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Whats on in Chester

Due to the changing circumstances of events. It is better to get any information direct from any websites setup for the event. may not be up-to-date on the latest information. Please check with the council or the event organiser. Chester Tourist Information are able to advise on the latest events. Chester City Council publish a monthly 'what's on' guide. This available from the Tourist Information Shop next to the Town Hall in the Centre of Chester.



What's on in ChesterArchaeologyCinema What's on What's OnWhat's on Publications Annual EventsStagsHens What's on in Theatres in the AreaTouring TheatreMusic Theatre in ChesterDelamere ForestEvents in the Area

News - Park in the past

Park in The Past
Historical Ecological Educational Recreational ommunity Regeneration Project
01978 761325
Fagle Lane Hope North Wales U.K. LL12 9HB

Park in the Past
Is open this weekend Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th February 2023
10am - 4pm (Last entry at 3pm)

Come and enjoy a spring walk in our beautiful Park. Visit the Fort and meet the Roman Auxiliary soldiers building the Fort on Saturday.
They will be happy to answer any questions you may have about life in the Roman Army, and the Fort.
Enjoy a swim or go paddling on our 35 acre lake - to book in for a swim, SUP or Kayak session, just visit our website.
If you own a SUP or Kayak, or fancy a dip, you can just turn up and book in and pay in our visitor centre.
Swimmers MUST have a buddy and be cold water experienced. Walkers tickets - just £2 per adult, dogs and parking are free.
Pop into our dog friendly cafe for a warm welcome and hot drink.

Cave Caveart Painting 2023

Tunnel in the Past
We're getting ready for our Half Term Family activities based in the Stone Age.
This is the ONLY contemporary cave painting project we know of - using ancient paint techniques to create Stone Age style art on a modern 'cave'.
Our 'cave' is part of the Parks Past, and we want to tell its story.
Our families will be guided by Fee, our resident artist.
Fee is a professional artist and mural painter, who will be teaching our groups all about cave art and how to make and use paint out of natural materials.
We have spaces for our 'Survive the Stone Age' workshop left on Sunday 26th Feb 2023.
10.30-1.30 - to book in, please follow this link
As you can see from the photo, it's a bit muddy in the cave, so please wear wellies.


Heritage Open Days
Chester Heritage Open Days Chester
6th - 9th September 2018
Chester Heritage Open Days 1

Ceremony of the Gates

Eastgate Clock
Eastgate Street

New Event
This saturday sees Chester's first Cememony of the Gates. This is when the Eastgate Arch will be closed by temporary wooden gates to help celebrate Chester's history when the gates were guarded by Roman Soldiers and during the Civil War seige.

David Pickering will be the serjeant of the gates.
Gordon Vickers will be the murenger

Town Crier David Mitchell will commentate on the event. - Ceremony of the Gates Page One
Cheshire Archaeology Day
Saturday 26th April 2014
Winsford Lifestyle Centre
Tickets £12 Cons £10 - Park in the Past

Park in the Past
Established 2014
LL12 9HB Hope, Wrexham, United Kingdom
Historical - Ecological - Educational - Recreational - Community Regeneration Project
Park in the Past is a unique Conservation and Heritage Project which will transform the disused Fagl Lane Aggregate Quarry in Hope, Flintshire. The site totals around 160 acres including over 30 acres of lake, quarry workings, agricultural grazing, woodland and scrubland.
We commissioned a Feasibility Study in 2012 from reputable
Consultants Parkin Heritage and Tourism & Associates, who concluded that our plans are a viable commercial proposition.
We want to create an education, research and training resource for students of all ages and abilities. We want to broaden peoples’ horizons, to champion historical and environmental conservation, and to highlight the importance of the Welsh language and culture both in Wales and beyond.

Park in the Past Events
Park in the past Event 1
Celebrating the Start of Summer, Celtic Style.
Family Picnic, Bonfire, Party & Wicker Man Burning.

Help build the Wickerman from 3pm
• Celtic Story Teller & Magician
• Woad your face like a Celt
• Bar, refreshments and hog roast
• Live music 6pm to 9pm
• Prize for Best Summer Flower Garland

Admission at gate: Adults £5.00, kids over 5’s £2, family ticket 2+2 £12.00
01978 761 264

Parking donation £2 per car.
Bring your own Chair and enjoy an eventful afternoon in support of Park in the Past.

Calan Mai/Beltane at park in the past
Hosted by Park in The Past Community Interest Company

Saturday at 3 PM – 9 PM
Park in The Past Community Interest Company LL12 9HB Hope Wrexham U.K.

