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Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10:30am - 4pm
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10:30am - 4pm
Access to Chester Castle is only available via the Secret Chester Tour three days a week
Chester Castle was founded on a small sandstone hill in the south west corner of the city walls in 1070 by William the Conqueror. It was the royal base for the military conquest of North Wales.
Model of the Grosvenor Bridge located near the castle
The Outer Bailey of the Castle
Chester Crown Courts now occupy the outer bailey of the Castle. Outside of the main Castle entrance is a roundabout.
Joining the roundabout is the A483 Grosvenor Road, Grosvenor Street, A5268 Nicholas Street.
Chester Castle is located on the Southeast corner of the City Walls on a small sandstone hill overlooking the river. There may have been a Roman auxiliary fort built on the spot in AD 79. In 1069 William the Conqueror had the castle built. Much of the Medieval castle has been rebuilt in later times. In 1790 whole of the medieval castle except the walls of the upper bailey and Agicola's tower were demolished. Chester Crown Courts are situated in the outer bailey.
Chester Castle appears not to be open to the public much these days. This bank holiday Monday I took the opportunity to have a look inside the castle. The parts of the castle that are open to visitors are: The Guardroom, Agricola's Tower, The Chapel of St. Mary De Castro and the Battlements.
The Guardroom is located next to Agicola's tower. It consists of a room and a small number of white washed cells. There is a reconstruction of a guard in period clothing looking into one of the cells.
In the room as you go through the door are panels displaying the periods of history of the castle. They are well worth a read.
Agricola's Tower or Julius Caesar's Tower is one of the only original surviving parts of the Norman Castle. It is located in the upper bailey of the castle. And has a large arched entranceway.
When the tower was refaced in 1837. The foundations of one of the corners was found to be built on a Roman arch.
In 1831 a small piece of a Roman tombstone was found in the wall near the southeast part of the tower.
The Chapel of St. Mary De Castro is located in the upper part of Agricola's Tower. It is accessible by a spiral stone stair case from the bottom room. The chapel is now a plain upper chamber which has a vaulted and groined stone roof supported by slender pillars with decorated capitals.
The Chapel is only open by appointment. But you can see it through the bars across chapel door. It was built as a private chapel for the Earls of Chester. It contains a wooden cross of a soldier killed in France 1914-1918. The brass cross on the altar is dedicated to Captain Collins of the 2nd Battalion. Killed in the South African war 1899-1902.
James II attended mass here on the 28th August 1687.
The Chapel was deconsecrated and used as an ammunition and gunpowder store until 1921. It was reconsecrated in 1925.
The Chapel has fragments of high quality frescos dating from around the 1230's. From the time of Earl Rannulf III. The frescos are of exceptional quality and are unusually small reminiscent of contemporary stained glass and manuscript illumination.
On the north wall there are parts of an ecclesiastical scene. Telling the story of the priest who was unable to remember any mass other than that of the virgin. And also the story of Ebbo the penitent thief. The virgin supported him for two days to save him from hanging.
The south wall tells the story of the boy of Bourges.
The west wall tells the tale of Theophilus. Just the head of the bishop is visible.
The east wall there is an unidentified scene from the 12th century with a man in a wide brimmed hat.
In the altar recess are the remains of a crucifixion scene.
The Chapel is now used as the regimental chapel of the 22nd Cheshire Regiment.
The Frescos are hard to see. There is an information panel with pictures in the down stairs room.
Door to the Chapel.
The Chapel is accessed by a spiral staircase.
You cannot go into the Chapel, but you can view it through an iron grill.
You can join the walls at this point
You can also see Handbridge from across the River.
The road that runs along side the Castle and around the back to the Old Dee Bridge is called Castle Drive.
Click on the picture for more information
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