UK Genealogy Archives logo

Cheshire, England

Historical Description

Cheshire, a maritime county, bounded on the NW by the Irish Sea, on the N by Lancashire, on the NE by Yorkshire, on the E by Derbyshire, on the SE by Staffordshire, on the S by Salop, and on the SW by North Wales. Its outline has two projections, north-westward between the estuaries of the Mersey and the Dee, forming the Wirral Peninsula, and north-eastward to Yorkshire, forming the district known as Longendale, but is otherwise nearly oval Its greatest length north-eastward is 58 miles, its greatest breadth 36 miles, its mean breadth about 18 miles, its circuit about 200 miles, its area 657,068 acres. A ridge of hills, subordinate to the Derby and Yorkshire mountains, extends along all the eastern border; another ridge, much broken, crosses the west centre northward from Malpas to Frodsham. A remarkable isolated rocky eminence, about 366 feet high, is in the line of the latter ridge at Beeston. A chain of high ground goes through the Wirral Peninsula, and a few other eminences occur near Macclesfield and toward Salop. The rest of the surface, comprising about four-fifths of the entire area, is remarkable for flatness, and has a mean elevation of probably not more than 150 feet above the level of the sea. The chief rivers are the Mersey, the Dee, the Weaver, the Dane, the Bollin, the Tame, the Goyt, the Peover, and the Wheelock. Lakes bearing the name of meres are numerous and pretty enough to give feature to some landscapes, but are all small. Rocks of millstone grit occur along the eastern border, and fill the extremity of the north-eastern projection; rocks of the coal measures, rich in coal, form a broad band immediately west of the millstone grit; rocks of hunter sandstone occupy a great tract westward of the coal measures, and a still greater one from the vicinity of Malpas, Tattenhall, and Frodsham all westward to the sea; and rocks of the keuper marl and sandstone occupy most of the country between these two tracts, and occur to some extent near the extremity of the north-western peninsula. There occur ores of copper, cobalt, manganese, carbonate of lead, galena barytes, and oxide of iron, but not in sufficient amount to be profitably worked. Bed sandstone for building is extensively quarried at Runcorn, Manley, Great Bebbington, and other places, and limestone and millstone are found at Mole-Cop Mountain. Coal is worked to the amount of over 600,000 tons per annum. Salt abounds in strata and in springs near Northwich, Nantwich, Winsford, and Middlewich, and constitutes the most important mineral product of Cheshire, The annual production of salt in Cheshire amounts to more than 1,400,000 tons, while the production of all the rest of England scarcely amounts to 500,000 tons. Only a small proportion of the output is quarried as rock-salt, over 1,300,000 tons being obtained from brines produced naturally or artificially by flooding the salt-bearing strata with water, and thus dissolving out the salt, which is recovered by evaporating the liquid in pans.

The soil in some parts is a light sandy earth, in other parts a dark peat mould, hut in most parts a rich reddish loam, variously sandy and clayey. The sub-soil in general is either clay or marl, and has to a vast extent afforded material for the improving of the soil. About 64,000 acres are water and sea-sand; about 17,000 are bog and morass; about 28,000 are heaths, commons, and woods, and the rest of the area is variously building site, pleasure ground, park, pasture, meadow, and arable land. Most of the land is under grass, dairy-farming being the most common. Wheat is not much cultivated.

Cheese is a main produce, and Is exported to all parts of England and to the Continent. Butter also is made in considerable quantity. Much attention has been paid to the breed of cows. Market-gardening is carried on to a large extent in the vicinity of large towns. The chief manufactures are muslins, calicoes, fustians, tapes, silks, thread, leather, gloves, and hose, and have their seats principally at Stockport, Macclesfield, Congleton, and Sandbach. Railways intersect the county in all parts and in all directions. The chief belong to the systems of the L. & N.W.R.,, the G.W.R., the M.R., the Cheshire lines, the M.S. &L.E,, the North Staffordshire railway, the Wirral railway, and the Wrexham Mold and Connah's Quay railway. The chief canals are the Manchester Ship Canal, the Trent and Mersey, the Ellesmere, the Chester, the Macclesfield, the Shropshire Union, and the Peak Forest