Mapping Medieval Chester
Mapping Medieval Chester: place and identity in an English borderland city c.1200-1500 This AHRC-funded research project brings together a team including literary specialists, historical geographers and historians to explore space, place and identity in medieval Chester. The project asks questions about Chester as a city on the (often troubled) border between England and Wales, and about how different medieval inhabitants imagined and represented the urban space around them.
The Past Uncovered

Britain's Lost Mega-Fortress
Britain's Lost Mega-Fortress

The Past Uncovered

Chester Archaeology, Design and Conservation News

The Past Uncovered is produced by the City Council's Archaeology, Design and Conservation Services to keep you in touch with discoveries in Chester and the surrounding area. It appears three times a year, in February, June and October. Copies can be obtained from the Grosvenor Museum and other City Council venues or by post direct from Chester Archaeology. If you have any comments or questions, or would like to contribute, please get in touch with Gillian Dunn at Chester Archaeology, 27 Grosvenor Street, Chester, CH1 2DD, 01244 402 023.
The Past Uncovered

The Archaeology of the Northgate Development Site Area

The Roman Legionary Fortress -The Chester Northgate site occupies the greater part of the north-western quarter of a Roman fortress.

The Fortress was begun in the 70s AD by the 2nd Legion and was later reoccupied by the 20th Legion. The site is roughly defined by the streets of the Roman fortress: to the east by the main north-south street; to the south by the main east-west street; and to the west by the Fortress wall and rampart (part of which survives in a heavily damaged form) and its intra-mural street. An irregular grid of north-south and east-west Roman streets then divided up the intervening site. The Headquarters building {Principia) of the fortress was in the south-east corner where the remains of the strongroom still survive. To the north, under the present Town Hall, was another large building, possibly a store building or hospital and to the west of this building was a building with an elliptical plan that was destroyed when The Forum Centre was built. The rest of the site was filled with a store, a workshop and barrack blocks, in the area of Hamilton House and the bowling green.

Sub-Roman Phase -The Fortress was abandoned in the 5th Century AD. The Roman street pattern and buildings survived sufficiently, in ruin form at least, to influence the later Saxon topography. However, the area behind Watergate Street and Northgate Street seemed to have been given over to agricultural or horticultural activity and does not appear to have been occupied.Re-emergence of the Town from Late 9th-10th Centuries.

There was a brief Danish occupation of Chester and in 907 the town was refortified. It is at this time that the medieval street pattern may have emerged within the area of the proposals, e.g. Crook Street, Goss Street and Hamilton Place. These streets may reflect earlier Roman alignments. Settlement would have been widely spread across the area and a number of Late Saxon buldings have already been excavated. Princess Street was not developed until after the Norman Conquest when the focus of building became concentrated on the main street frontages and Chester began to take on an urban character.

The origins of the Row System on Northgate and Waterqate are still not fully understood but it was certainly in existence by the mid 13 Century. The side-street frontages began to be built up and the backland areas were used for refuse pits and semi-industrial purposes. The application area occupies about 15% of the medieval town.

Post-medieval Intensification of Land Use - As Chester's population expanded so the backs of the medieval plots began to be built on. As population density increased in the 18th and 19th centuries yards and courts were built to exploit the backland. The only exception was the area of the Bowling Green that appears to have remained open continuously since Roman times. The original covered market was built in the 1860s.

Slum Clearance and Commercial Development -By the 20th Century the high-density buildings in the backland area had become run down and they were cleared away together with the original market hall (1967) to make way for the bus exchange, the Forum and associateddevelopments. In the process the medieval street pattern, particularly the line of Crook Street was lost. Much of the below ground archaeology was destroyed at this time, although deposits were largely undisturbed in the north-western area on either side of Hunter Street, to the east of Goss Street and possibly undersome of the streets, although the latter would have been disturbed by services.

The Roman Strong Room, which for years has been given poor treatment, was not in our view to be displayed to full advantage in the revised library scheme. We consider the Roman Strong Room to be of great symbolic importance to Chester, and hence the comments in our previous correspondence"

Following further discussions and exchange of additional information, English Heritage agreed that the removal of the cantilevered floor over part of the archaeological remains is not practicable. Accordingly their objections to this one remaining part of the scheme were withdrawn.

