King Charles Tower
March 2012 - Tower Closed for Repair work Walls Diversion in place
Standing on the North-East corner of the city walls over looking the canal, is the tower called "King Charles's Tower".
Called so because legend has it on the 24th of September 1645. King Charles stood on the tower and watched his army defeated in the battle of Rowton Moor.
This fact is not correct because you cannot see Rowton from the tower. It is situated 3 miles to the West of Chester on the modern A41 road before Christleton. What he may have saw however, was his defeated army fleeing back to the safety of the city after the battle in the evening.
The Inscription above the door reads : 'King Charles Stood on this Tower Sept. 24 1645. And saw his army defeated on Rowton Moor'.
The tower started life as the Roman North-East corner tower to the fortress.
Like the South-East corner tower it would have been built on the inside of the wall for protection. The Roman tower was demolished with the other parts of the fortress after is was abandoned by the Romans. The tower was built in its present position on the outside of the
walls in 1613 and was originally called 'Newton Tower' because it overlooked the suburb of Newton.
The tower was used as a meeting place for the city guild company of Painters, Glaziers, Embroiders and Stationers. Whose emblem was a phoenix. The tower then became known as 'Phoenix Tower'. The emblem can be seen above the entrance door on the walls. And also carved in wood inside the lower floor of the tower (see picture below).
On the evening of the 23rd of September 1645 King Charles the first, his guards and Lord Gerrard entered the city through Bridge Gate. It was the evening before the Battle of Rowton Moor. He stayed at Frances Gamuls house on Lower Bridge Street.
The next evening he is said to have watched the battle partly from the Phoenix Tower and partly from the tower of the Cathedral. From which he is said to have nearly been shot by a sniper. The main battle started at 4pm on heath ground 3 miles West of the City called Millers Heath. The battle lasted most of the evening of the 24th with scattered fights between Rowton and the city walls. The Royalists lost the battle with over 2000 killed or captured.
The next day the King left Chester for Denbigh Castle. The first civil war was nearly over. The tower received damage during the siege of Chester and had to be rebuilt in 1658.
A battle plan of Rowton Moor is displayed on the Upper Floor next to the window through which King Charles is said to have
watched the battle.
'Prisoners taken at, and after the rowting of King's Forces on
Rowton Heath within 2 miles of Chester on 24th September 1645 : The names are given of :-
Knights and Colonels 11
Lieutenants Colonels 7
It also includes :-
Gents of Kings Lifeguards 17
More Gentlemen 20
Troopers, between 800 and 1000
Six very considerable Gentlemen [names given]
2 Lords 2 Knights
1 Colonel 1 Lieutenant-Colonel
and 300 and more officers and common soldiers"
Today Rowton is a quite village. There is a small memorial to the battle in the centre of the village. You can still some of the fields and heath land upon which the battle was fought. This is a small sandstone and brick building next to the A41. This building is said to be used as a field hospital during the battle. It can be seen from the road. The building looks like it is old enough. But it is only 6' x 6' inside !
Today King Charles's Tower is rarely open to the public. There are small civil war displays on both floors.
The top floor is accessed from the stair case on the outside of the tower from the walls.
King Charles Tower >>>
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