Chester Guided Walks

If you find our 'virtual stroll' stimulating, why not treat yourself to one of our real guided walks?
Join photographer, author and historian Steve Howe to wander Chester's world famous City Walls, the most complete in Britain, and discover the delights of the city they have guarded for 2000 years. See sights and hear stories you'll never find in any guidebook! Booking is simple- click on the picture to learn more..

Bridgegate I

A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Bridgegate & Old Dee Bridge II

Chester Castle

Site Front Door
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Check out the Route Map
A brief introduction to Chester

The Northgate
The North Wall
The Phoenix Tower
The Kaleyard Gate
The Cathedral
The Eastgate
The Newgate & Wolfgate
The Amphitheatre
/ gallery
Amphitheatre Comments

St. John's Church
The 'Roman Garden'
River Dee inc Grosvenor Park
The Bridgegate
The Castle
The Grosvenor Bridge
The Roodee
The Watergate
The Infirmary
The Watertower
Tower Wharf
St. Martin's Gate
The Bridge of Sighs
Chester's visitors through time
The Rows of Chester
The Chester Gallery
Old Maps & Aerial Photos
Old photos of Chester & Liverpool
Vanished Chester Pubs / gallery
Chester Cinemas
The Old Port
The Chester Canal
The Royalty Theatre
Chris Langford Gallery
Mystery Plays Gallery
Chester Anagrams!
MickleTrafford Railway Stroll
Letters about the CDTS Busway
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Links to Interesting Places
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The building of the weir contributed greatly to the gradual silting of the river Dee- from early times, Chester was the major seaport of northwest England, trading widely throughout Europe and supporting a thriving shipbuilding industry.

By the reign of Henry VII, however, it was impossible for large ships to reach Chester and, during the next few hundred years, other harbours further along the Wirral coast had to be utilised, or new ones specially built, as the waters receded, the goods being unloaded and brought to the city by flat-bottomed boats or packhorses. These harbours, which were collectively known to mariners as the Chester Water, included Blacon Point, Burton, Shotwick, Neston, Parkgate, Dawpool, Hoylake and Meols. Such have been the changes that no commercial ports now exist along the Dee coast of the Wirral Peninsula; the first three of these are now inland while the site of the port of Meols, at the tip of the peninsula, is now lost under the waters of the Irish Sea. Rich archaeological finds in this area indicate that Meols had a long history as a port, predating even the Roman occupation of the region.

Parkgate was, for a period in the 18th century, the North West's premier port for trade with Ireland, Jonathan Swift, Handel and John Wesley being but some of the travellers who passed through here. It took ships up to 400 tons, some in the Atlantic trade, and it was from here that the troops of Oliver Cromwell embarked to create carnage in Ireland.

river wall and castleToday, Parkgate retains much of the atmosphere of an old port, and its many visitors are often surprised to see the old harbour wall and period buildings surviving almost completely intact- but with hardly a sign of the river that brought about their establishment. This remarkable 360 degree panorama dramatically illustrates the situation. See also our photograph of the place below...

One Emma Lyon, later Lady Hamilton (26th April 1765 –15th January 1815), best remembered as the mistress of Lord Nelson and as the muse of the portrait painter George Romney often visited Parkgate for the sea bathing.. She was born Amy Lyon at nearby Ness near Neston, the daughter of a blacksmith, Henry Lyon, who died when she was two months old. She was brought up by her mother at Hawarden in North Wales.

Around 1730, one Nathaniel Kindersley, "supported by a number of spirited gentlemen" made a survey of the estuary, and offered to restore the navigation of the river in return for certain dues of tonnage and the profits of the lands which would be recovered from the sea. An Act of Parliament was passed to sanction the venture in 1732, the first turf cut in April 1733, and the waters of the old channel were turned into that of the new just three years later. Vessels of 250 tons could come up to the city for a short time after that with no difficulty, and in 1740, The River Dee Company was formed to maintain the new cut.

Unfortunately, a clause in the Act stipulated that there should be "16 feet of water in every part of the river at a moderate spring tide", but opinions varied widely as to what was meant by 'moderate' and, as a result, the members of the company had to be "urged strenuously and often" to fulfill their obligations.

The new, artificial watercourse was much narrower than the old natural one and it silted rapidly and the banks deteriorated. Arguments and litigation dragged on, amazingly, for the next couple of hundred years, until 1938.