However, English Heritage point out that archaeological interpretation in the relatively constrained foyer space will be all the more critical and they have requested that the most careful attention is given to getting it absolutely right and achieving an exemplary scheme. They comment that "adequate budgetary provision will be needed to cover items such as lighting, treatment of the public realm immediately outside the building, conservation of the remains, finishes to the viewing well and surrounding areas, as well as the actual interpretative displays both inside and outside. Practical considerations such as access for maintenance and cleaning will also need careful thought^ Material Considerations

The Northgate site contains some of the best-preserved remains of the Roman fortress, in particular the legionary barracks and Centurions' quarters. The archaeological constraints as set out in the Draft Development Brief for the site require the preservation of the most important remains (mainly in the north west part of the site around the bowling green).

The current Development Brief (Donaldsons on behalf of CCC, 1999) calls for the protection, as far as possible, of the archaeological deposits within the boundary.

Gone but not forgotten


June 2007 Demolish Masonic Lodge and Old City Mission.
Oct 2007 Form temporary Bus station.
Winter 2007 Bus station closes
Multi storey car park built Oct 2007 - November 2008
Works to back of King Street properties & New Hunter Street November 2007 - March 2008
Stage 1 Temp bus station opens Winter 2007.
Stage B Clearance for phase 1 of Market
Demolish Commerce House.
Northgate Street works undertaken October 2007 -December 2008
Nov 2007 Demolish for car park - bus station Achaeological investigations
Form multi storey car park October 2007 - November 2008 Summer 2007 - December 2009
Form new bus station March 2008 - November 2008 Roman Barracks
Construct northern strip of Department store
Works to rear of Watergate Street properties February 2008 - November 2008
Town Hall works undertaken April 2008 - April 2011
Demolish Hamilton House -United services club June 2009 - November 2009
Commence construction of Theatre October 2009
Form Trinity street link road
Construct phase 1 of Market including basement - temporary stalls built
Mar 2008 moment phase 1 completed Sept 2008
Stage 2 Relocation of county Council
Bus station Constructed March 2008 - March 2009
Construction of New Theatre/Perfoming Arts Centre October 2009
Demolish Merchant and Goldsmith House April 2009 - October 2009
Construct Theatre Square and residential October 2009
Jan 2009 Interior work to Market completed
Phase 2 Hotel extension and link bridge
Stage B Forum Centre and offices demolished July 2009 - October 2009
Demolish Market Hall and Princess Street car park. November 2008 - MAY 2009.
Demolish for new retail, residential and library
Completion of Theatre square and residential October 2009 - 2010
Stage C March 2009
Hamilton House demolished June 2009 -November 2009
Stage D Completion of Theatre/Perfoming Arts Centre October 2009 - July 2011
Completion of Library block
Move Library to new location – March 2011
Phase 3 Retail open (Aug 2010)
Demolish library
Form Market Hall phase 2 (Feb 2012) Market split for 40 months
Department Stall built fitted out and opened April 2011
February 2012 scheme complete

Recent finds from the Grosvenor Park Dig

A Votive Roman Axe Head
Votive Axe Head

A Base of a Roman Statue
Roman statue base

Musket Balls from the siege of Chester found in the Roman Amphitheatre
Roman statue base

A Video about Chester's history by Peter Rossiter from

The Past Uncovered

'The Past Uncovered'. The four-monthly newsletter of Chester Archaeology

The past uncovered is produced by the City Council's Archaeological service to keep you in touch with discoveries in Chester and the surrounding area. It appears three times a year, in February, June and October. Copies can be obtained from the Grosvenor Museum and other City Council venues or by post direct from Chester Archaeology. If you have any comments or questions or would like to contribute, please get in touch with Gillian Dunn at Chester Archaeology, 27 Grosvenor Street, Chester, CH1 2DD. Tel 01244 402023.

The Past Uncovered Newsletter

Chester Amphitheatre Newsletter

Keeping you up to date with all the latest discoveries at the Chester Amphitheatre excavation.

Chester Amphitheatre Newsletter

The Handbridge Cremation Urn

Handbridge Cremation Urn

In Roman times Handbridge was the site of a cemetery. It was Roman law that no one could be buried within the City Walls. So burial grounds developed by the side of the roads leading out of the fortress.

This urn contains a cremation. The Romans either buried or cremated their dead. Both methods were popular at different times. Cremation was popular from the 1st Century to the early 3rd Century. Burial was more popular in the 3rd / 4th Centuries.

The Urn was made locally probably at the Legionary tile works at Hold. It dates to around the late 1st Century or early 2nd Century. It was originally a food storage vessel. Most poor people would have their ashes placed in a pottery or glass vessel. The rich could buy elaborately decorated cremation containers.

