See Herodotus ii. 124; Diodorus Siculus i. 64; Sethe in Pauly-Wissowa’s Realencyclopädie, s.v.; W. M. F. Petrie, History of Egypt, vol. i., and Abydos, part ii. p. 48; J. H. Breasted, History. (F. Ll. G.)
CHEPSTOW, a market town and river-port in the southern parliamentary division of Monmouthshire, England, on the Wye, 2 m. above its junction with the Severn, and on the Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 3067. It occupies the slope of a hill on the western (left) bank of the river, and is environed by beautiful scenery. The church of St Mary, originally the conventual chapel of a Benedictine priory of Norman foundation, has remains of that period in the west front and the nave, but a rebuilding of the chancel and transepts was effected in the beginning of the 19th century. The church contains many interesting monuments. The castle, still a magnificent pile, was founded in the 11th century by William Fitz-Osbern, earl of Hereford, but was almost wholly rebuilt in the 13th. There are, however, parts of the original building in the keep. The castle occupies a splendid site on the summit of a cliff above the Wye, and covers about 3 acres. The river is crossed by a fine iron bridge of five arches, erected in 1816, and by a tubular railway bridge designed by Sir Isambard Brunel. There is a free passage on the Wye for large vessels as far as the bridge. From the narrowness and depth of the channel the tide rises suddenly and to a great height, forming a dangerous bore. The exports are timber, bark, iron, coal, cider and millstones. Some shipbuilding is carried on.
As the key to the passage of the Wye, Chepstow (Estrighorel, Striguil) was the site successively of British, Roman and Saxon fortifications. Domesday Book records that the Norman castle was built by William Fitz-Osbern to defend the Roman road into South Wales. On the confiscation of his son’s estates, the castle was granted to the earls of Pembroke, and after its reversion to the crown in 1306, Edward II. in 1310 granted it to his half-brother Thomas de Brotherton. On the latter’s death it passed, through his daughter Margaret, Lady Segrave, to the dukes of Norfolk, from whom, after again reverting to the crown, it passed to the earls of Worcester. It was confiscated by parliament and settled on Oliver Cromwell, but was restored to the earls in 1660. The borough must have grown up between 1310, when the castle and vill were granted to Thomas de Brotherton, and 1432, when John duke of Norfolk died seised of the castle, manor and borough of Struguil. In 1524 Charles, first earl of Worcester and then lord of the Marches, granted a new charter of incorporation to the bailiffs and burgesses of the town, which had fallen into decay. This was sustained until the reign of Charles II., when, some dispute arising between the earl of Bridgwater and the burgesses, no bailiff was appointed and the charter lapsed. Chepstow was afterwards governed by a board of twelve members. A port since early times, when the lord took dues of ships going up to the forest of Dean, Chepstow had no ancient market and no manufactures but that of glass, which was carried on for a short time within the ruins of the castle.
CHEQUE, or Check, in commercial law, a bill of exchange drawn on a banker and signed by the drawer, requiring the banker to pay on demand a certain sum in money to or to the order of a specified person or to bearer. In this, its most modern sense, the cheque is the outcome of the growth of the banking system of the 19th century. For details see Banks and Banking: Law, and Bill of Exchange. The word check, of which “cheque” is a variant now general in English usage, signified merely the counterfoil or indent of an exchequer bill, or any draft form of payment, on which was registered the particulars of the principal part, as a check to alteration or forgery. The check or counterfoil parts remained in the hands of the banker, the portion given to the customer being termed a “drawn note” or “draft.” From the beginning of the 19th century the word “cheque” gradually became synonymous with “draft” as meaning a written order on a banker by a person having money in the banker’s hands, to pay some amount to bearer or to a person named. Ultimately, it entirely superseded the word “draft,” and has now a statutory definition (Bills of Exchange Act 1882, s. 73)—” a bill of exchange drawn on a banker payable on demand.” The word “draft” has come to have a wider meaning, that of a bill drawn by one person on another for a sum of money, or an order (whether on a banker or other) to pay money. The employment of cheques as a method of payment offering greater convenience than coin is almost universal in Great Britain and the United States. Of the transactions through the banks of the United Kingdom between 86 and 90% are conducted by means of cheques, and an even higher proportion in the United States. On the continent of Europe the use of cheques, formerly rare, is becoming more general, particularly in France, and to some extent in Germany.
CHER, a department of central France, embracing the eastern part of the ancient province of Berry, and parts of Bourbonnais, Nivernais and Orléanais, bounded N. by the department of Loiret, W. by Loir-et-Cher and Indre, S. by Allier and Creuse, and E. by Nièvre. Pop. (1906) 343,484. Area 2819 sq. m. The territory of the department is elevated in the south, where one point reaches 1654 ft., and in the east. The centre is occupied by a wide calcareous table-land, to the north of which stretches the plain of Sologne. The principal rivers, besides the Cher and its tributaries, are the Grande Sauldre and the Petite Sauldre on the north, but the Loire and Allier, though not falling within the department, drain the eastern districts, and are available for navigation. The Cher itself becomes navigable when it receives the Arnon and Yèvre, and the communications of the department are greatly facilitated by the Canal du Berry, which traverses it from east to west, the lateral canal of the Loire, which follows the left bank of that river, and the canal of the Sauldre. The climate is temperate, and the rainfall moderate. Except in the Sologne, the soil is generally fertile, but varies considerably in different localities. The most productive region is that on the east, which belongs to the valley of the Loire; the central districts are tolerably fertile but marshy, being often flooded by the Cher; while in the south and south-west there is a considerable extent of dry and fertile land. Wheat and oats are largely cultivated, while hemp, vegetables and various fruits are also produced. The vine flourishes chiefly in the east of the arrondissement of Sancerre. The department contains a comparatively large extent of pasturage, which has given rise to a considerable trade in horses, cattle, sheep and wool for the northern markets. Nearly one-fifth of the whole area consists of forest. Mines of iron are worked, and various sorts of stone are quarried. Brick, porcelain and glassworks employ large numbers of the inhabitants. There are also flour-mills, distilleries, oil-works, saw-mills and tanneries. Bourges and Vierzon are metallurgical and engineering centres. Coal and wine are leading imports, while cereals, timber, wool, fruit and industrial products are exported. The department is served by the Orléans railway, and possesses in all more than 300 m. of navigable waterways. It is divided into three arrondissements (29 cantons, 292 communes) cognominal with the towns of Bourges, Saint-Amand-Mont-Rond, and Sancerre, of which the first is the capital, the seat of an archbishop and of a court of appeal and headquarters of the VIII. army-corps. The department belongs to the académie (educational division) of Paris. Bourges, Saint-Amand-Mont-Rond, Vierzon and Sancerre (q.v.) are the principal towns. Méhun-sur-Yèvre (pop. 5227), a town with an active manufacture of porcelain, has a Romanesque church and a château of the 14th century. Among the other interesting churches of the department, that at St Satur has a fine choir of the 14th and 15th centuries; those of Dun-sur-Auron, Plaimpied, Aix d’Angillon and Jeanvrin are Romanesque in style, while Aubigny-Ville has a church of the 12th, 13th and
- The original meaning of “check” is a move in the game of chess which directly attacks the king; the word comes through the Old Fr. eschec, eschac, from the Med. Lat. form scaccus of the Persian shāh, king, i.e. the king in the game of chess; cf. the origin of “mate” from the Arabic shah-mat, the king is dead. The word was early used in a transferred sense of a stoppage or rebuff, and so is applied to anything which stops or hinders a matter in progress, or which controls or restrains anything, hence a token, ticket or counterfoil which serves as a means of identification, &c.