The anonymous author of A Walk Round the Walls and City of Chester, published in the first years of the nineteenth century, described the situation so, "The act of parliament passed in 1735 gave a number of adventurers, incorporated as 'The River Dee Company', all the land on the north-east side of the channel; this much to the injury of the trade and port of Chester, induced them to conduct the river in a circuitous course, which nearly choaked the navigation; but, from a circumstance of a clause in the act, enabling trustees to seize possession of the land so taken, in case the channel should not be a certain depth, the citizens of Chester, are much indebted to the present laudable exertions of C. Dundas, Esq. and other patriotic gentlemen in the neighbourhood, who have recently adopted measures (agreeable to the intention of the bill) to clear the channel, which we hope may eventually prove a considerable advantage to the City of Chester; the Port of which will in stormy seasons be a haven, void of the great risk of the dangerous banks of Hoyle, which are in the course to Liverpool".

This was sadly not to be and the increasingly uneconomic and absurdly self-destructive situation contributed greatly to the rise of the great port of Liverpool, just a few miles away on the River Mersey, where the world's first enclosed wet dock had been opened as early as 1715. The building of the Manchester Ship Canal in the 19th century took even more trade away from the Port of Chester.

Our little sketch map dramatically illustrates the decline of the once-mighty River Dee: Green indicates the riverbank in Roman times, Brown is land reclaimed from the marshes- the 'Sea Lands'- Yellow shows the dangerous and constantly-shifting sandbanks, the Sands of Dee and the thin Blue line indicates the modern, greatly-reduced course of the river. A number of the ancient harbours are also indicated.

'The Bar of Chester'
A bar is a bank of sand, silt, etc., deposited at the mouth of a river and, in an estuary so much encumbered by sandbanks as the River Dee, the term applies, in particular to the West Hoyle Bank. The first reference to the Bar of Chester appears to be the one contained in a description of the district written in the 16th century by John Leland, the King's Antiquary. He states that "The Barre called Chester Barre, that is at (the) very mouth of the sandes spuid out of Dee Ryvor, is an 8 or 10 mile west south west from Hilbyri, that is, near the north coast of Flintshire somewhere between Prestatyn and a point two miles west of it."

Inelegant as is the expression used by Leland in modern ears, it aptly describes the continuous unrest of the shifting sands in the Dee Estuary.

It would appear that the position of the "Bar," as given by Leland, was not of the main sand-bank itself but of that part of it which extended across the channel used by ships and covered by sufficient water to allow them passage at the higher phases of the tides. The main sand-bank extended as far as Hilbre Island, adjoining to which the Horse and Rock Channels permitted an alternative access to the Dee by way of the Hoyle Lake, near the north coast of Wirral. At low states of the tide the sandbanks at the mouth of the Dee were uncovered, and this condition is well illustrated by an account of a disaster which occurred in l806 in which the King George packet with 165 passengers and the whole of the crew, with one exception, were lost. The boat set out from Parkgate for Dublin on the ebb tide in fair weather, but grounded near Hilbre and was soon high and dry. The only course was to wait for the next tide, and to pass the time, most of the passengers descended from the vessel and spent the day walking and running on the sand-bank. In the night a gale blew up, before the King George was fully afloat, and she was driven higher up the bank, and broke up.

Right: Parkgate, the best preserved of the lost ports of the River Dee. The quay wall (your guide is standing on it to take the photograph) and many old buildings survive intact but, as can clearly be seen, the water has long since vanished. Parkgate today is a wonderfully evocative place and a visit there is highly recommended- its ice cream, fish and chips, beer and view of the setting sun are unmatched. Learn more about it here.

In 1808 Hoyle Lake is described, on account of its lights, as a fit place for vessels bound up the River Dee "when towards evening they have not tide sufficient to go over Chester Bar".

The extent of the Bar in the direction of Chester appears to have been of rather elastic application. For instance, the tower and spire of the church of the White Friars in Chester was taken down in 1597 and an old chronicler laments this for a number of reasons, one being that it was "the only seaman's mark for direction over the Barre of Chester."

Although this spire was a particularly lofty one it certainly would not be visible from the neighbourhood of Rhyl, and a vessel would probably have to be a considerable distance up the estuary itself before the spire could be seen, owing to the high ground at Blacon Point intervening.

A lightship was formerly moored off the Point of Air ('Y Parlwr Du'), called the Bar Lightship. Dr. Crick, Bishop of Chester, wrote that, when he was chaplain to the Mersey Mission to Seamen, and in charge of the steam launch "Good Cheer" he paid regular visits to various lightships, and, on one occassion, when visiting the Bar Lightship, his boat ran aground on part of the Hoyle Bank.

