VCH Cheshire Publications

Until 1972, Chester was one of only four English counties which had no VCH volume. In that year, however, the Cheshire VCH was set up, generously funded by grants from the Leverhulme Trust and Cheshire County Council and with much valuable support from the University of Liverpool in partnership with the Institute of Historical Research. Five volumes have been completed to date.

Red Book Publications

Volume I

Edited by B. E. Harris assisted by Alan Thacker, this volume was published in 1987.

It includes the following entries:

  • Physique
  • Prehistory
  • The Roman Period
  • Anglo-Saxon Cheshire
  • The Cheshire Domesday

Volume II

Edited by B. E. Harris, the volume was published in 1979.

It includes the following entries:

  • Administrative History
  • Parliamentary Representation
  • Forests
  • Table of Population
  • Index

Volume III

Edited by B.E. Harris, the volume was published in 1980

It describes the religious history of the county and the history of education before 1903 under the following headings:

  • The Church before the Reformation
  • The Diocese of Chester
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Protestant Nonconformity

Religious Houses

  • Houses of Benedictine Monks
    • The Priory of Birkenhead
    • The Abbey of Chester
  • House of Benedictine Nuns
    • The Priory of Chester
  • Houses of Cistercian Monks
    • The Abbey of Combermere
    • The Abbey of Vale Royal
  • House of Augustinian Canons
    • The Abbey of Norton
  • House of Premonstratensian Canons
    • The Priory of Warburton
  • Friaries
    • The Franciscan Friars of Chester
    • The Dominican Friars of Chester
    • The Carmelite Friars of Chester
    • The Friars of the Sack
  • Hospitals
    • The Hospital of St Giles, Chester
    • The Hospital of St John the Baptist, Chester
    • The Hospital of St Ursula, Chester
    • The Hospital of St Andrew, Denhall
    • The Hospital of St Lawrence, Nantwich
    • The Hospital of St Nicholas, Nantwich

Chester Cathedral

Education before 1903


  • Acton Grammar School
  • Audlem Grammar School
  • Birkenhead School
  • Bunbury Grammar School
  • Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby
  • The King's School, Chester
  • The Queen's School, Chester
  • Knutsford Grammar School
  • Lymm Grammar School
  • Macclesfield Grammar School
  • Malpas Grammar School
  • Mottram in Longendale Grammar School
  • Nantwich Grammar School
  • Sir John Deane's Grammar School, Northwich
  • Sandbach School
  • Stockport Grammar School
  • Wallasey Grammar School

The accounts of medieval religious houses are on British History Online.

Volume V (part 1) - The city of Chester: General History and Topography

Edited by Chis Lewis and Alan Thacker, the volume was published in 2003.

This is the first of two volumes providing an authoritative and detailed treatment of Chester's history, meticulously researched from the original sources. It provides an account of the city from its Roman foundation to the year 2000, arranged by chronological chapters and covering economic, social, political, administrative, military, religious, and cultural history. Special attention is given to topographical development. Six chronological chapters cover the history of Chester by period: Roman, Early Medieval (400-1230), Later Medieval (1230-1550), Early Modern (1550-1762), Late Georgian and Victorian (1762-1914), and Twentieth-Century (1914-2000). The topographies of Roman and 20th-century Chester form integral parts of the first and last chapters. A separate chapter deals with Topography 900-1914. The illustrations, many of which have rarely been seen before, are arranged as a pictorial essay.Cheshire V.ii: Chester covers individual buildings, institutions, and aspects of Chester's history. There is a full index to the whole volume, including subjects. V.i. contains an index only of persons, places, and buildings mentioned in this part.

The full text is on British History Online

Volume V (part 2) - The City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions

Companion to General History and Topography: details on dozens of special topics, from lost buildings and the mystery plays to the present day.

This second volume on Chester presents detailed histories and descriptions of both major and minor aspects of the physical, cultural and social development of the city, much of which remains evident today. The five sections cover: Local Government and Public Services Includes lost municipal buildings such as the Pentice and the Exchange, the elaborate system of law courts, and the city's pioneering medical services. Economic Infrastructure and Institutions Chester's transport links, markets and fairs, mills and fisheries, and craft guilds. Churches and Other Religious Bodies The history, with descriptions of buildings, of every known congregation in the city. Major Buildings The Cathedral and Close, the castle, the city walls and gates, and the Rows,included in a systematic account of the most notable features of Chester's built environment. Leisure and Culture Histories of the mystery plays and civic celebrations, Chester Races, sports, music, schools, libraries, museums, newspapers, and open spaces.

Other contributors:

  • Julia Barrow Utilities
  • John Herson Canals
  • Aidan Laws Charities
  • David Mills Plays, Sports, Customs
  • Malcolm Seabourne Education.

Full index to V.i. and V.ii, including subjects. V.i. contains an index only of persons, places, and buildings mentioned in that part.

The full text is on British History Online.