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Tours > Wales > Chester, England

Chester: England's Gateway to Wales
by Peter N. Williams, Ph.D., Editor, Wales on Britannia

Chester, nestled within a great curve in the River Dee (Afon Dyfrdwy), was once named Deva, the headquarters of the 20th Roman Legion in the first century AD. There are many Roman remains to be seen here, including part of the excavated amphitheatre, the hypocaust and a few surviving baths. It is of more interest to us (the Welsh) perhaps, that there are Chester laws still extant (dating from the late Middle Ages) that proscribe the actions of Welsh people within the city gates. Fortunately these laws, (dealing mainly with the times that the Welsh are allowed into the city and what weapons they are limited to carry) are not currently enforced by the current chief constable, a Welshman!! The famous Rows -- galleries above the main streets, are said to have been built to protect the shops at street level from Welsh cattle drovers with their flocks of sheep and geese and herds of cattle.

The high city walls that encircle the old city for two miles were begun almost 2,000 ago by mercenaries in the pay of Rome. Walks along the walls bring forth many treasures. From the northwest corner, the hills of Wales can be seen in the distance, the most prominent being Moel Fammau in the Clwydian Range.

Chester is less than an hour's drive from Manchester Airport on a modern highway, the M56.

Next Stop: Flint



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