A Brief History of Chester

Feb 27, 2018

Famed for its Roman heritage and historic architectural centre, Chester has developed into a thriving modern city, with all the cosmopolitan trappings of great places to eat and drink, shop and take in the culture.

Chester is something of a living museum, with charming medieval buildings and well-preserved walls making for a pretty city centre that attracts visitors from far and wide.

The city’s proximity to some of the UK’s premier tourist attractions and retail facilities, as well as being within a stone’s throw of Manchester and Liverpool, have made little Chester a popular destination both for tourists and residents.

Chester first started life as a Roman fort and served as an important stronghold on British shores.

Dubbed Deva Victrix, the prominent military base soon expanded into one of the largest settlements in Brittania.

Due to its size and large population (for the time), many historians speculate that Chester was lined up as the Roman capital in Britain, rather than the eventual choice of Londonium.


After the Roman retreat from British shores, the fort city past between warring kingdoms and rulers over the following years.

It wasn’t until the Anglo-Saxons secured a firm foothold in the area that Chester began to emerge as the city it is today.

The Saxons fortified the city walls, and much of these well-preserved defences are still present in more modern times.

The fortifications were not enough, however, to save Chester’s residents from invading Norman forces during the violence of the Harrying of the North.

The city fell, and much of it was destroyed by the French armies. The city’s new ownership wasn’t wholly bad news though and once rebuilt, it began to flourish once more under Norman stewardship.

Chester’s history can be described as tumultuous at best, and the city was besieged once again, during the English Civil War.

Much of the old-timbered houses were destroyed by forces loyal to the Roundheads, though some of the charming wooden homes still stand to this day.



The people of Chester rebuilt once more, whilst preserving much of the remaining historical centre. The city boomed with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, with growth owing to Chester’s prime location.

Nowadays, the quiet city still benefits from its positioning near key Northern cities and attractions.

Visitors flock to its cobbled streets to soak up the atmosphere and explore the rich history of this former Roman fort.

Many of the impressive timbered buildings along the city’s famous Rows date to the Victorian era, but some ancient architecture still remains despite the area’s bloody past.

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