A specialist archaeologist has carefully excavated the urn to find out more about the person who was cremated. Although the bones have been burned we have been able to find out that they belong to a man aged 20-35. There are some basic differences between the size of male and female skeletons which allow experts to sex and age a skeleton.

The vertebae of the spine show something called 'schmorls nodes'. This is a weakening of the bone. It is related to trauma. It is possible this was caused by a hard working life when the man was still young. The sort of people who undertook heavy work from an early age in the Roman Empire would have been slaves or local tribes working in the countryside. It is not likely that he was a legionary. The bones also show evidence of a dietary deficiency either scurvy or anaemia.

He probably died in the early 2nd Century as this fits in with the date of the pot and the time when cremation was popular. poor health is the most likely cause of his death. The average life expectancy for civilians in Roman times was about 35.

The Urn is now on view in the Roman Stones Gallery in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester.

The Chester Gladiator - The Chester Gladiator. This small slate plaque was found in 1736 in Fleshmonger's Lane (Now Newgate Street) in Chester.

This small slate plaque was found in 1736 in Fleshmonger's Lane (Now Newgate Street) in Chester. Soon afterwards it disappeared, and only two cast copies of it were believed to survive. One in the society of antiquaries in London, and one here in Chester.

In 1978 Saffron Walden Museum in Essex asked the British Museum to look at a small relief of a gladiator which had been in their museum since 1836. Their accession register says it came from Herculaneum in southern Italy. But after much research the British museum was able to show that this was indeed the lost Chester gladiator.

How the plaque found its way down to Essex remains a mystery. We know that it was in the collection of a London physician, Dr Richard Mead in 1742. It later found its way into the possession of the reverend Thomas Hopkins of Linton, Cambridgeshire. Who presented it to Saffron Walden museum, but by this time its association with Chester had been long forgotten.

The stone comes from Minera in the hills of Wrexham. We believe that the Romans were mining for lead in the area, and useful pieces of slate must have been included in the shipments of lead sent to Chester.

The surviving fragment is approximately one half of a rectangular panel showing a gladiator fight between a 'Retiarius' and a 'Secutor'. The Retiarius survives complete but all that we can see of his opponent is a shield held high in the air and the outline of his sword lying on the ground. However, with the help of a little detective work we can make a guess at what stage their fight reached, and therefore what the missing figure might have looked like. The Retiarius does not appear to be fighting, and if you look closely the dagger sheath on his belt is empty. It therefore seems likely that the Secutor has been seriously wounded by the dagger. The Retiarius has won and he is awaiting the verdict from the crowd. Either to spare his opponent or to finish him off.

The Chester Gladiator is now on view in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester.

Roman Inscription Fragments

Two fragments of a large inscription found outside the city walls and believed to have come from the Roman East Gate. The missing letters can be restored to make the inscription refer to the emperors Trajan 97AD - 117AD or Hadrian 117AD - 130AD. The inscription commemorated the rebuilding of the original timber gateway in stone. Some thirty or fifty years after the founding of the fortress.

Roman Inscription Fragments

This fragment is the lower portion of a small commemorative inscription which appears to refer to the emperor Septimus Severus. The remaining words may be read as 'Serverus Imp Patriae Cos'. If this is correct, the inscription can be dated to between 194AD and 196AD. The marking out for another line of letters below 'Cos' can be seen. Probably the inscription is unfinished. It was found in 1927 in Edgar's field in Handbridge. In an area south of the City already known to have been used as a quarry.

Roman Inscription Fragments

Fragments of a large inscription carved on North Welsh slate found when Chester's old market hall was demolished in the 1960's. The pieces had been reused as paving slabs at the rear of the Roman headquarters building (Principia) sometime during the Roman period. No one has yet succeeded in translating it. The style of lettering suggests a late 1st / early 2nd Century date. The wording appears to be very different from the abbreviated style typical of military inscriptions.

Roman Inscription Fragments

Useful Websites

Heronbridge excavation and research project


The Roman Elliptic Building Deva

This is the site of the new homepage for The Chester Project
The Chester Project

The Defences of Chester
Chester's Roman Defenses

The homepage of a reconstruction project to support the recently published report on the defenses of Chester. Although the project currently depicts the early and middle Roman periods, it will ultimately encompass all major periods up to the present, bearing in mind also that the term 'defenses' tends to lose its relevance as we approach the present.

Structure of the Timber and Turf Rampart

Structure of the Stone Curtain Wall

The North Wall - Then and Now

The Timber and Turf Rampart

The NE Corner of the Fortress at Night

Chester in the future

Archaeology Day
Click here for more information
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