Cheshire has received a bad press from writers such as Jeremy Clarkson and AA Gill who have portrayed the county as a kind of Footballer’s Wives territory, packed with Porsches, bloated with bling and mindlessly devoted to conspicuous consumption. It’s certainly true that more millionaires live in this captivating corner of the country than anywhere else in England. Britain’s richest peer, the Duke of Westminster, with an estimated wealth of £5600 million, lives on a large estate just south of Chester. And more champagne is quaffed here than anywhere else in the UK.
But that’s only a tiny part of the county’s2000-year-long story, which effectively began with the arrival of the Romans. But even before the 20th Legion established the garrison of Cheshire Deva in AD70, Cheshire was famous for its salt mines. By the time of the Domesday Book, the salt towns, or ‘wiches’ - Nantwich, Northwich and Middlewich - were firmly established. The process at that time involved pumping the salt brine to the surface and boiling it to produce granular salt. In 1670, huge deposits of rock salt were discovered and these are still being mined, mostly for use in keeping Britain’s roads free from ice.
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