Chester, England

Cruising Northern England: Chester

Chester is a beautiful town, full of history. When the Romans were in Britain, the town was called Deva, named after the River Dee. In those days, Deva was a major port with a massive harbor. The Romans built walls around the city, and the two miles that still circle the city are mostly the original stone walls. In the Dark Ages, the Vikings trashed Deva and by 900A.D., it was delelict. In the Middle Ages, the town began to prosper again and took on the shape we see today. Later, the Dee silted up, the sea trade died, but the city was solidly established by then.

Chester is known for a area called the Cross, with buildings like these radiating out from the center. These buildings, constucted the early 1100's, are called the Rows and are unique. They have a street level set of shops, then another row of shops above, accessed by stairways. No one knows why the building were made this way but there are lots of theories. Now they are pretty ritzy, filled with up-scale merchandise. The half-timbered buildings were painted black and white in the Victorian era.

We walked around part of the wall, looking at the mucky water of the "silted-up" Dee eating ice cream cones. Further on, we watched some school children involved with a "Roman sentorian" re-creating some drama from history. Eventually we came to this famous clock which was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, then called it quits. We left Chester, heading towards Oxford to meet some friends and spend our last night in England.

We didn't see much of Oxford, but this is the Thames towpath that I've read about in a lot of English literature. The town got it's name from the river - oxen ford - because there was a place shallow enough to drive animals across. The towpath is used for boating, fishing and wildlife observation.

This is the sunset out last night. It was off to Heathrow early the next morning. And that's it, our trip to England.

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text by Nan. Photos Copyright ©2002 Nan Hamilton