The county is situated in the diocese of Chester, excepting parts of the parishes of Mottram, Threapwood, and Whitchurch It has one court of quarter sessions, and is divided into fourteen petty sessional divisions. The boroughs of Congleton, Crewe, Macclesfield, Stalybridge, and Stockport have separate commissions of the peace, and the county boroughs of Birkenhead and Chester (city) have both separate commissions of the peace and separate courts of quarter sessions. The administrative county contains 463 civil parishes, and the county boroughs of Birkenhead, Chester, and Stockport four, one, and one respectively; there are besides three parishes which are situated partly in the county and partly in the county boroughs, and seven which are situated partly in other administrative counties. Under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 it is divided for the purposes of parliamentary representation into eight divisions, each returning a member—Altrincham, Crewe, Eddisbury, Hyde, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Northwich, and Wirral. It also includes the parliamentary borough of Birkenhead, and parts of the boroughs of Ashton-under-Lyne, Chester, Stalybridge, Stockport, and Warrington, of which Stockport returns two members, and the others one each. The municipal boroughs are Chester, Birkenhead, Stockport, Macclesfield, Congleton, Stalybridge, Crewe, and Hyde; other towns are Runcorn, Altrincham, Wilmslow, Knutsford, Nantwich, Lymm, Sandbach, Over, Tarporley, Frodsham, Middlewich, Northwich, Winsford, and Audlem. The chief seats are Cholmondeley Castle, Eaton Hall, Dunham-Massey, Combermere Abbey, Crewe Hall, Tabley Hall, Vale-Royal Abbey, Poynton, Alderley, Hooton, Oulton, Norton Priory, Over-Peover, Arley Hall, Aston Hall, Adlington, Peckforton Castle, Brereton, Bromborough, Bramhall, Dukinfield, Capesthorne, Hyde, Lyme, Marbury, Marple, Tatton, Rode, Mere, Somerford, Toft, Wythenshaw, Upton, and Somerford-Booths, Population (1801) 192,305, (1821) 270,098, (1841) 395,660, (1861) 505,428, (1881) 644,037, (1891) 730,058. Population of administrative county, 743,869.

According to the census returns issued in 1893, the chief occupations of the people of the county were;—Professional, 10,804 males and 7695 females; domestic, 2121 males and 44,028 females; commercial, 39,925 males and 699 females; agricultural, 31,846 males and 1915 females; fishing, 357 males and 1 female; industrial, 134,135 males and 50,938 females; and "unoccupied," including retired business men, pensioners, those living on their own means, and others not specified, 40,078 males and 176,248 females; or a total in the county of 259,226 males and 281,524 females. The number of men employed in the leading industries was as follows:—General labourers, 17,540; agricultural labourers, 15,597; cotton manufactures, 8903; mechanics, 8048; farmers, 6230; carpenters, 5389; and silk manufactures, 4304. The chief occupations of women were, domestic service, with a total of 36,923; cotton manufacture, 14,941; millinery and dressmaking, 8862; silk manufacture, 7773; teaching, 3702; and laundry work, 3068. There are also in the county 476 blind persons, 252 deaf, 278 deaf and dumb, and 2136 mentally deranged.

The county is in the North Wales judicial circuit. The assizes and quarter sessions are held at Chester. Under the Local Government Act of 1888 the county, excluding Chester, Birkenhead, and Stockport, is an administrative county governed by a county council consisting of 19 aldermen and 58 councillors. Chester, Birkenhead, and Stockport form administrative counties in themselves. Chester is the headquarters of the North-Western military district.

The territory now forming Cheshire belonged anciently to the British Cornavii, and was included by the Romans first in their Britannia-Superior, next in their Flavia-Cæsariensis. It was overrun in 607 by Ethelfrith; annexed to Mercia In 828 by Egbert; made an earldom under Leofric by Canute; constituted a palatinate under Hugh Lupus by the Conqueror; annexed to the Crown in 1265 by Henry III.; made a principality by Richard II.; constituted again a palatinate by Henry IV.; and governed thence, under the king's eldest sons as Earls of Chester, by a separate and independent jurisdiction. The privileges of the palatinate were greatly curtailed by Henry VIII., and ceased altogether in 1830. The county is crossed by the Via Devana and Watling Street, and has British and Saxon remains at Prestbury, ancient castles at Halton and Beeston, old timber houses at Bramhall, Garden, Moreton, Dukinfield, and Baguley, monastic remains at Birkenhead and Vale Royal, and curious ancient churches at Prestbury and Mottram.


Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Archives and Libraries

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies,
Cheshire Record Office,
Duke Street,
Chester,
Cheshire.
CH1 1RL.
Tel : 44 (0)1244 972574
Fax : 44 (0)1244 973812
recordoffice@cheshireeast.gov.uk


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

List of Registration Districts in Cheshire from 1837 to 1974.


Directories & Gazetteers

Transcript of the description of Cheshire from Pigot & Co. directory of Cheshire, 1828-9

The Historical Directories web site have a number of directories relating to Cheshire online for the period 1833-1915, including:
Kelly's, Pigot, Slater, Harrod.

We have transcribed the entry for Cheshire from the following:


Historical Geography

A listing of the Hundreds in Cheshire, with the parishes contained in them.


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Cheshire is available to browse.


Maps

Old map of Cheshire circa 1848 (Samuel Lewis)

Old map of Cheshire circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)


Parishes & places

Acton
Acton Grange
Adlington
Agden (Bowden)
Agden (Malpas)
Alderley
Alderley Edge
Aldersey
Aldford
Allostock
Alpraham
Alsager
Altrincham
Alvanley
Alvaston
Anderton
Antrobus
Appleton
Arclid
Arley
Arrow
Ashley
Ashton
Ashton upon Mersey
Astbury
Astmoor
Aston
Aston and Aston Heath
Aston by Budworth
Aston by Sutton
Aston Grange
Aston juxta Mondium
Audlem
Austerson
Bache
Backford
Baddiley
Baddington
Baguley
Barnhill
Barnston
Barnton
Barrow
Barthomley
Bartington
Barton
Basford
Batherton
Bebbington
Beeston
Betchton
Bexton
Bickerton
Bickley
Bidston cum Ford
Birches
Birkenhead
Birtles
Blackden
Blacon cum Crabhall
Blakenhall
Bollin Fee
Bollington (Altrincham)
Bollington (Prestbury)
Bosden
Bosley
Bostock
Bowdon
Bradley (Frodsham)
Bradley (Malpas)
Bradwall or Bradwell
Bramhall or Bramall
Bredbury
Brereton cum Smethwick
Bridge Trafford
Bridgemere
Brindley
Brinnington
Broadbottom
Bromborough
Brooklands
Broomhall or Bromhall
Broxton
Bruen Stapleford
Buckley
Bucklow Hill
Buerton (Aldford)
Buerton (Audlem)
Buglawton
Bulkeley
Bunbury
Burland
Burley Dam
Burton
Burton by Tarvin
Burwardsley
Butley
Byley cum Yatehouse
Cadishead
Caldecott
Caldy
Calveley
Capenhurst
Capesthorne
Carden
Carrington
Castle Northwich
Caughall
Cheadle
Cheadle Bulkeley
Cheadle Hulme
Cheadle Moseley
Checkley cum Wrinehill
Chelford
Chester
Chester Canal
Chidlow
Childer Thornton
Cholmondeley
Cholmondestone
Chorley
Chorlton (Malpas)
Chorlton (Weston)
Chorlton by Backford
Chowley
Christleton
Church Coppenhall
Church Hulme
Church Lawton
Church Minshull
Churton by Aldford
Churton by Farndon
Churton Heath or Bruera
Claughton
Claughton cum Grange
Claverton
Clifton or Rocksavage
Clive or Cliff
Clotton Hoofield
Clutton
Coddington
Cogshall
Comberbach
Combermere Abbey
Compstall
Congleton
Coole Pilate
Cotton
Cotton Abbotts
Cotton Edmunds
Cranage
Crewe
Crewe (Farndon)
Crewe or Crewe Green
Cross Street
Croughton or Croghton
Crowley
Crowton
Croxton
Cuddington (Malpas)