The Bridgegate
old bridgegateReturning our attention to Chester, standing opposite the end of the Old Dee Bridge is another of the ancient entrances through the City Walls- this is the Bridgegate, designed by the architect Joseph Turner and erected in 1782. On a marble tablet over the western postern, is the following inscription:


On another tablet, on the south side:


chester guided walksAt the time of the Bridgegate's completion, news came through of the victory over the French fleet in the West Indies, and on the back of the tablet was engraved:

"The great and joyful news was announced this day of the British fleet, under the command of Admirals Rodney, Hood and Drake, having defeated the French fleet, in the West Indies, taking the French Admiral de Grasse, and five ships of the line, and sunk one. The battle continued close and bloody for eleven hours".

(Joseph Turner's massive tomb is in the Overleigh Cemetery, Handbridge. Today it is shamefully neglected, virtually invisible among the undergrowth but here is a photograph of it by the author, taken about 20 years ago when it was somewhat more accessible...)

Turner's arch replaced a strongly-fortified medieval entrance- shown here in an etching by George Batenham- comprising a massive arched gateway with two strong towers on either side, sometimes known, because it guarded the only direct approach to Chester from Wales, as The Welshgate.

On the gate's west side once stood a high, square-built water tower- not the one in our picture- known as John Tyrer's Tower which was constructed in 1600 to supply water pumped up from the river and distributed through lead pipes to wooden troughs located throughout the city. You can see it in the old illustration of the bridge on the previous page.

William Webb wrote, about 1615, "This bridge-gate, being a fair strong building of itself, hath of late been more beautified by a seemly water-work of stone, built steeple-wise by the ingenious industry and charge of a late worthy member of the city, John Terer, gent (also a lay clerk at the Cathedral) and hath served ever since, to great use, for the conveying of the river water from the cistern, in the top of that work to the citzens houses in almost all parts of the city, in pipes of lead and wood, to their no small contentment and commodity".

In 1601, Gamull became a partner with Tyrer and agreed to supply water, in return for which, it was alleged, Tyrer agreed not to supply water to those citzens who did not deal with the Dee corn mills. The tower worked well enough for half a century, until being badly damaged during the Siege of Chester, and was eventually demolished, along with the rest of the old Bridgegate.

(If you wish to see for yourself how Chester's ancient gates would once have appeared, I recommend you pay a visit to beautiful Conwy along the North Wales coast, where the massive medieval defences remain in situ, including a complete circuit of walls and one of the most spectacular of Britain's castles).

The octagonal water tower we see in the Batenham picture above was built in 1692 by John Hadley and John Hopkins to replace the one destroyed in the war and this remained until the old gate was demolished in 1782.

The gates of Chester, with the exception of the Northgate, which was the charge of the Mayor and citizens, were held in serjeancy, or wardenship, by noble families who were responsible for maintaining them as defences. In turn, they were allowed the lucrative privilege of charging taxes on goods brought into the town through their gate.

In the 17th century, the Bridgegate was in the charge of the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury, who, when in Chester, resided in the splendid timber house you can see on the left inside the gate and long known as the Bear and Billet Inn, whose interior has been sympathetically restored and is well worth visiting. Notice the large doors at the top- the opening to the loft where goods were stored after being hoisted up from the street. This was common practice at the time, the loft being the part of a house deemed most free of damp, vermin- and thieves. The windows on the first and second floors extend right across the front of the building and contain 1,620 quarries, or small leaded panes of glass. It is unsure when the building first became an inn, though it is said that the Earls of Shrewsbury had leased it to an innkeeper, on condition that a suite of rooms was always kept available for the Earl and his family. A drawing of 1820 shows it as the Bridgegate Tavern and is believed to have acquired its present name soon after.

'J. H.', a contributor to the Cheshire Sheaf in December 1878 wrote of the old inn, "Not having been touched for many years, the front of the Bear and Billet has assumed a very dilapidated appearance, yet is undoubtedly rich in effect.
The painting of the timber is white, which seems to be unique, and certainly gives a very great contrast, especially in Chester, where we usually look for black timber. I suppose it is a matter o£ taste but I prefer the black, as a more suitable colour both for effect and endurance.
The glazing in the windows of the first floor is also very strange, reminding one of the patchwork counterpanes that are almost peculiar to Cheshire, the quarries are so very much varied.
But I have heard that the front is to be restored and freshened up. I have no doubt that the old building will be tenderly handled under the architect employee to carry out this and the needful alterations to the premises".

