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Facts

CHESHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Cheshire is the 25th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Cheshire has the 19th highest population in England.
Cheshire is in 22nd place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Edgar became King of England in 859AD on the rather mysterious death of his brother, Edwig. Their father Edmund had also been King and Edgar had two sons, Edward and Ethelred, who also ruled. Just to fill you in, Ethelred also had a son and he was called Edmund. Had they had one, the typewriter would have worn away the letter E quite quickly. Anyway Edgar was also the great-grandson of Alfred the Cake Great, so well qualified to rule. He was also known as Edgar the Peacemaker which really needs no explanation, unless he was mis-named.

    Being busy making peace, he somehow overlooked getting himself crowned until 973AD. The ceremony took place in Bath, which isn't in Cheshire, but after being coronated (maybe I've made up a word here) he travelled to Chester, which is in Cheshire. Here he held court near Handbridge and there he met with the eight sub-Kings of England, some of whom had been a bit of a problem earlier in his reign. It is said that Edgar made these sub-Kings row him up the Rive Dee to the monastery of St John the Baptist in a demonstration of his power. The eight were two Kings of Scotland, five Welsh Kings and the King of the Isle of Man. Edgar's coronation ceremony, devised by Archbishop Dunstan, his close advisor, forms the basis for the present-day ceremony which most of you will have never seen live but I did, although at 4 years old I'm not sure I remember much, You can read more about Edgar and see his family tree here.

  3. Cheshire Eats
  4. There are quite a few counties in England, and quite a few places, that have given their name to a cheese. We may well end up looking at a few more but for now we are looking at Cheshire Cheese. Cheshire Cheese is England's oldest named cheese, recorded in the Domesday Book. There is also a legend that a cheese-maker was put to death in Roman times for not revealing how to make the cheese.

    Cheshire Cheese is a crumbly, salty cheese with a nutty flavour. The salty flavour comes from the salt springs that run under most of the county. The salt enters the pasture land and thus into the cows' milk from which the cheese is made. Once the milk begins to form into curd, it is torn into small pieces, passed through a mill and then pressed in moulds for up to two days. The cheese takes between 4 and 8 weeks to ripen, although some are ripened for up to 15 months. The longer the cheese matures, the sharper the flavour becomes.

    There are three main varieties of Cheshire Cheese which you can see on the left. They are red (which is actually yellow), white and blue. It is the largest selling crumbly cheese in England. The original plain white version accounts for most of the production. The blue version was very popular in London clubs but production stopped in the late 1980s. However it has recently been revived again.

  5. Cheshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Cheshire in the last 100 years:-
    Chris Evans (Presenter and DJ), Paula Radcliffe (Athlete), Daniel Craig (Actor - James Bond), Kerry Katona (Singer), Ben Ainslie (Yachtsman and Olympic Gold Medalist), David Coleman (Sports Commentator) and Gary Barlow (Singer/Songwriter)

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. Imagine you want to take your canal barge from the River Weaver Canal to the Trent and Mersey Canal. The problem is, or was, that the first canal is 50 ft below the second one and their was no space to build locks. The answer can be seen in the picture and is known as the Anderton Boat Lift and is now a designated scheduled monument. It was designed to lift boats and barges between the two canals.

    The lift has gained the nickname of Cathedral of the Canals. It uses a really ingenious system which there is no way I would be able to explain. It was built in 1875 and used until 1983 when it was closed due to corrosion. However, in 2001, a restoration process was begun and the lift was re-opened in 2002. It is the only boat lift in England and, therefore, easily qualifies for this section. The site now includes a two-storey visitor centre and exhibition building.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. As soon as I started to write this I realised I had made a mistake in choosing the radio telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory as the story for this section. It fits, as this site hosted the first radio telescope in England when it was set up by a man called Professor Bernard Lovell in 1945. Professor Lovell was the Brian Cox of my time and the whole thing fascinated me when I was a child.

    The problem is that I have no real idea what a radio telescope does. I assume it listens for radio waves out in space but the more complex things are way beyond my understanding. It has since played an important part in research into space and the site has played a major role in the tracking of meteoroids, quasars, pulsars, masers and gravitational lens. I will completely admit I copied that from somewhere.

    However, during the early stages of space exploration, the telescope was used to track the early satellites and indeed manned craft and this is how I came to know about it. Today there are four telescopes on the site, the largest, quite correctly called the Lovell Telescope, is 76 metres in diameter, which makes it the third largest steerable telescope in the world. There is a visitor centre on the site, should space fascinate you, and an arboretum in you wish to branch out in a different direction.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. We've reached another coastal county now so I have some memories from my 3 trips around the English coastline. It was only on the first trip that we stayed in Cheshire and we stayed at a large house in Hoole, where we had the whole of the upper floor. I also remember going into Chester and seeing the mediaeval buildings and, if I remember correctly, a street with an arch across it.

    However my main memory is not quite so pleasant but I'll share it with you. We travelled round during that trip in a motorhome, pictured on the right. To be honest for the mileage it did, it behaved pretty well. True the gear lever came away in my hand while we were in Liverpool but apart from that, all was good, mechanically. But in Chester we got a puncture. No problem, I noticed it one morning so decided to change it before we set off that day. The spare was underneath the motorhome, help up horizontally by a rather rusty clamp. Nowadays I would ask a fit, healthy person to sort it, but then I believed I was such a person.

    To cut a long story short, after much grunting and huffing and puffing I finally released the clamp. Unfortunately it was a sudden release and the wheel and supporting metal frame fell rapidly to the ground, landing incredibly accurately on the third finger of my left hand. The pain was intense and, remembering something I had been told when I started playing cricket as an adult, I quickly removed the rings on that finger. Just as well. A minute later the finger was three times its previous size.

    Now the problem with this kind of journey is you have a schedule to keep too. The other problem is I am a bit of an idiot with injuries. I once played 10 minutes of a game of rugby with torn ligaments in my ankle because I was too shy to say anything to the teacher. Took two people, a bit of pain, and ten minutes to get my boot off after that. Oh, then I walked a mile or so home. Did I say a bit of idiot; substitute complete. I regret that ankle decision now as I do the one about saying "don't worry, it's OK" about the finger. I never did have it looked at until we reached Padstow some 6 weeks later when it was still oozing some rather unpleasant liquid and a chemist did something about it. (Well you shouldn't be reading while eating). Even today, 35 years on, I haven't really got full movement although for some reason it is now smaller than its twin on the other hand.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. This is my big-eared brother. He's a medium sized owl. Like me they eat small rodents but also small birds in winter. Unlike me, long-eared owls are nocturnal and pretty secretive so you may find it hard to ever see one. Some of them in the north of England may be seen when they migrate south in winter. Actually the ears are not ears but just feathers which they raise when they are alarmed.

    They are about 36 cms long, have a wingspan of between 84 and 95 cms and weigh between 210 and 370 grams. There are about 4,000 breeding pairs in England. Their feathers are black, brown, cream and grey and they have deep orange eyes. Their legs are brown and they have a short, black, hooked beak. They can be found in woodland, farmland and wetlands.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Cheshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020