Helsby is a large village and civil parish in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England and administered by the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester. At the 2011 Census, Helsby had a population of 4,972.
There are the remains of a Promontory fort on Helsby Hill of 1.9ha in area. Modern excavations have revealed evidence of activity on Helsby Hill prior to the construction of the hillfort comprising a buried soil containing fossilised pollen dating to the late Mesolithic to early Neolithic dated between 7000 and 3001BC. Further evidence suggests a burning episode dating to the early Neolithic occupation or woodland clearance dating to 4000BC to 2351 BC.
The bivallate hillfort is protected on the south and east by two parallel ramparts and an unusual type of inturned entrance 10 metres wide. There were three phases of hillfort construction at Helsby. The first stone rampart was constructed in the middle to late Bronze Age (1250-1050 cal BC) and consisted of a bank of well dressed, outer face of sandstone blocks and an irregular inner face, which was built on a slight batter; it was approximately 3.5m wide. A socketed bronze axe found at Helsby in 1925. This was followed by a series of colloviul deposits against the internal face of the stone rampart that formed the second phase of activity. The third and final phase was the re-building of the rampart in the post-Roman period, dating as late as 530 AD suggesting early Saxon re-occupation of the hillfort.
Helsby was located on the strategically important Roman road between Chester and Wilderspool near Warrington. The road existed between c. 79-410 AD to link the garrison of Deva to Wilderspool, which produced pottery that supplied the north west of England. The Roman road passed at the foot of Helsby Hill probably following the route of Old Chester Road. On the top of the hill a Roman bronze sestertius of the emperor Tiberius minted in Rome in AD22 was found and just off Vicarage lane in 1958, an uninscribed Roman altar of red sandstone was discovered with a carved jug on one side and an axe and knife on the other.
The first known settlers of Helsby were the Vikings in the 10th century. In fact, the name 'Helsby' is likely to be derived from the Viking name Hjallr-by, meaning "the village on the edge" (placenames with the suffix "by" often denote Viking/Danish origins, e.g. Derby, Grimsby, Whitby, etc.). However, Old Norse suggests that Hjalli means edge and Hjallr means constructed platform or scaffold.
The village was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the Norman name of Hellesbe. The Manor of Helsby was owned by a series of aristocratic landowners, most recently the Marquis of Cholmondeley.
In the 13th century Helsby was deemed a demesne manor under the lordship of Dunham-on-the-Hill,by a family called Hellesby. Later it passed to Thornton and then to Frodsham. The earliest mention of the original, timber Old Hall, was in a contract for the construction of additional in stone in the mid 15th century. The wooden part of the hall perished in a fire in the 16th century when it was leased to one of the Hatons of Helsby. The later hall probably derived its name from its proximity to the older site. It was built of brick at the end of the 18th century and was used as a farmhouse.
Helsby Hill was the location of a rare public execution when William Henry Clarke was hung in chains on 21 April 1791 after being convicted of robbing the Warrington Mail.