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Cheshire occupies a boulder clay plain(pictured) which separates the hills of North Wales from the Peak District of Derbyshire. The county covers an area of 2,343 km2 (905 sq mi), with a high point of 559 m (1,834 ft) elevation. The estimated population is a little over one million, 19th highest in England, with a population density of 449 people per km2.
The county was created in around 920, but the area has a long history of human occupation dating back to before the last Ice Age. Deva was a major Roman fort, and Cheshire played an important part in the Civil War. Predominantly rural, the county is historically famous for the production of Cheshire cheese, salt and silk. During the 19th century, towns in the north of the county were pioneers of the chemical industry, while Crewe became a major railway junction and engineering facility.
Deva Victrix (also known as Deva) was a Roman legionary fortress and town on the site of the modern city of Chester. The fortress was built by the Roman legionLegio II Adiutrix in the AD 70s as the Roman army advanced north against the Brigantes. Covering 62 acres (25 hectares), it contained barracks, granaries, military headquarters, military baths, and an unusual elliptical building that might have acted as the governor of Britain's headquarters.
The fortress was rebuilt in stone at the end of the 1st century AD when it was occupied by the Legio XX Valeria Victrix, and again in the early 3rd century. The legion probably remained at the fortress until it fell into disuse in the late 4th or early 5th century.
The output of Chester-based architect John Douglas (1830–1911) included a diverse range of non-residential works. The majority of his works were in Cheshire and North Wales. His architectural styles were eclectic, but as he worked during the Gothic Revival period much of his output incorporates elements of the English Gothic style. He is probably best remembered for his incorporation of vernacular elements in his buildings, especially half-timbering, but also tile-hanging, pargeting, and decorative brickwork in diapering and tall chimney stacks.
Top: Map of modern Cheshire showing urban areas (grey) and the major road network. Chester (red) is the county town, and Warrington has the greatest population. Towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants in 2011 are highlighted; the size of dot gives a rough indication of the relative population.
Sound is a small settlement and civil parish near Nantwich. The parish covers 1,089 acres (441 ha) and also includes Newtown and Sound Heath, with a total population of around 240 in 2011. The name is of Saxon origin and means "a sandy place". The first record of the township is in 1310. It was raided by Royalist forces in 1643, during the Civil War. The Methodist chapel was built in 1838, and a primary school on the boundary with Broomhall opened in 1876. Other historic buildings include a rare example of a malt kiln.
The ayr is very wholesome, insomuch that the people of the countrey are seldom infected with Diseases or Sicknesse, neither do they use the help of the Physicians, nothing so much, as in other countries: For when any of them are sick, they make him a posset, and tye a kerchieff on his head; and if that will not amend him, then God be merciful to him! The people there live till they be very old; some are Grandfathers, their Fathers yet living; and some are Grandfathers before they be married.
From The Vale Royall of England by Daniel King (1656)