Sunday, 10 January 2016

Where is Chester Harbour

Another walk today looking for signs of that illusive Chester Harbour.  Steve & Chris (nb Amyjo) had already mentioned remains of the harbour wall near the racecourse, so I went exploring.  My route took me back to the Water Tower. The tower used to be positioned in the river and linked to the main city walls by an extension.  The area around the Water Tower is now a large garden with a childrens playground.  The second bin in the next photo shows it’s also used for less salubrious activities.

P1020246 The grey bin is for the disposal of syringes and needles.  The garden must be one of the locations frequented by the local addicts.

The Water Tower was constructed to defend the harbour and city from seaborne attack.   There is an arch in the wall that links the Water Tower to the city walls.

P1020247Originally this area would have been under water and the arch correspondingly higher.  I assume it was an entrance to part of the harbour.  Above the arch is a stone plaque.


The only words I could deciper were “Justice of the Peace” and the date “1730”.  The tower existed long before 1730 so i assume this is a ‘late’ addition.  On the other side of the arch there is a stone wall running parallel to the base of the city wall.  Could this be part of the original harbour?


I suspect the stonework is too new for it to date back to the Middle Ages.

There is another stone wall on the earth approach to Grosvenor Bridge.


Stone wall in the right side of the above photo.  It’s possible that the builders of the Grosvenor Bridge incorporated this part of the original harbour as a retaining wall.  When I looked at the opposite side of the bridge approach there was no wall which lended some credibility to my belief.  I then walked to the opposite end of the wall.

20160109_141108 From this position it appears the wall was probably constructed to ensure the bridge approach didn’t obstruct the racecourse.  So not part of the original harbour.  But what came first; bridge or racecourse.  To my surprise I discovered Chester Racecourse is very old.  The harbor silted up and until 1533 the site was used to play football, which in those days was violent and bloody.  The city banned the game in 1533 and in 1569 it was replaced by horse racing with the consent of the mayor, one Henry Gee.  It’s from his name we get the expression gee-gee for horses.

There is a slighty raised mound (very hard to see) in the centre of the course on which can be found the remains of a small cross.


Can’t see it?


Sorry…. it was the phone camera.

Wikipedia states “a small cross known as a "rood". It is from this that the race course derives the name "Roodee"; Roodee is a corruption of "Rood Eye", meaning "The Island of the Cross".  I’ll let you reach the history of the cross in the link rather than duplicate it here.

The good news is it was near this location that I finally found the remains of the Roman harbour.


Of course I didn’t find them!  They were probably never lost.  I came upon them.  Smile

Meanwhile back at Waiouru Jan had a visitor.  You can never tell with young females….. this one hissed if Jan didn’t give her something to eat.


She must have been a very late cygnet


Halfie said...

I can also make out "Jas [James] Comberbatch - Justices of the Peace - Muringers - 1730". It looks like there's a "Thos." [Thomas] and a few Esqs. [Esquire]. I think Comberbatch is the last name in a list of JPs after the esquires, all muringers. And you have already told us what muringers were; something to to with the upkeep of the walls.

Tom and Jan said...

Oh to be young again and have good eyes! 😃

nb AmyJo said...

Glad you found the harbour wall and you helped me solve the mystery of the arch too. I wondered what its purpose was.

We had intended visiting you but I've had the dreaded lurgy for the last week and although I was taught to always share, I did not think you would appreciate me sharing my cold.

Tom and Jan said...

I'd probably kill it, but I'm sure Jan will thank you for not sharing!