Thursday, June 21, 2018

CHESTER- Roman and Norman England

Chester Castle / Geoff Sutton 2018

In the 70s, Chester was a Roman outpost in the west of England. It was established following the successful invasion of Britain in 43. The Roman fort was known as Deva Victrix. The Romans abandoned the fort when they left Britian in 410.

The Roman layout of Chester was a rectangle with rounded corners. Today, visitors can see the remains of a large amphitheater that could seat about 7,000.

Roman Amphitheatre Chester / G Sutton 2018

Southwest of the amphitheater are Roman Gardens. I took both photos from the city wall.

Roman Gardens, Chester / G Sutton 2018

A number of artifacts from the Roman period can be found in Chester's Grosvenor Museum. Several gravemarkers have been found and are on display. The one below was found in 1874 along with two skeletons, a gold ring, and a coin of Domitian. They are in remarkably good condition given their age.


Chester was occupied by the Saxons following the Roman period. The city was re-established in 907 by Aethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred the Great. The city walls were strengthened at the time and have often been reinforced over the centuries. A High Cross (pictured below) was built at the city center. St. Werburgh's Abbey was also founded in the Northeast part of the city.

High Cross, Chester / 2018

Finds from the Saxon period can also be found in the Grosvenor Museum. Pictured below are silver pennies from the 9th and 10th centuries.


Soon after the invasion of 1066, the Normans arrived in force. They built Chester Castle (pictured at the top of this page) as a motte-and-bailey castle in the South. By the 12th century, walls encircled the entire city. During the reign of King Edward, Chester became a place of operations against theWelsh tribes (Northern Wales is a few miles to the West).

The walls have been reinforced over the years and offer the opportunity for a two-mile walk around the city.

City Wall Chester / 2018
City Wall Chester by River Dee


There is no charge to walk around the walls or visit the Roman sites like the gardens and the amphitheatre. Various books are available in local bookstores and the museum for those interested in a more in-depth history. We also saw a number of tour groups around the city. Some walking tours are free. And we saw troops of youngsters dressed in Roman garb obediently following a Roman soldier.

There is no charge to enter the Grosvenor Museum located near the southern part of the city close to Chester Castle. The museum houses other interesting exhibits in addition to the items mentioned in this post. The exhibtions change to click on the above link for current information.

Here's my link to other places to see in Chester. And more about the cathedral.

Here's a link to Chester and the surrounding area:


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 Geoff W. Sutton

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