One of the oldest of English cities, founded by the Romans in A.D. 61, Chester is the gateway to North Wales.
The Roman Castra was destroyed in 607 by a Northumbrian king, and a later Chester by the Danes in 894. Rebuilt in 909, the town has preserved down the ages the square shape of the Roman camp. Even today, the plan of the Walls of the old town, with the streets running from the compass points to meet at the Cross, still the centre of the city, reveals the Roman origin.
The remains of a Roman bath and hypocaust or heating system to be seen below ground level at No. 39 Bridge Street. The Walls of Chester are the finest and best preserved of any city in England. Rising in height from 12 to 40 feet, and with numerous gates, the walls afford a magnificent promenade of the city. Noteworthy is the Phoenix or King Charles's Tower, on the NE. corner, from which, as the inscription says, Charles I watched the defeat of his army at nearby Rowton Moor. The actual site of the battle is in the vicinity of the main railway station. Also on the north wall is an old tower called Morgans' Mount, with good views towards the distant Welsh mountains. In the NW. corner stands the Water Tower, right up to which the Dee used to flow. Rings in the tower walls show where boats were once moored.
Chester is famous for the Rows, the curious arcades at first-floor level which provide a covered in walk through the four main streets. The second floor of the houses has been set back, the roofs of the cellars make a flooring, and the jutting out half-timbered upper storeys provide a roof.
Chester Cathedral in St. Werburgh Street , first built by Hugh, Earl of Chester, in 1093, for Benedictine monks, and extensively reconstructed in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and finally restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in the nineteenth, is a beautiful red sandstone building, famed for its magnificent choir, with stalls dating from 1390, its cloisters, and its few remaining traces of Norman architecture, in the North Transept, and in the Great Cellar. An interesting collection of Norman relics is to be seen at the aisle of the North Choir. Also of interest are the Jacobean table and fittings in the Consistory Court.
Chester Accommodation - www.goborderlands.com
Chester Guide -www.chesterandcheshire.net