The History Of Cheshire – England Through The Ages

Cheshire is a county that is positioned in North West England and some of the more prominent towns in this area include Wilmslow, Crewe, Northwich and the historical city of Chester. There is much tradition and history preserved in the area along with dozens of listed buildings. Below is some interesting history behind this fascinating city.

Roman Chester

Chester started out at the stage that the Romans constructed a fort around 75 AD near to the River Dee. The fort was named Deva and was constructed out of wood. The fort featured an earth embankment and an outside ditch. In the beginning part of the second century portions of this fort were rebuilt using stone.

Soon after, civilian settlements began to grow outside the fort and the soldiers offered a market that featured civilian goods. In the county, there were craftsmen such as blacksmiths, carpenters, butchers, bakers and potters. In this time there was an amphitheater in the city that people used to attend to be entertained by the gladiators or the cruel sports that included bear baiting and cock fighting. But in the fourth century the Roman civilization began to crumble and in England the people moved away from the towns and many were left just about abandoned.


A number of towns in the county have the suffix -wich, denoting a connection with a salt-pit.  Indeed, Middlewich, Northwich and Nantwich were all extremely important to the country’s salt exports, which ended up in the far-reaches of the globe.  salt towns in Cheshire

The Middle Ages

Once the Romans had left, Wales and England went through a split and became rival kingdoms. It is suggested that Chester lay in the northern Welsh kingdom. Around 617 AD a battle occurred in  between the Saxons and the Welsh, whereby the Saxons won and this is when the area was named.

Later in the tenth century the city was transformed into fortified or burgh settlement. Streets emerged and people were asked to come back and live in the area. The town soon flourished and featured a top notch weekly market. At the time, it was also known as a port and wine came from Spain and France. Food came from Ireland and the livestock came from Wales. It soon became a thriving town, but in 1069 the north parts of England rebelled against the man known as William the Conqueror and in retaliation over 200 homes were destroyed in Chester.

The 16th And 17th Century

In the year 1506, Henry VII provided Chester with a large charter and it was called a county that became separate from the remainder of Cheshire. In the era of the 16th and the 17th centuries Chester was popular for its leather trade and Chester remained one of the more important types of market towns. Similar to all the Tudor towns, Chester also suffered from the plague outbreaks, but still grew rapidly and had a population of around 7,000 people in 1600. In the 1650, nine almshouses were constructed but only 6 remain today and Gods Providence House were built in the year 1652.

The 18th And 19th Century

railways in the countyIn the era of the 18th century the city grew rapidly and more and more homes were built outside of the walls. The leather trade decreased and the area became a market town opposed to the industrial center of previous years. By 1801 the population grew to 15,000 and soon after the Grosvenor Bridge was constructed, in the year 1833, and
had reached the county by 1840. In 1877 the very first public library was opened and the Grosvenor Museum was constructed by 1885.

The 20th Century

By 1901 the population in Chester was around 38,000 and the trams became electrified in the year 1903 and where then replaced with modern buses by 1930. The shipbuilding stopped in the area in the era of the 1930’s and the last docks closed down by the 1960’s.

Today, in the further areas of the Cheshire countryside, tourists can enjoy the vast greenery and open spaces that offer some of the best of the English countryside. This region is home to charming villages and towns. Some of the popular attractions include Quarry Bank Mill, Styal Estate, Tatton Park, Alderley Edge and Beeston Castle. Delamere Forest, one of the most beautiful natural areas in the county is also the host to various concerts, shows and festivals anytime of the year.