Cuddington (Weaverham)
Dane Bridge
Daresbury
Darnhall or Dernhall
Davenham
Davenport
Dean Row
Delamere
Disley or Disley Stanley
Dodcot cum Wilkesley
Doddington
Doddleston or Dodleston
Duckington
Duddon
Dukinfield
Dunham Massey
Dunham on the Hill
Dunham Woodhouse
Dutton
Eastham
Eaton (Astbury)
Eaton (Davenham)
Eaton (Eccleston)
Eaton (Tarporley)
Eaton Hall
Eccleston
Eddisbury
Edge
Edgeley
Edgerley
Edleston
Egerton
Eiton
Ellesmere Canal
Ellesmere Port
Elton
Faddiley
Fallibroom
Farndon
Foulk Stapleford
Frankby
Frodsham
Fulshaw
Furness Vale
Gawsworth
Gayton
Gee Cross
Glutton
Godley
Golborne Bellow
Golborne David
Goostrey cum Barnshaw
Gorstage
Grafton
Grange or Caldy Grange
Grappenhall
Greasby
Great and Little Stanney
Great Boughton
Great Budworth
Great Meolse
Great Mollington
Great Neston
Great Saughall
Great Sutton
Great Warford
Gresty
Guilden Sutton
Hadlow Road
Hale
Hall Green
Halton
Hampton
Handforth with Bosden
Handley
Hankelow
Hapsford
Harden Hall
Harrop
Hartford
Harthill
Haslington
Hassall
Hatherton
Hattersley
Hatton (Runcorn)
Hatton (Waverton)
Haughton
Hazel Grove
Heatley Heath
Helsby
Hen Hull
Henbury
Heswall
Heyhead
High Lane
High Legh
Higher Whitley
Hilbre
Hockenhull or Hockenhull Stapleford
Hollingworth
Hoo Green
Hoole
Hoose
Hooton
Hope Green
Horton by Malpas
Horton with Peele
Hough (Wilmslow)
Hough (Wybunbury)
Hoylake
Hulme Walfield
Hulse
Hunsterson
Huntington
Hurdsfield
Hurleston
Huxley
Hyde
Iddinshall
Keckwick
Kelsall
Kermincham
Kettleshulme
Kinderton with Hulme
Kingsley
Kingsmarsh
Kingswood
Knutsford
Lach Dennis
Landican
Langley
Larkton
Latchford
Lea (Backford)
Lea (Wybunbury)
Lea Newbold
Leasowe Castle
Ledsham
Leese
Leftwich
Leighton
Leighton or Leighton Chapel
Liscard
Little Budworth
Little Leigh
Little Meolse
Little Mollington
Little Neston
Little Saughall
Little Sutton
Little Warford
Littleton
lnce
Lostock Gralam
Low Oulton
Lower Kinnerton
Lower Peover
Lower Whitley
Lower Withington
Lyme Handley
Lymm
Macclesfield
Macclesfield Canal
Macclesfield Forest
Macefen
Malpas
Manchester Ship Canal
Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway
Manchester, South Junction
Manley
Marbury
Marbury (Great Budworth)
Marlston cum Lache
Marple
Marston
Marthall
Marton
Marton in Whitegate
Matley
Mere
Mersey Road
Mickle Trafford
Micklehurst
Middlewich
Midland Railway
Millbrook
Millington
Milton
Minshull Vernon
Mobberley
Monks Coppenhall
Monks Heath
Moore
Mooresbarrow with Parme
Moreton
Moreton cum Alcumlow or Great Moreton
Morley
Mossley
Moston (Chester)
Moston (Warmingham)
Mottram in Longdendale
Mottram St Andrew
Mouldsworth
Moulton
Mutlow
Nantwich
Ness
Neston
Nether Peover
Nether Pool
Nether Whitley
Netherton
New Brighton
New Ferry
Newbold Astbury
Newhall (Davenham)
Newhall (Wrenbury)
Newton (Middlewich)
Newton (Prestbury)
Newton by Chester
Newton by Daresbury
Newton by Frodsham
Newton by Malpas
Newton by Tattenhall
Newton cum Larton
Newton in Northwich
Newton or Newton Moor
Noctorum
Norbury (Marbury)
Norbury (Stockport)
Norley
North Rode
Northenden or Northen
