Chester Tourist Information
FacebookTwitterYoutubeTell A Friend Bookmark
Guest Houses
Chester Events
Visiting Chester
Chester Pubs
Chester Live!
Contact Us
Navigation : Home > Visiting > Underground Chester
Underground Chester

Underground Chester

18th Century Cellar Steps in the excavated area in the
Dewa Roman Experience
18th Century Cellar Steps

The wall of the Cellar has been removed to show
the layers of occupation from Roman to Modern
Occupation Layers

Roman destruction layer
Roman destruction layer

Part of a Roman Military Building
Military Building

An Apse of a Roman Building
An Apse

Medieval sandstone flagged floor level
sandstone flagged floor

The Roman 'Baths'

The Bridge Street Hypocaust

These Roman remains are located on Bridge Street in the basement of Spud-U-Like. They are part of the legionary baths.

Chester, one of the oldest of English cities was founded by the Romans between A.D. 70 and A.D. 80. An interesting relic of their three hundred and fifty year occupation is the Hypocaust below ground level in the Spud-U-Like at 39 Bridge Street.

The Hypocaust (from the Greek word meaning 'Fire Beneath') was a common form of central heating used by Romans. Small pillars of stone or tile supported the floors, and hot air from a furnace was fed through the space beneath, and taken up the side of the building through chimneys. Thus the rooms were kept warm and dry, and the furnace could also be used to heat the water for the baths.

The building, of which the Bridge Street Hypocaust was only a tiny part, was one of the largest in Chester. It is thought to have been the 'schola' or officers club, for the men of the Twentieth legion, where they could relax in their off duty hours enjoying a Turkish bath, taking exercise, or merely chatting with their comrades after a hard day.

To make the Bridge Street Hypocaust the Romans cut down into solid rock, and then made a flat surface of concrete on which to set the pillars. Some of this concrete can still be seen on either side of the doorway which leads to the Hypocaust. Notice the many pieces of broken tile which were added to the mix. The pillars themselves are made of local sandstone, and there were originally 32 of them.

The Hypocaust was discovered as long ago as 1725 and there have been many theories to explain the large rock-cut pit which lies to the left of the doorway; some have thought it to be a plunge bath for the Roman baths, but the true explanation is probably that it is part of the medieval cellar system, made over a thousand years after the Hypocaust.

Part of the Romans Bath Building
The Roman 'Baths'

Roman Hypocaust In Situ
The Roman 'Baths'

Hypocaust Pillars
The Roman 'Baths'

The Roman 'Baths' The Roman 'Baths' The Roman 'Baths'

The Brown's of Chester Crypt on Eastgate Street

The crypt was built by a wealthy Chester merchant in the time of Richard the lion heart in 1290. The crypt of made of local sandstone and is barrel vaulted. It is built in the contemporary domestic style. But it is through to have had a religious use. It was first let by Brown's in 1858 for use by a wine merchant. Today it is used as a cafe.

Inside the crypt
18th Century Cellar Steps

Barrel Vaulting
Occupation Layers

Entrance to the crypt
Roman destruction layer

Legionary Commander's Roman Hypocaust

In a rear room of Miss Selfridges Store at the start of Northgate Street are the remains of the Roman Hypocaust heating system for the Legionary Commander's quarters.

Legionary Commander's Hypocaust Legionary Commander's Hypocaust

Legionary Commander's Hypocaust Legionary Commander's Hypocaust

Legionary Commander's Hypocaust

This page was last updated

Instant Hotel Search in association with - Click here for a complete list of Chester hotels

Designed by ButtonITNet Chester U.K. for Hosted in the U.S.A. Canvas Host