by James Pigot  (1828-29)


  Chester              Congleton                 Macclesfield                 Stockport

Cheshire is one of the western counties of England, and a county palatine bounded 011 the t•orth by the Irish sea,

_·and the eo tu~ties of,Laucnster aup York·; on ;the east.. by. t~ ~Quuties 9{ D~l'by_ and S~atford ; on the S«?!l~l

by thecounty of ~a1op; and on the wes.t by the ..co_uu~hes ofF 1Jut_ a!Jd D~nb1gh.. Its extrcn1e length_, frsn1

tbe hundred of \VuTal to tbe confines of Yorkshue, 1s· about 58 nulcs; 1ts breadth, fron~ uortb to south,

about 30 n1iles, and the ac.reage of the county about 676,000... ·Its soil, generally .speaking, ls cotnp.osed

of clay a1_1d sar1d: _the forn1~r prevailing in tb~ hundreds. of. Broxton, Wirral, . and Macdesfield, an~

the latter In the hundreds of Edd1sbury, N orthw1c~, )'Jan..twich, and Bucklow. ,Large tracts of peat n1~ss

and black moor land exhiLit thetnselves in thatpartwh1cbhes upon the co.1afines ofYork8hjre and Derbys1nre.

Cheshire was celebrated some <;enturies ago for the great ex~ent ofits forests and heat~1 l~nd_s. Its principal.

forests were those of D~Iamere, or lJfara and JYiondranz, Wnral, and l\1acclesfield ; all of them well supplied

,vith timher. "fhe forest of Delatnere must have been of great extent, no.~ les~rthan jlftu towns'hips beihg

within its boundary: within the la~t two centuries it·contained upwa.rds of ·11,000 acres, the soil co.nsisting

chiefly ()f gravel and wl1tte·b'and 2009 acre!; were in-closed;· pursuant to an act ofpal"liament passed 11.1 1812,

and the land now-sustains ·thrh~ing plantations of varioustimber. Some of the rising grouuds, in·t·h~_neigh

bourhood of the o1d and new pales, wl1ich have been detached by royal grants fro1n the forest land, are n1ucb

indebted for ·their rising beauty to the· taste and expenditure of "rhomas Choln1ondley, Esq. and Nicholas

Ashton, Esq. whose plantations are as extensive as they are useful and adorning. · . · ·

rrhe general appearance of the county is that of an extended plain, and is, for tile most part, a fiat country,

\Vhence it l1as obtained -the ·name of the "Vale Royal ofEngland.'' On the eastern side is a range of

n1ountainous country, connected with the Derbyshire andYorkshire l1ills, of about 25 _n1ile~ in ·JeJigtb and

5 in breadth, extending from near Cong-leton to the north-eastern extren1ity of tire- county. From Matclesfield;

_iu a north-western dire~tion! the surface is irregula1· and hilly, but c~ut~~ues of that desc!iP!lOn -~~o further

-than Alderley, ahout SIX nnles from :Macclesfield. On the Shropslnre s1des the surface 1s llkew1se broken

and irregulat·; and about ten ~iles east. from c:Jhester is another rar1ge of h~lls; ·between the·rivers Dee and

l\:Jersey, extending about twenty-five miles from Malpas, on the south side of the _county•. Abotit·a n1ile to

the south 9f Altrinchan1 rises au elevated tract of gt·ouiul, called Bowden Downs, .w:Pich ext~nds ·aconsiderable

distanc·e from east to west; its western extremity being covered \vith the. \-l700d of Dnllh~m Parl!.· · · · . -

Although it is stated that the general appearance of this county is fi(:lt, it mUst' n,ot be t_ben_c~ iilferred to .be

deficient iu ''al'icd beauty aud picturesque landscape, a.s partial topographers 11ave unfairly written on the

c~utrary, ,·arious parts- of Cheshire yosses~_high c.laho~ to tl1e notic~ of the arti8t, and the ad'f!lirer of_diver

Sified scenery ; and fron1 the severa pronunences may be contemplated nature clothed both tn magnitlcent

and simple garbs. Wirral boasts many delightful 1narine view~S: the pro~pect of the Welch coast, from

Park-gate and its neighbourhood, is interesting, and includes the venerable ruins of Flint Castle, the town of

Flint, Holywell, &c.; while the active scenery, produced from vessels in the coasting asd coal trades,. con

tinuallv .passing to and fro, gives a livdy and pleasing c;olouring to the picture. rrhe vicinities ofMacclesfield,

Astbui:y, Nantwich, Saudbach, Bunhill, Kelsall-Hill, and ti·otn the summit ofBeeston, afford prospects

· extensive and luxuriant. '.fhe view fro1n .Halton is also very 'vide, enriched by the meanderings of the

lVIersey; and the eye is carried over a large district of Lancashire. From Beeston the "Vale Royal" of the

county is seen in all its beauty, highly culth·ated and spotted \Vith \Voods and coppice$ ; in the distance are

the towerin~ Welch mountaiu8, ~nd the estuary of the Dee gives a pleasiug perspective to the \Vhole. · Fron1

other elevations, besides those of Mowcop, Aldedey Edge, Bucldow Hills, the hills of Shuttingslow, and

at Fl·odshan1, nlay be enjoyed a visual banquet of no ordinary excellence and interest. . ·

