Cheshire was made a palatinate by William I and maintained some of its privileges as such until 1830. The numerous black-and-white-timbered manor houses attest to the county's prosperity in the 16th and 17th cent. Much later, the population of the county greatly increased with the industrialization and suburbanization of the Wirral peninsula and the part of Cheshire just S of Manchester.
In 1974, most of Cheshire became part of the new nonmetropolitan county of Cheshire; NW Cheshire (including Birkenhead) became part of the former metropolitan county of Merseyside, and NE Cheshire (including Stockport) became part of the former metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. In 1998, Halton and Warrington in N Cheshire became administratively independent of the county. Cheshire was abolished as an administrative county in 2009, but its name survives in the unitary authorities of Chester East and Chester West and Chester.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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