Here, we are once again at the Chester Cathedral; some 36 years since our first visit.
We made a return trip to Chester, England on our latest shopping trip; not to buy, but to reminisce. Chester is a beautiful ancient city built by the Romans 2000 years ago. It’s known for its city walls, the black and white covered walkways of the Rows and its beautiful red sandstone cathedral.
Up on the top of the Chester Cathedral looking down at a portion of the wall. If you look closely, you can see people walking on the wall and the King Charles’s Tower. (at the 12:00 position, nestled in the trees)
So many black and white buildings. This one is the Stanley Palace built in 1591.
We were there 36 years ago and returned this year to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. In 1980, Drury University’s English Professor Jim Livingston organized a Winter Term Trip to England during the month of January 1981. He was Theresa’s faculty advisor, so she signed up for the trip. The trip was not only open to students, but also to alumni of the college. Philip tagged along with his friend, who was an alumnus. We met and the rest is our history.
Some of the oldest buildings in Chester. Also, houses a candy store!
During the trip, the participants had the opportunity to go off and explore on their own for a few days. Four of us went to Edinburgh, Wales and Chester. We only had a small time to spend in Chester, so we’ve always known we wanted to return. This time, we spent two glorious fall days, different from the snowy January 1981 visit.
Eastgate Clock built in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Part of the wall.
Dovecote! Taken from atop the most complete wall in all of England.
We walked on the city walls getting our bearings. The walls surround the older parts of the city for two miles. They were originally built by the Romans and then rebuilt by the Normans. Medieval gates have been replaced by arches, which cars now drive through. The walls are tall and wide and easy to walk. They are made of the same red sandstone as the cathedral and in some places, they are almost 40 feet high. Trees hang over the walls providing shade and fall colours. From the high vantage point, you can peek into the yards and alleys of the city.
Interior of the nave. It took over 130 years to build because of a lack of workers due to the Black Death.
Our main objective was to revisit the cathedral. We remembered it as smaller than average, quiet and a beautiful red color. So, we headed over to the Chester Cathedral for a private behind-the-scenes tour and walked up 216 spiral stair steps for an awesome view of Chester and Wales. There has been a church on the spot since the 900s. The original Minster was turned into a Benedictine abbey in 1092. It survived Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries by becoming the cathedral of the Church of England. On the tour, we were able to catch glimpses of the past monastic life, including eating lunch in the 13th century monks’ dining hall. The cathedral is the beautiful sacred spot we remembered.
The oldest part of the cathedral, dating from 1092.
The 13th century dining hall for the monks. We ate cake!
The carved medieval quire stalls from the 14th century. These were so amazing!
Most people associate Chester with The Rows. The black and white Rows are rows of two levels of shops with covered walkways. Think of them as the first malls, where you could shop continuously without getting wet from the English weather. They were built in the 13th century. Most have been rebuilt and enlarged and now have shops and eateries (And antique stores!). Stairways link both levels so you can shop each with ease, which we did. Yes, Philip found a few candy stores.
The corner of Bridge Street and Eastgate, near the Cross, where public trading has occurred since 1407.
The Roman Gardens, where the excavated remains of the Romans rule were placed in a garden setting.
We wandered around the oldest Roman amphitheater ever unearthed in England and gardens, just outside the city walls. We visited the River Dee, stopping to imagine the Vikings raiders sailing up the river to attack the city. We had dinner the first night at the oldest horse race course in England, and the second night, we ate at the Bear and Billet, a tavern who roots go back to 1584!
Gorgeous pub built in 1622.