The pub's character changed greatly during modern times- when your guide first visited it in the early 1970s, it was a lively (to say the least) venue popular with the motorcycling fraternity. The passing years found it becoming increasingly neglected and scruffy until, in September 1999, closed its doors as a public house for the last time (or so we thought) having been taken over by Benson's Bistro, whose former premises, the historic Gamul House- also in Lower Bridge Street- was sold to a pizza company. The new owners, in their wisdom- and without planning permission- renamed the old pub Benson's at the Billet- a decision that found little local support. But then, in late 2001, it was announced that the ancient name was to be restored and the ground floor once again put back in service as a pub. Some three years later, the pub was indeed once more serving pints but the silly new name unfortunately remained. But, soon after, the long-troubled Billet passed into the care of the Isle of Man based Okell's Brewery and has thankfully once again become an excellent traditional pub offering decent food and a very wide choice of real ales and lagers from around the world.

Collectors of obscure Beatles information will be interested to know that John Lennon's (and his half-sister Julia Baird's) grandmother, Annie Jane Millward, was born in the Bear and Billet in 1873 and lived there until she was in her 20s. Julia, a longtime former Chester resident, recalled, "Our great-grandfather (John Denbry Millward) and great-grandmother (Mary Elizabeth Millward nee Morris) lived there. Our great-grandfather was the clerk to the Earl of Shrewsbury, because of that he had the freedom to the city of Chester. During childhood, John and I used to spend a lot of time in Chester. We also used to come to Chester on the train from Liverpool as we always knew that Chester was the best place for clothes shopping. We used to go for lunch at Brown's and walk down by the river. Chester has always been in the family. We are the classic family that moved from Wales to Chester to Liverpool. John was very fond of Chester. We always thought Chester was the place to be, not Liverpool."

Annie married George Ernest Stanley, had seven children (the first two died in infancy) - one of whom was John's mother Julia. Annie died in 1941.

bridgegate and bear & billetThe ancient Bear & Billet is thriving but many others have not been so fortunate- go here to learn about the many Chester pubs that have ceased to be. A little further on, on the corner of Shipgate Street, and prominent in this old engraving, is just such an ancient tavern, The Old Edgar, dating from around 1500, which, after years of dereliction was restored and now serves as a private residence. A 1905 postcard advertised the Edgar Tavern, as it was then called, as offering "refreshment rooms and accomodation for cyclists". More pictures of it may be seen in our lost pubs gallery.

Left: a fine Victorian view of the bottom of Lower Bridge Street; the Bear & Billet Inn is on the right, beyond which is the Bridgegate leading to the Old Dee Bridge. With the exception of the looming presence of the Dee Mills beyond the bridge (which burned down in 1914) and, of the course, the absence of traffic, this attractive scene has remained largely unchanged to this day.

Shipgate Street was for centuries a principal entrance to the wharves of Chester's busy seaport and was a place of merchant's houses and sailor's inns until the silting of the River Dee brought about the destuction of the river trade here and its relocating to a new harbour constructed on what was once the bed of the receding river, its site continuing to be be called The Old Port today, even though this, too, has long ceased to be commercially viable. Access to the waterside from Shipgate Street was finally blocked, first by the construction of Harrison's gaol at the end of the eighteenth century and then by County Hall which opened on the same site in 1959. The ancient Shipgate itself was removed and eventually re-erected in Grosvenor Park, where it remains today.

By the 1970s, much of this area had become derelict and a report was drawn up by architect Donald Insall in 1978 which led, in the nick of time, to a programme of radical restoration. Many of the Victorian, Georgian and older houses in the area were restored and some fine new ones constructed and today this part of Lower Bridge Street and Shipgate Street are a delight and well worth visiting when you come to Chester.

There remains one notable exception to this, however, for across the road, on the corner of Duke Street, stands an appalling blot on the face of a beautiful old thoroughfare- an extremely large, ugly and insensitively-situated car showroom / office block. It stands on the site of an ancient group of buildings which went by the name of Old Coach Row which, as may be seen in the detail below from a painting by Louise Raynor (and also in our unmissable gallery of her work here) had steps between the changes in level as it descended steeply southwards towards the Bridgegate and River Dee. The dilapidated condition of the old houses eventually gave rise to the nickname, 'Rotten Row'. Some of the buildings had the characteristics of a true Chester Row, with a covered gallery above cellars entered from the street, whilst others boasted merely an arcade over a raised pavement. Most of the true Rows had gone by 1880 and, by the mid-twentieth century, the frontages had become utilitarian with occasional street-level arcading.