Northern Etchells
Northwich
Norton
Oakmere
Occlestone
Odd Rode
Offerton
Old Withington
Oldcastle
Oldfield (Dunham Massey)
Oldfield (Heswall)
Ollerton
Onston
Oscroft
Oughtrington
Over
Over Alderley
Over Peover
Over Pool
Overton (Frodsham)
Overton (Malpas)
Oxton
Parkgate
Partington
Peckforton
Peel Causeway
Pensby
Penyffordd
Peover Inferior
Peover Superior
Pepper Street
Pexhall
Pickmere
Pickton
Plemonstall or Plemstall
Plumbley or Plumley
Poole
Portwood
Pott Shrigley
Poulton
Poulton Cum Spittle
Poulton with Seacombe
Pownall Fee
Poynton or Pointon with Worth
Prenton
Prestbury
Preston Brook
Preston on the Hill
Pryors Hayes
Puddington
Pulford
Quoisley
Raby
Radnor
Radway Green
Rainow
Ravenscroft
Ridley
Ringway
Rock Channel
Rock Ferry
Romiley or Chadkirk
Rope
Rostherne
Rowton
Rudheath
Runcorn
Rushton
Saighton
Sale
Saltersford
Sandbach
Sandbach Heath
Sandiway
Saughall Massey
Seacombe
Sevenoaks (Great Budworth)
Shavington cum Gresty
Shipbrook
Shocklach
Shotwick
Shotwick Park
Shurlach
Siddington
Sinderland
Smallwood
Snelson
Somerford
Somerford Booths
Sound
Spital
Sproston
Spurstow
St Cross
Stalybridge
Stanlow
Stanthorne
Stapeley
Stayley
Stockham
Stockport
Stockport Etchells
Stockton
Stockton Heath
Stoke or Stoak
Stonton
Storeton
Stretton (Great Budworth)
Stretton (Tilston)
Stublach
Styal
Sutton (Middlewich)
Sutton (Prestbury)
Sutton (Runcorn)
Swanlow
Swettenham
Tabley Inferior
Tabley Superior
Tarporley
Tarvin
Tattenhall
Tatton
Taxal
Tetton
The Bollin
The Dane
The Etherow
The Mersey
The Peover
The Weaver
The Wheelock
Thelwall
Thingwall
Thornton Hough
Thornton le Moors
Threapwood
Three Shire Stones
Thurstaston
Tilston
Tilstone Fearnall
Timperley
Tintwistle
Tittenley or Titley
Tiverton
Toft
Torkington
Tranmere
Tushingham St Chad
Twemlow
Tytherington
Ulutegate
Upton
Upton (Prestbury)
Upton in Overchurch
Utkinton
Vale Royal
Walgherton
Wallasey
Wallerscoat
Walton
Warburton
Wardle
Warmingham
Waverton
Weaver
Weaverham
Werneth
Wervin
West Kirby
Weston (Crewe)
Weston (Runcorn)
Weston Point
Wettenhall
Whaley Bridge
Whatcroft
Wheelock
Whitby
Whitegate
Wigland
Wildboarclough
Wilderspool
Willaston (Hooton)
Willaston (Wybunbury)
Willington
Wilmslow
Wimbolds Trafford
Wimboldsley
Wincham
Winnington
Winsford
Wirral
Wirswall
Wistaston
Witton
Witton cum Twambrooks
Woodbank
Woodchurch
Woodcott
Woodford
Woodhead
Woodhouses
Woodley
Woolstanwood
Worleston
Wrenbury cum Frith
Wybunbury
Wychough
Yeardsley cum Whaley

Population

The population of Cheshire largely increased during the 19th century; the following table shows the numbers at each census:-

YearMalesFemalesTotal
180193,03599,270192,305
1811110,858116,173227,031
1821132,952137,146270,098
1831164,133170,258334,391
1841193,646202,014395,660
1851222,386233,339455,725
1861244,314261,114505,428
1871271,033290,168561,201
1881311,188332,849644,037
1891359,100384,769743,879
1901395,017432,174827,191
1911454,718500,061954,779

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Cheshire, 1580 is available on the Heraldry page.

Map of Cheshire