Chester City Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are major building remains

NameChester City Wall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCheshire
Modern AuthorityCheshire
1974 AuthorityCheshire
Civil ParishChester

Follow Roman line on two sides,extending to the river elsewhere. Largely complete, though much altered; the gates and most of the towers have vanished. Murage granted 1249 and others suggest a concentration of effort in late C13 and early C14.

The present circuit of the City Walls is nearly two miles long and consists of four gates and several towers, all linked by a red sandstone wall. The north and east walls follow the original Roman foundations, which still remain in some cases, but the south and west walls were extended in the medieval period to include the castle to the south. The extension to the medieval walls must have taken place before 1121, as the Ship Gate is mentioned in the confirmation charter of St. Werburgh's Abbey. The present walls follow roughly the area of the medieval walled town, although most of the material above walk level is C18 or C19. The wall was probably originally defended by battlements to the outside, while the interior was protected by timber rails mounted on stone projections, which can still be seen at the Kaleyard gate. The north and east sides of the city wall were also protected by a ditch, which ran from Pemberton's parlour to just beyond the Newgate. Beyond this stretch, the slope of the ground was relied upon for protection. The repair and upkeep of the walls was a costly business, and was paid for by 'murage', a toll upon certain goods entering the city. The damage caused by the Civil War swept away much of the medieval work, and the walls were repaired during the reign of Queen Anne. In the C17 and C18 the ditches were filled in and the walls repaired, the medieval gates being replaced. The walls continued to be rebuilt and repaired so that the wall-walk could be maintained as a promenade. Most of the walls visible above ground level today are C18 or C19. (Cheshire HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSJ402661
Latitude53.1869888305664
Longitude-2.89583992958069
Eastings340200
Northings366100
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Chester East Gate 1.Jpg

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Chester Newgate 1.Jpg

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Chester Northgate .Jpg

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Chester Shipgate 1.Jpg

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Chester Shipgate 2.Jpg

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Chester St Martins Gate 1.Jpg

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Chester Water Gate 1.Jpg

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Chester Wolf Gate.Jpg

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Civil War Siege Damage

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Deanery Fields Wall Walk

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King Charles Tower

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Mecathedral Gate House 1.Jpg

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Mechester Bridge Gate.Jpg

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Morgans Mount

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Nuns Road Walls

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Park Street Walls

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Pembertons Tower

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River Side Walls.Jpg

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Riverside Round Tower

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Riverside Watch Tower

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Roman Angle Tower.Jpg

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The Groves Walls

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Thimblebys Tower

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Water Tower

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Books

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 48-51
  • Ward, S., 2009, Chester: a history (Chichester: Phillimore)
  • Lewis, C.P. and Thacker, A.T. (eds), 2005, VCH Cheshire Vol. 5 Part 2 p. 213-25 online transcription
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) passim
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 15-16
  • LeQuesne, C. and Strickland, T.J., 1999, Excavations at Chester: the Roman and later defences, part 1. Investigations 1978-1990 (Chester: Chester City Council/Gifford and Partners)
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 14-16
  • Carrington, P., 1994, English Heritage Book of Chester (London: English Heritage/Batsford)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Cullen, P.W. and Hordern, R., 1986, Castles of Cheshire (Crossbow Books) p. 5,16,17
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 70
  • Harris B, 1979, Bartholomew City Guides: Chester (Edinburgh) p. 94-95
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 plan p. 62 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 202-3
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Edward Hubbard, 1971, Buildings of England: Cheshire (Harmondsworth)
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co) p. 238-9
  • Simpson, Frank, 1910, The Walls of Chester
  • Morris, R.H., 1894, Chester in the Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns p. 222- online copy
  • Ormerod, G., 1882 (2edn), History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 1 p. 355-6
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 123-6 online copy
  • Broster, John., 1821, A Walk round the Walls and City of Chester (Chester)
  • Ormerod, G., 1819, History of the County Palatine and city of Chester (London) Vol. 1 p. 156-58, 279-82, 85 online copy
  • Grose, Francis, 1783 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 1 p. 37-8 online copy

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Ward, S., 1985, 'Recent work on the medieval city wall of Chester' Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society Vol. 68 p. 79-84
  • Ward, S., 1983, 'Chester: the city walls II' Cheshire Archaeological Bulletin Vol. 9 p. 49
  • Alldridge, N.J., 1981, 'Aspects of the topography of early medieval Chester' Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society Vol. 64 p. 5-31
  • Stickland, T.J., 1981, 'City Wall, engineering yard near the Northgate, Chester' Cheshire Archaeological Bulletin Vol. 7 p. 42
  • Alebon, P.H., Davey, P.J. and Robinson, D.J., 1976, 'The Eastgate, Chester, 1972' Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society Vol. 59 p. 37-49
  • Mason, 1976, Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society Vol. 59 p. 14-23
  • (Davey), 1973, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 17 p. 166 download copy
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Lawson, P.H. and Smith, J.T., 1958, Journal of the Chester and North Wales Architectural Archaeological and Historic Society Vol. 45 p. 24
  • Renn, D., 1958, 'The Water Tower at Chester'_Journal of the Chester and North Wales Architectural Archaeological and Historic Society_ Vol. 45 p. 54-60
  • 1937, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 94 p. 303-4 online copy
  • Simpson, 1910, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 65 p. 330-1
  • Shrubsole, G.W., 1887, 'On the Age of the City Walls of Chester' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 44 p. 15-25 online copy
  • Numerous other articles published are concerned with Roman origins of the lower courses of the wall.

Guide Books

  • Whimperley, A. & Murphy, D., 1977, The Walls of Chester: a Guided Tour (Dalesman)

Primary Sources

  • 1086, Domesday Book online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1908, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1247-58) Vol. 4 p. 49 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1893, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1281-91) Vol. 2 p. 344 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward I (1292-1301) Vol. 3 p. 310, 482 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1327-30) Vol. 1 p. 455 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1902, Calendar of Patent Rolls Richard II (1389-92) Vol. 4 p. 502 online copy
  • Morris, R.H., 1894, Chester in the Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns p. 222- online copy
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/murindex.html], [petitions > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/mupindex.html ] and [other such > http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/murage/muaindex.html]. < >

Other

  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 North West (London: English Heritage) p. 22 online copy