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Cheshire

 

Alderley Edge

Alderley Edge is located approximately 15 miles south of Manchester. It has a long history which dates back to around the Bronze Age. Copper and lead mining has taken place since the Roman times. The Edge is now a site of scientific interest and is mostly owned by the National Trust. The village developed after 1842 due to the opening of a rail station by the Birmingham and Manchester Railway Company. The village developed along class lines which were divided between the Edge and the Village. The wealthier residents lived high up the hill on the Edge whilst the poorer residents lived below in the Village. A beacon on top of the Edge since the Tudor times was initially to warn of the coming invasion of the Spanish Armada and then also the threat from Napoleon later.

 

Ashton Hayes

Ashton Hayes is a village in Cheshire which is about 5 miles from Chester. It recently changed its name from Ashton due to the fact that there are many other Ashton's in England.

The parish of Ashton Hayes includes the hamlets of Ashton Hayes, Brine's Brow and Woodside as well as Mouldsworth and Horton-cum-Peel and is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

 

Audlem

Audlem is a small village in Cheshire which has been a canal town since the late 18 th Century when the Shropshire Union Canal was constructed. A distinctive landmark is the Old Market House with its eight stone pillars standing in front of the church with its great tower which dominates the village centre.

 

Beeston

Beeston has a long history which dates back over 4,000 years as a Bronze Age hill fort. The Castle was built around 1226 by Earl Ranulf of Chester. It was intended to be an impregnable fortress, and in fact remained so until it was severely damaged during the English Civil Wars. During the reign of King Henry III in the mid thirteen century Beeston, together with the earldom of Chester passed to the Crown whereupon it was used as a base for assembling troops and the storage of supplies for his Welsh campaigns.

 

Chester

The City of Chester is situated about 40 miles west and slightly south of Manchester. The City is around 2000 years old and has many tourist attractions from the half-timbered medieval buildings to its large Roman Amphitheatre and Cathedral.

The first ever performance of Handel's Messiah was made in Chester Cathedral and copies of the original manuscript can be seen here.

Displays and exhibitions relating to Chester can be seen at the Heritage Centre and Grosvenor Museum. The Chester Toy and Doll Museum is also well worth a visit. Chester is said to be one of the UK's premier shopping centres.

 

Congleton

Congleton is located in central Cheshire on the main A34 trunk road. It is a relatively large town which was a former County Borough and dates back the Stone Age with the remains of a stone chambered tomb which is known locally as the Bridestones. Bronze Age artefacts have also been found. This suggests that there was a settlement in the area.

Leather gloves and purses were manufactured there during 16 th Century.

Around 1752 the first silk mill was built which employed around 500 local people. By 1755 ribbon weaving had commenced and in 1785 a cotton spinning mill was opened in the town. By the end of 19 th Century the silk trade was in depression. This was largely replaced by the introduction of velvet cutting.

 

Crewe

The Town of Crewe lies amongst Britain's railway network having started around the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway Company in the mid-19 th Century. The railway was once the town's largest employer. Crewe's railway heritage can be seen at The Railway Age Exhibition and Museum in the Town. Crewe is also known as the home of the Rolls Royce motor car.

In the centre of Crewe you will find the Lyceum Theatre which was built in 1911. During 1994 this Grade II listed building was vastly refurbished providing a wonderful venue.

 

Ellesmere Port

Ellesmere Port is the largest town in the southern side of the Wirral Peninsular. It has been well known for its largest employer, the Vauxhall Motor Company which has been manufacturing cars there since the early 1960's.

Ellesmere Port has a main shopping centre as well as arcades and busy market. Its association with the canal system can be seen at the Boat Museum which has become a major tourist attraction.

 

Knutsford

Knutsford is a market town. It was first granted a charter in 1292. Novelist, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, lived much of her life in Knutsford. Her novel Cranford is said to be based upon life in Victorian Knutsford.

