Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 20 September 2012

From the Walls of Chester

On a wet evening last week we walked the walls of Chester. A complete 2 miles circuit of the town.  The most complete city walls to be found in the country. 

The walls were first built by the Romans, with towers and gateways added over the years.

Bonewaldesthorne's Tower stands at the northwest corner of the city walls. It was first recorded in 1249, and in the following century became the gatehouse to the Water Tower.
Newgate, the busiest road gateway was built in 1938 to ease the traffic congestion in and out of the city, the medieval newgate is on the right of the new newgate!
Along the south west part of the wall you get a good view over the Roodee, Chester's racecourse, just outside the city. 
I imagine there would be a crowd along here watching the finishing line.
Chester Castle is inside the walls. it is raised on a motte overlooking the River Dee.

And here is the river with the lovely old bridge crossing over to the city.
From the walls looking into the city these Terraces with their yards and privvies at the back looked good.
 A little further on is a striking medieval-style timber house by W. H. Kelly, built more recently than some in 1881, which bears the legend from Proverbs in the Bible, "The Fear of the Lord is a Fountain of Life", said to be the inscription on an ancient coin found on the site. 

The Roman  Amphitheatre has been well laid out with some of the original walls uncovered giving the idea of the size and areas used for spectators and the 'shows' - gladiators, animal baiting and military training.
Chester Cathedral in the local pink sandstone is a lovely place to visit. There has been a church on this site for over 2,000 years. Originally a monastery, there are the cloisters still to walk around. Inside there are medieval wood carvings in the quire, an unique ecclesiastical courtroom, and wall mosaics of Old Testament characters.
Pembertons Parlour was constructed on the ruins of a medieval tower and named after and 18th century Mayor, murenger and rope-maker. He would sit up here on the walls overlooking the rope works below. As murenger he controlled murage, taxes for the upkeep of the walls. 
Across the shopping streets crosses the Eastgate, with the highly decorative clock to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

The most distinctive medieval feature of the city is The Rows. These are double-level walkways with a continuous line of balconies and with shops at street and first-floor levels. The Rows are unique and were certainly in existence in the 14th century.

A great place to shop, eat, and enjoy the distinctive, original buildings and streets of a medieval fortified town.


  1. I always enjoy a visit to Chester. No doubt I'll be taking Starcross there again soon.

  2. Chester is an impressive place. It's a good while since I last walked the walls.