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History of Chester

History of Chester

The roman 20th legion founded the fortress called ‘Deva’ in 73AD, which is the basis of the Mediaeval walls still being used to day, but rather than a defensive wall it now provides today a pleasant 2 mile walk which will take you past most of the history of the city of Chester.

The Saxons also had a hand to play in the history of the city. During the 9th century and the Danish invasion they brought the bones of St. Werburgh from Staffordshire, hence the name of the Cathedral ‘St. Werburgh Cathedral’. 4 years after the battle of Hastings the fortress of Chester fell into the hands of the Normans.

Chester was then ruled by a line of Norman Earls who turned the city of Chester into an independent State with its own army, parliament, laws, taxes and coinage. In the 13th and 14th centuries Chester flourished and became the principle port to the north west of England and traded with France, Spain, Ireland and the Low Counties. The port of Chester later declined due to the silting of the river Dee. Then the port rights were passed on to a small fishing village called ‘Liverpool’. The Norman Earls then died out.

King Henry III then took possession of the title Earl of Chester and since 1254 the title has always been held by the eldest son of the reigning Monarch. In 1888 King Henry 7th granted Chester its ‘Great Charter’ which constituted it as a county.

In the 17th century the city of Chester became a Royalist strong hold during the Civil war. Charles 1st stood on the towers of the city wall to see his troops defeated in the Battle of Rowton Heath. The besieged City held out for 5 months after the King had fled. The turbulent period of Chester’s history came to an end. Chester is now a prosperous tourist destination and administrative centre in the heart of the Cheshire country side, which makes it handy base for visiting the surrounding areas of Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales.