Friday, April 21, 2023

Walking the Wall; The Roman Baths

Chester is a town in the west of England, slightly to the north and not that far from the Welsh border. it's 209 miles from London and sits on the River Dee. It's a lovely town, with the charm of Stratford Upon Avon and with the history of Bath, yet it's quieter and much less touristy.

The town is surrounded by a wall that is two miles long. Because of its unique position, Chester has been fought over, occupied, unoccupied, put under seige, released from seige and then reoccupied many times, and it bears the scars.

"The siege of Chester occurred over a 16-month period between September 1644 and February 1646 during the First English Civil War. In the engagement, Sir William Brereton and the Parliamentarians were ultimately successful in taking possession of the city and Royalist garrison commanded by Lord Byron."

Fair to say it has played a very important part in the history of Englandshire.

 It's famous for many things,  mostly Roman, and the famous wall still exists. It's a totally charming place, full of old buildings- the coffee shop dates from 1350. The town has 'rows' above street level, so the shops, bars, restaurants are on two layers. Walk around the bottom, one set of shops, around the top and you'll get a completely different experience.

You need to watch your head though, as the medieval types were short people - five feet tall in their stocking feet.

Lots of tall tourists in Chester have a sticking plaster on their forehead.

 For this blog, and for some cake at the end, we walked the full length/circle of the wall and you’ll see the pics in a future blog.

For now......

The old bridge and the River Dee, pic taken from the wall.

What a fabulous address.
These houses are high up, the wall being the height of a third story building in places.
The residents must be used to nosey tourists sauntering past peeking in while they are making a brew.

The wall skirts the racecourse.
This large house sits on the far side.
I think it's going in a book.

We descended the steps of the wall to explore the Roman gardens.

Bathing Roman style.
Quote "The laconicum (i.e. Spartan, sc. balneum, bath) was the dry sweating room of the Roman thermae, contiguous to the caldarium or hot room. The name was given to it as being the only form of warm bath that the Spartans admitted."

A brief history of the plants in the garden.
With a lovely quote about why gardening makes folks happy.

Bits of the mosaic floors have been replicated.

Areas of the Roman garden show the walls of the tombs.

The mosaic at the entrance.

The walk through, you can see the wall on the right.

The remains of the burial sites

The back of the famous Chester Cathedral- see a later blog.

The wall took a bit of a hammering in 1643 to 1646, you can see the damage the cannon balls did, and  the repairs. Chester was under seige at that time.

It's peaceful now and very pretty, a bit like the town itself.

Up on the wall, looking down at the racecourse. Hooves have dug up the grass on the sharp curve so replanting is underway.

Walking the top of the wall, circling round the back of the cathedral.

The luxury central heating of Roman times.
Might be useful nowadays if the cost of fuel doesn't stop going up.

We rewarded ourselves. It was 13000 steps horizontally.
Goodness knows how many up and down!




  1. I've never been there. Will need to correct that...

  2. I agree with Michael, though I might start with where you landed after 13,000 steps!