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, 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 1,028,600, 19th highest in England, with a population density of 439 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.
Peckforton Castle is a grade-I-listed Victorian country house built in the style of a medieval castle. Faced in red sandstone, it features a gatehouse, portcullis, dry moat, two large towers and external windows that are little more than arrow slots. It stands in woodland at the north end of the Peckforton Hills, near the villages of Peckforton and Beeston. The ruins of the genuinely medieval Beeston Castle are about ¾ mile to the north.
The castle was built in 1844–50 as a family home for John Tollemache, a wealthy landowner, estate manager and Member of Parliament, and his family continued to live in the house until 1939. It was designed by Anthony Salvin in the Gothic style. George Gilbert Scott described the building in 1858 as "the largest and most carefully and learnedly executed Gothic mansion of the present" and "the very height of masquerading".
The chapel and entrance lodge, also by Salvin, are listed at grade II*, and part of the surrounding woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The castle has been used as a filming location, including for the Doctor Who serial The Time Warrior and a 1991 film of Robin Hood.
Emma, Lady Hamilton (1761–1815), best known as the mistress of Horatio Nelson, was born at Ness, the daughter of a blacksmith. Renowned for her beauty, she became the muse of portraitist George Romney, inspiring more than 60 pictures. This portrait dates from 1785.
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.
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.
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. Template:/box-footer Template:/box-header Places: 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 • Eaton Hall • Gawsworth Old Hall • Halton Castle • 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
History: Battle of Brunanburh • Battle of Rowton Heath • Deva Victrix • Eddisbury hill fort • Lindow Man • Maiden Castle
Geography & Transport: A500 road • Bridgewater Canal • Chester Canal • Manchester Ship Canal • Peak District • River Weaver
People: Jonathan Agnew • Ben Amos • Adrian Boult • Thomas Brassey • Neil Brooks • Sir John Brunner, 1st Baronet • James Chadwick • Djibril Cissé • Daniel Craig • John Douglas • Rowland Egerton-Warburton • Thomas Harrison • Reginald Heber • Eddie Johnson • One Direction • Plegmund • Joseph Priestley • Mark Roberts • Nick Robinson • Edmund Sharpe • Robert Tatton • 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 Template:/box-footer
One Direction is a four-member boy band formed in 2010, which shot to fame after finishing third in the television singing competition The X Factor that year. Singer Harry Styles (born 1 February 1994) is from Holmes Chapel, and the group's other members are from England and Ireland. Their prominent social media presence has been judged a factor in their rapid success. Their style includes teen pop, dance pop, pop rock and power pop.
The group's 2011 debut album Up All Night topped the charts in sixteen countries, and was the first debut album by a British group to enter the US Billboard 200 chart at the top. Their subsequent albums, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories and Four, topped the charts in most major markets. A fifth album, Made in the A.M., was released in 2015. Their first single "What Makes You Beautiful" reached number one in the UK charts; subsequent hit singles include "Live While We're Young", "Story of My Life" and "Steal My Girl". The biographical film This Is Us was released in 2013. One Direction has won five Brit Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards.
21 March: An exhibition on the Gothic Revival in Cheshire opens at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester.
20 March: An exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of Macclesfield Synagogue opens in Macclesfield.
4 March: The Lion Salt Works restoration wins the conservation award at the Civic Trust Awards.
4 March: Consultation opens on Cheshire East's local plan, which has been revised to contain an extra 7,000 houses, to include greenbelt sites near Knutsford, Macclesfield and Wilmslow.
1 March: Disused offices in Runcorn are to be converted into a "healthy new town" providing 800 dwellings.
25 February: Listed railway viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover Superior, as well as railway bridges at Crewe, Rudheath and Davenham, reopen after refurbishment.
22 February: DONG Energy announces the first plant to convert unsorted household waste into biogas, to be built in Northwich.
22 February: Restoration work commences on the Chester Castle Propylaeum.
21 February: An exhibition celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Brazilian World Cup football team's visit to Lymm opens.
13 February: The four members of Warrington band Viola Beach are killed in a car accident in Sweden.
Sometyme I was a taverner,
a gentle gossippe and a tapster,
of wyne and ale a trustie bruer,
which woe hath me wrought.
Of kannes I kept no trewe measure.
My cuppes I sould at my pleasure,
deceavinge manye a creature,
thoe my ale Were nought.
And when I was a bruer longe,
with hoppes I made my alle stronge;
esshes and hearbes I blend amonge
and marred so good malt.
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