20] Frodsham is 14 miles (23 km) from Liverpool John Lennon Airport and 22 miles (35 km) from Manchester Airport.


There are four primary schools in Frodsham, namely Frodsham Manor House Primary School, St Luke's Catholic Primary School, Frodsham Church of England Primary School and Frodsham Weaver Vale Primary School.[21] The only secondary school in the town, Frodsham School, a science and technology college, has now closed[22] and has now been converted into a health clinic, library and leisure centre.

St Laurence, Frodsham


There is one Anglican church in Frodsham, St Laurence's in Church Road, Overton. Frodsham Methodist Church is on Kingsley Road, also just outside the centre of Frodsham in the Five Crosses area of the town. The town has, in the past, had a number of Methodist churches. Most recent to close were Trinity Wesleyan Chapel and Bourne Primitive Chapel. The Roman Catholic church is St. Luke's in High Street. There are two Evangelical chapels, Main Street Chapel and King's Church on Chester Road.[23]

Local government arrangements

Frodsham lies within the administrative area of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Two councillors are elected from the Frodsham ward to serve on that Council. The Frodsham ward has the same boundaries as the Town's own parish boundaries. The current Councillors are Cllr Andrew Dawson and Cllr Lynn Riley, both Conservatives, who were both elected to serve a four-year term of office in May 2011 and again in May 2015.

Frodsham Town Council is the local council or parish council for Frodsham. This council is made up of 16 councillors. The town councillors are elected from one of four parish wards called Frodsham North, Frodsham South, Frodsham East and Frodsham West. Four Councillors are elected from both the North and South wards, five from East and three from the West ward. These Town Councillors are elected to serve four-year terms of office, the most recent elections being in May 2011. If any vacancy occurs during the four-year term 10 local parishioners from the relevant ward can require a by-election to be held, otherwise the other Town Councillors can co-opt an eligible person to be a Councillor. The last by-election occurred in September 2013 in West ward. The last co-option occurred in September 2011 in North ward. There is currently a vacancy in West ward which will be contested on 13 March 2014. Many of the he current councillors were elected on a common manifesto 'Frodsham First'. The current councillors are:[24] for Frodsham North; Cllr Rita Shearn (Frod First), Cllr Frank Pennington (Frod First), Cllr Pammi Taylor (Ind), Cllr Allen Wales (Ind); for Frodsham South; Cllr Lynn Riley (Con), Cllr Sara Wakefield (Con), Cllr Fran Sutton (Frod First), Cllr Caroline Ashton (Con); for Frodsham East; Cllr Andrew Dawson (Con), Cllr Linda Brown (Frod First), Cllr Mark Warren (Frod First), Cllr Ruth Redhead (Frod First), Cllr Graham Bondi (Ind); for Frodsham West; Cllr Darren Kelly (Frod First), Cllr Mike Pusey (Ind), Cllr Alan Oulton (Ind).

The then Frodsham parish council resolved to style itself a town in 1992. From 1992 to May 2012 the chairman of the council has served as the Town Mayor but using the courtesy title of 'Mayor of Frodsham'. However, strictly, the chairman is only entitled to be known as 'town mayor'.

In April 2012 the council resolved to split the roles of Chairman and Mayor of Frodsham and separate votes are now held for each position. The council also resolved to create a convention offering the mayorship to the councillor who had served the longest since last being Mayor, or having been first elected regardless of any political or personal affiliations. If a councillor declines to serve as Mayor he or she will be taken as having declined to serve as Mayor until after the next elections.

In order to comply with the restrictive provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 the Chairman declares when accepting the office of Chairman of the Council that he wishes to be addressed as 'Chairman', and that he does not wish to use the style 'town mayor'. The Councillor who is elected to the position of 'Mayor of Frodsham' is in fact elected to serve as the council's principal civic representative and as the deputy chairman. Under the terms of the Local Government Act 1972 the deputy chairman can fulfil any of the roles of the Chairman. In essence the Chairman delegates the performance of the civic representative role to his deputy and consents to him or her being known under the courtesy title of 'Mayor of Frodsham'. The importance of this split is that it allows the Mayor to concentrate on promoting Frodsham to the wider world and civic and democratic society within Frodsham. It also allows the tradition to continue where the Mayorship changes each year. The Chairman leads the council. He can, if the councillors choose, continue to serve as Chairman from year to year - enabling consistent leadership.

The following councillors have served as the Mayor of Frodsham Frank Pennington 1992–93; Brian Lloyd 1993–94; 2010–11; Margaret Blythe 1994–95; Christine Lloyd 1995–96; Mike Pusey 1996–97; Graham Bondi 1997–98; 2003–04; Barry Honeyford 1998–99; Dave Thompson 1999–2000; Nigel Griffiths 2000–01; 2005–06; Maureen Turner 2001–02; 2004–05; Dennis Taylor 2002–03: 2006–07; John Maddock 2007–08; Pammi Taylor 2008–09; Geoff Bath 2009–10; Andrew Dawson 2011–12; Lynn Riley 2012–13; Sara Wakefield 2013–14; Allen Wales 2014–15.

