Our History

The Cheshire Agricultural Society (CAS) was founded in 1838 by the landowning gentry of the county.

The Cheshire Agricultural Society (CAS) was founded in 1838 by the landed gentry of the county. The inspiration came from the founder President; Field Marshall Viscount Combermere, who was one of The Duke of Wellington’s generals at Waterloo. He later received his Field Marshall’s baton through his successful campaigns in Asia. Born Stapleton Cotton into a landowning family, he had travelled much in England and had observed better farming practice in the drier region of England than in his native Cheshire.

At the age of 65, the Field Marshall persuaded his fellow Cheshire landowners to set into motion a whole series of competitions to encourage better farming methods. This spirit was also transferred to competitions for rural people to ‘improve the moral and industrious way of life’.

The Royal Cheshire County Show has a wonderful history.

For over 100 years the mission statement of The Royal Cheshire County Show has been, “To promote agriculture and encourage the industrious and moral habits of the labouring portion of the community”. Our series of competitions for farms, crops and livestock are unchanged to this day. There is, of course, more variety but the big difference is that no prize is given to encourage betterment; the prestige of winning is sufficient.



John Lowe of Wheelock took 1st prize for a ”new crop” of ”Swedish Turnips” The judge counted 30,721 per acre. Judges today don’t count sugar beet! Charles Sherwin, Sudlow Farm, Tabley had the Champion Shorthorn cow. It had a pedigree to 7 generations and the 8th was ”by Mr Howarth’s very good bull”


First exhibition by Mr Plant and Mr Hancock who made farm implements in their back garden at Sandbach. One was an iron plough. A vote was taken by CAS to allow this plough to compete in the annual ploughing match against the traditional wooden plough. The vote was lost as it was considered ”too heavy to become popular”. However, a vote the next year ”allowed an iron plough to compete but without any help being give”.


Thomas Emberton of Haslington took Champion Cow and Champion Cheese.


Mr Hancock had a new partner, Mr Foden; they exhibited a 6hp steam tractor costing £170.


James Whitlow, Stretton 1st prize wheat-” had scythed it green in March and fed to cows” Edwin Foden exhibited latest 8hp steam tractor costing £200


Burgess Bros, Northwich 1st stand–plough costing £2, Lawnmower costing £1, 1 Bed £1, but deluxe model with ”brass knobs” costing £1.50!


Cheshire Show first came to the Roodee, Chester; there was record attendance–400 visitors paid 2/-each –(10p); 7400 paid 1/-(4p) and 1192 paid an extra 1/- (4p) for grandstand. For the first 60 years the Cheshire Show rotated around every main town because livestock had to be walked to the show.


The Cheshire Show amalgamated with the Chester Show and settled on Roodee for the next 50 years. It was reported that people packed the walls and enjoyed the show for free. The show lost money so the following year they erected a canvas along the walls to stop free viewing. The show still lost money! It seemed the Lancaster Show was going through a similar period of hardship.


A letter was received from James Birch, secretary of the Lancashire Agricultural Society suggesting ”a Federation of Lancashire and Cheshire Agricultural Societies” with Sir Gilbert Greenall as President. In 1909 this Federation held a joint show. This co-operation had started as early as 1894 when a joint approach was made to government to take steps to eliminate TB from cattle. However no other records appear after 1909, but I guess it was the start of the now strong ‘Federation of County Shows’.


Show joined with The Royal Show on the Roodee.


Show had outgrown The Roodee and was held at Hooton, Wirral.


Show not financially successful on the Wirral so returned to Chester for 2 years but wet weather and growth of traffic in the city hampered viability.


Sadly no The Royal Cheshire County Show for these years and little prospect of continuation.


Small group revived The Show in Mid-Cheshire on humble lines but a strict discipline.


Largest Light Horse Show in UK, with over 30 Qualifiers for Horse of the Year Show. Spectacular Rare Breeds show unequalled, one of the largest Open Dog Shows. Finest WI Show anywhere. Over 3 miles of Trade Stands. Cheshire Rural Village, Game Fair.


In 2016, we obtained “Royal” status for the show. This was the result of a collective effort on behalf of many, including the vast number of volunteers and visitors who greatly enhanced our successful submission of obtaining “Royal” for our Cheshire County Show.


Today The Royal Cheshire County Show is thriving and is a leading county show with many new ideas. It is always evolving and setting targets for other shows to follow.

Please contact Gill or Angela, our friendly office staff to discuss membership and involvement in the show. They can also provide the latest annual report, which will give an insight to all that is going on at the show and in rural Cheshire.