Knutsford Heritage Centre is located in a 17 th Century timber-framed building just off King Street. It was a blacksmith's forge in 19 th Century and now houses a museum which contains a variety of exhibitions, one of which is the May Queen's dress shoes and crown from 1887.

In 2005 Knutsford was named as the most expensive town to buy a house in northern England, followed by the nearby town of Altringham.

 

Macclesfield

Macclesfield is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. It has distinctive street patterns and place names developed from medieval times. It is a major town and one of the largest in Cheshire.

Macclesfield became a major woven silk producing town during the late 18 th century and was the greatest silk weaving centre in England during the mid-19 th Century. Although the industry declined it is still a major manufacturer of neck ties and silk covered buttons. The Macclesfield Silk Museum and Paradise Mill are open to the public.

The Macclesfield canal is a popular location for canal hire boats and canal cruising. There are many Georgian houses showing the former wealth of the town.

 

Middlewich

Middlewich has been one of Britain's chief salt-producing towns since Roman times and as the romans were paid in salt this district held a valuable commodity.

By the late 18 th century with the arrival of the canals Middlewich became a vital location for transporting salt. Many of Middlewich's houses were built by the waterways companies. The commercial use of the canals declined after the Second World War due to the introduction of improved road and rail systems. However, as pleasure cruising became more of a popular holiday activity, several boat hire companies started in the town which brought the canals alive once more.

 

Mottram

In 1066 Mottram came into the ownership of William the Conqueror and by the Domesday Survey of 1086 was part of the lands granted to the Earl of Chester.

In the Middle Ages Mottram was a local religious centre and market town and by the time of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18 th Century it had a well-developed cotton spinning industry locally. By the early 19 th Century the district also specialised in shoemaking and tailoring.

The celebrated artist L S Lowry lived in Mottram from 1948 until his death in 1976.

Nowadays Mottram's mills have been converted into small industrial and commercial units.

 

Nantwich

Nantwich is located on the River Weaver in central Cheshire. It is an old market town with a strong history where you will find many beautifully preserved houses from a range of periods set around an original medieval street. There are many listed buildings of historical interest. As well as being associated with salt, it is also a main producer of Cheshire cheese and history of leather tanning. It contains many beautiful black and white half-timbered buildings.

In the 11 th Century Nantwich was virtually destroyed by the Norman Invaders. In 13 th Century it was attacked by the Welsh and in 1583 was almost destroyed by a great fire. With the financial assistance of Queen Elizabeth I, the town was rebuilt It was also attacked during the English Civil Wars.

St Mary's Church stands in the main town square and is known locally as The Cathedral of South Cheshire. It is thought to be one of the finest medieval churches in Britain.

 

Runcorn

Runcorn is an industrial town and cargo port and lies on the West Coast Main Railway Line and the A533 road. It is within the borough of Halton in Cheshire on the southern bank of the River Mersey. Directly to the north across the Mersey you will find the town of Widnes and 16 miles to the west is the City of Liverpool.

The Manchester Ship Canal runs between it and the River Mersey and the Bridgewater Canal passes through. It is linked to the rest of the UK and Europe by road, sea and air.

During the 19th century the Runcorn became dominated by the chemical and tanning industries. In 1868 the Runcorn Railway Bridge was opened across the Mersey which gave Runcorn direct rail links with Liverpool and the rest of the country via Crewe.

 

Warrington

Warrington stands upon the banks of the River Mersey and is 16 miles east of Liverpool, 19 miles west of Manchester and 8 miles south of St Helens.

This town was founded by the Romans as an important crossing place on the River Mersey. A new settlement was established by the Saxons and by the middle ages it became as a market town where textiles and wools were produced.

Cromwell is said to have lodged near the building which survives on Church Street as The Cottage Restaurant. The Marquis of Granby public house has a plaque which states that the Earl of Derby had his quarters near this site. It is also rumoured that the dents in the walls of the parish church were caused by cannons during the Civil War.

Located in Warrington are cultured venues such as the Parr Hall which is a concert hall, an Arts Centre and the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. There are also several parks and nature reserves.

 

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