,.rbe principal rivers of Cheshire are the Dee, the 1\fersey, the Weaver, the Bollin,the Dane, tb~ Wheelock,

the Peover, and the Tan1e. Besides these,_ there are otb{"r inconsiderable strean1s, wbid1 either .rise in or

wash the lands of this countv, and are tribntarv waters to the other rivers; as, the Gowy, the Betley, the

Ashbrook; the Bid,dle, the Birkin, the Croco, the "Valwern;the Mar, the Grimsditch, and. the Flookersbrook•

.Cheshire is also noted fo1· its beautiful sheets of water called meres, Ialies, and pools; among these is the

: noble CoMBERMERE, more than a n1ilc iu length, g!ving uan1e to Cornbennere Abbey. Chapel-tllere and

; · l\1oss-mere are fine pieces of water, in front_ of Cholmondley Castle. The other tneres are Bar-tnere,

·-. Quoisley-mere, Rosthern-mere,- Bag-tnen·, Pick-mere, Oak-mere, Mere Pool, &c. rrhe priuci.pal canals of

.· this county are, the Duke of Bridgewater':,, which was commenced in 1i6l the communication between

·-_ -•. -l\·lanchester and Liverpool opened in 1772, aud tl1e whole finished in 1776; tile Grand Trunk canal, the act

,. --.for cutting \Vhich was passed in 1766; the Ellesniere canal, the act obtained in 1793; the Chester and

·• ·Nantwich canal (now united with the Ellesn1ere) obtained its act in 1772, and was completed in 1776; and

. . the Peak Forest canal, ·which obtained the sanction of government in 1794. "fhese grand works of labour

, . and art afford tininterruptc~d and cl1eap iuiercourse between the towns of Chester, Liverpool, l\1anchester,

· ·;.&c. ; besides communicating with the north of England, Staffordshire, Shrop'!bire, and adjacent counties.

. . . 'rhe veins of 1netal which have been disco,·ered aud worked iu this county, are those of copper and lead,

., .at Alderley Edge, where also, in 1807, was fnund cobalt; lead· and copper ore b.ave likewise produced profit

. from the miues at Motti·am ; and those n1etals, as well as iron, have been found in other parts, though

·. ·. in \'eins 'not tich enough to inspire speculatiOJl. Coal is found in great plenty in nutnerous parts of the

~: county, particularly on its north-east side, in the townships of Adlington, Bolliugton, Hurdsficld, Nor

bury, Pott-Shrigley, Poyuton, Worth, &c. ; these collieries supplying l\1anchester, 1\'lacclesfield, Stock port,

~c. ·with this article, no\v so essential' to manufacturing purposes. One of the n1ost extensh·e collieries .

n tbe ldngdon1 is at Dennah, near Park-gate, the property of Sir Thomas S. l\1 .. Stanley, Bart.

SALT- and CHEESE have been considered as the chief stapl~ comtnodities of this col!nty, both of them being

porte? to a great amount.. 'rhe annual average weight of rock salt for exportation, f<~_r the purpose of

sh cunng, &c. sent down the \Vearer for the last twenty years is estimated at upwards of a5,000 ton3 ; and

he annual average of white salt, for the Hke period, has been about 140,000 tons, chiefly for exportation, the

sheries, aud colonies. T'he principal pits are at "\Vheelock, La,vtou, Roughwood in Leftwich, l\liddlewich,

uderton, Betchton, near Nort.hwich, Nantwich, and Frod~harn. 'fhese several worl{S gh'e employn1ent to

pwards of 3000 hands. "rhe quantity of cheese taken o:tf by the London n1arket annually, is said to be

wards of 14,000 tons-Bristol and York 8000 tons, besides large quantities sent to Scotland, Ireland, &c.;

. to which, the home consun1ption and immediate well populated neighbourhood must take off con

l~erable quantitie~. In 1323, it is stated, about 94,000 cows were kept in Cheshire, but this nmnber is

dently erroneous, being insufficient to the production of the immense weight of chee~e 111ade in this

nn~y; w~thout taldng into aecount ~he consunlP.tion of 1nilk, crea1n, and butter. T~e other productions

this prolific county are potatoes, wh1ch are cult1vated to much advantage; corn, millstones, timber, &c.

e_present mernbL·rs serving iu parliament for the county of Cheshire are Wilbraham Egerton, Esq. and

anes Davenport, Esq. rrhere are also hV'O members returned for the city of Chester, being all that the

unty Hends tn parliament.

The diocese of Chester comprehends all Cheshire and Lancashire, and various of Westmoreland, Cumberland, Yorkshire, Denbighshire and Flintshire; is divided into two archdeaconries, and the county apportioned into seven hundreds, viz. BROXTON, BUCKLOW, EDDISBURY, MACCLESFIELD, NANTWICH, NORTHWICH and WIRRAL. It contains 101 parishes, 1 city, 11 market towns,  and 670 villages.

Population according to the parliamentary returns for 1821 there were houses inhabited 47.094, uninhabited 1.212, and houses building 414. The total number of persons living in the county in the year 1700 was 107.000; in 1750, 131.600; in 1801, 198.100; in 1811, 234.600 and in 1821, 132.952 males and 137.146 females, total of the last named year 270.098 persons. The increase of population in the 50 years from 1700 was 24.600, from 1750 to 1801 the increase was 66.500, from 1801 to 1811 the increase was 36.500 and from 1811 to 1821 the increase number of persons was 32.498, the grand total increase of population in the county, from the year 1700 to the census of 1821, being 160.098 persons.