The present Chairman of the Council is Cllr Mark Warren. He was elected to this role in May 2012 and re-elected to it again in May 2013 and May 2014.[24]

Notable people

See also



  1. Office for National Statistics : Census 2001 : Parish Headcounts : Vale Royal. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
  2. "Town and ward population 2011". Retrieved 28 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The exact quote in Latham page 14 reads: "Frodsham is unique in the British Isles in that the name does not occur anywhere else."
  4. Though a nearby township was referred to during the period of the ancient parishes of Cheshire as "Newton by Frodsham", its current name is now just "Newton". See Dunn, F. I. (1987), page 27, which states that, at the time, the Newton township near to Frodsham was referred to as "Newton by Frodsham". Furthermore, see Ordnance Survey (2004), which refers to the modern settlement which was Newton by Frodsham township just as "Newton" without any Frodsham component: SJ531751
  5. Latham 1987, p. 14.
  6. Monument no. 71527, Pastscape, retrieved 6 May 2009<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Ordnance Survey, Explorer map sheet 267
  8. 8.0 8.1 Phillips and Phillips 2002, pp. 4–5.
  9. Natural England: Frodsham Railway And Road Cuttings . Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  10. Natural England: Nature on the Map: Frodsham Railway & Road Cuttings SSSI . Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  11. Dodd 1987, p. 4.
  12. British Geological Survey 1:50K map sheet 97, 'Runcorn'
  13. Mean Temperature: Annual Average 1971–2000, Met Office, retrieved 2007-05-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Sunshine Duration: Annual Average 1971–2000, Met Office, retrieved 2007-05-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Rainfall Amount: Annual Average 1971–2000, Met Office, retrieved 2007-05-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Days of Snow Lying: Annual Average 1971–2000, Met Office, retrieved 2007-05-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Days of Air Frost: Annual Average 1971–2000, Met Office, retrieved 2007-05-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Station Facilities: Frodsham (FRD), National Rail Enquiries, retrieved 2007-05-17<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Timetable (PDF), Arriva Trains Wales, retrieved 2007-05-17<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Bus Service Timetables, Cheshire West and Chester, retrieved 7 July 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Schools in the Vale Royal area, Vale Royal Borough Council, retrieved 2007-05-17<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Ellams, Barry (16 July 2009), "Frodsham High School to close on Friday", Chester Chronicle, Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales, retrieved 7 July 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Churches in Frodsham, Frodsham Churches Together, retrieved 2007-05-17<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 24.0 24.1
  25. Smith, Arthur R. (2006), William Charles Cotton MA: Priest, Missionary and Bee Master, Birkenhead: Countyvise, ISBN 1-901231-81-X<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Cottam, Rachel (2004) 'Weaver, Harriet Shaw (1876-1961), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, [1] Retrieved on 9 March 2007
  27. Why you should move to Frodsham, Archant Life Limited, retrieved 2008-10-07<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "Patrick Larley: Biography", Patrick Larley,, retrieved 2008-06-11<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Garfield, Simon (2003-03-30), "High society", The Observer, London: Guardian News and Media Limited, retrieved 2008-10-07<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. BBC Profile of Paul Marsden
  31. The Guardian Leader 23/10/01
  32. Barnett, Laura (16 August 2010), "Portrait of the artist: Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano", The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, retrieved 24 March 2015<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. Daniel Craig (I) - Biography
  34. Gary Barlow: Official website,, retrieved 2008-10-02<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (One needs to choose the biography section after the animated introduction finishes.)
  35. Herbert, Ian (2005-05-19), The Independent: Football's lord of the manor bans hunting on his nine acres, London: Independent News and Media Limited, retrieved 2008-10-06<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Dodd, J. Phillip (1987), A History of Frodsham and Helsby, Frodsham: J. Phillip Dodd<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Dunn, F. I. (1987), The ancient parishes, townships and chapelries of Cheshire, Chester: Cheshire Record Office and Cheshire Diocesan Record Office, ISBN 0-906758-14-9<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Latham, F. A. (ed.) (1987), Frodsham, Frodsham: Local Historians, ISBN 0-901993-06-9CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ordnance Survey. (2004). Northwich and Delamere Forest, Winsford and Middlewich. (1:25000 scale map). Southampton United Kingdom: Ordnance Survey. ISBN 0-319-23567-X.
  • Phillips, A.D.M. (2002), A New Historical Atlas of Cheshire, Chester: Cheshire County Council, ISBN 0-904532-46-1 Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links