History

Protecting the City

The Walls were built to keep Chester safe, and soldiers patrolled them for hundreds of years. As you walk the Walls you’re following in the footsteps of Roman legionaries, Norman knights, medieval bowmen, and the brave townspeople who endured a Civil War siege.

They Came, They Saw, They Conquered

The magnificent Roman walls would have been an awe-inspiring sight to the native British tribes

Two thousand years ago the Romans came, saw, conquered, and built the magnificent fortress of Deva on the banks of the River Dee. It was one of the most important cities in their empire. The soldiers of the Twentieth Legion were based there, and Deva’s bustling port attracted merchants from far and wide. There are spectacular Roman remains all around the Walls, and you can easily step down for a closer look. You’ll see the colossal stones of the original fortress walls, the ‘Roman Quay’, the remains of a watchtower, and the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain!

 

 

 

He is depicted as a determined young man, wearing an elegant suit of black armour and grasping a sword

Dangerous Dark Ages

Hundreds of years later, the Anglo-Saxons defended Chester to the death against bloodthirsty Viking raiders. Find out why Bonewaldesthorne’s name has lived on ever since, and how swarms of bees helped defeat the attackers! But the ruthless Normans invaded England in 1066, and the Walls weren’t strong enough to keep them out of Chester. Come and marvel at their awe-inspiring castle, and discover why the first Earl of Chester was nicknamed ‘the Wolf’!

The narrow archway into the city was heavily fortified with strong wooden doors, a portcullis, and arrow slits

Border Fortress

Chester is very close to the border with Wales, and in the Middle Ages that frontier was England’s very own ‘Wild West’ – a dangerous, unstable place teeming with soldiers and adventurers. Raids and rebellions were rife, and townspeople relied on the Walls to protect them from Welsh armies and homegrown rebels. The Walls bristled with towers, sentries kept a lookout, and the severed heads of traitors were displayed on spikes at East Gate as a grim warning against sedition.

 

 

 

Siege Survivors

Civil War tore the country apart in the 1640s, and Chester was besieged for two years. Ordinary townspeople suffered terribly as their city was bombarded, and their food supplies ran low. There are reminders of the Civil War all around the Walls, and they’re a fitting place to reflect upon the courage and sacrifices of Chester’s people in the 1640s. Come and see the tower where Charles I stood to watch the Battle of Rowton Moor, the spectacular new sculpture of a battle-scarred cannon at Morgan’s Mount, and the place where the Walls were finally breached in 1645.