The site immediately to the right of St. Olave's Church was long occupied by a large stone-built structure, resembling a small castle, with a tall tower. This was the home of Richard the Engineer (Richard L'Engenour), the master mason of Chester Castle and, around 1277, the builder of Flint Castle. He was leaseholder of the lucrative Dee Mills just down the road, and was elected Mayor of Chester in 1305. Five years later, the Abbot of St. Werburgh's Abbey (now the Cathedral) commissioned him to build a new Choir.

lower bridge street 1880

In 1321, the old building was sold to one Robert Pares (or Praers) and henceforth became known as Pareas Hall- also recorded as Paris's Hall. When this ancient house was demolished is unknown. A building that arose on its site was utilised for some years as a brewery and maltings during the mid and late 19th century. In 1896, for example, the building is recorded as  "Chester Northgate Brewery Co, malt kilns". The drawing below, dating from 1880, shows the brewery with St. Olave's on the left (behind a block of long-vanished stables) and Old Coach Row on the right.

In the early 1960s, all of the old buldings between St. Olave's Church and Duke Street were demolished and replaced by a vast and artless concrete showroom- illustrated here- built for the Grosvenor Motor Company and opened in 1962. At the time of writing, December 2010, it has stood empty for several years, boarded up and for sale. Perhaps it's time to knock the awful thing down and replace it with something more in keeping with the area?

lower bridge st then and now

Above we see a wonderful image of Lower Bridge Street by the artist Martin Moss, showing the view down towards the Bridgegate as it was in the 19th century compared with today. St. Olave's Church is seen on the immediate left of both pictures but then things rapidly change for the worse as we compare the sadly-vanished Old Coach Row with the ghastly modern building on the same site. You can see a larger version of the older image, plus some other interesting ones, in our Louise Rayner painting gallery...

St. Olave's Church is a charming small sandstone building, standing high above the pavement- a last reminder of that old Row. St. Olave Haraldson was an 11th century king of Norway who helped to establish Christianity in his country. He died in 1030. The church was founded soon afterwards to serve a community of traders from the Norse settlement of Dublin who made this area, situated just outside the line of the Roman wall, their home. The church and its parish were always the smallest and poorest in the city and in 1841 the building was closed and the parish united with that of neighbouring St. Michael's. In 1858-9, Chester architect James Harrison restored the ancient structure to serve as the parochial Sunday school. Since then, it has served in a number of purposes, including aduly education centre, gallery and sale room. A few years ago, however, it was acquired by a Christian group and serves once again, under the name the Chester Revival Centre, in its 1,000-year-old role as a place of worship.

Looking up Lower Bridge Street, you can see at the next junction St. Michael's Church which, standing as it does close to the site of the vanished Roman South Gate, or Porta Praetoria, gives a clear indication of the scale of the Saxon enlargement of the fortress. There has been a church on this spot since the 10th century. Exactly when St Michael's was built is not known, although there are several references to the church towards the end of the 12th century. It was rebuilt in 1582 when thirty-one 'tymber treese' were obtained from Wrexham.

During the Siege of Chester in 1644-6 the church was used as a prison. The Royalist prisoners kept there were "not to have meat, drink, candles, light or tobacco by especial order from the Commissioners, such were their cruelty". Perhaps because of the damage caused during this violent period, the Chancel of the church had become ruined by 1679 and was rebuilt. By 1708, the old wooden steeple and 'clockhouse' was said to be in a poor state and was replaced with a stone tower, surmounted by a cupola.

By the 1840s, the parish had been amalgamated with St Olave's but the interior of St Michael's had become dilapidated and the new tower declared unsafe. The South and East walls were also revealed to be in poor condition, so between 1849 and 1851 virtually the entire church was rebuilt under the supervision of James Harrison (who also, as we read above, was to restore St. Olave's ten years later). Apart from the North Aisle and Chancel roof, which date from the 15th century, most of what can be seen today is Harrison's work.

The church was de-consecrated in 1972 and, after being acquired by Chester City Council, became Britain's first Heritage Centre, opening in 1975. In March 2000, the City Council's archives- all the original documents which were held at the Town Hall- were transferred here and the old building is now the home of Chester History & Heritage, a matchless ambassador for our city and a superb source of information when you want to discover your Chester ancestors or find out about the history of Chester and District.

chester history and heritageJust across the road from St. Michael's long stood a church dedicated to the Irish Saint Bridget, which was founded around the year 797 by King Offa. There is little coincidence in the situation; probably the founders made use of a ruined Roman gatehouse that formerly formed part of the Porta Praetoria for their first church. The very same situation seems to have applied at Holy Trinity Church (The Guildhall) in Watergate Street, a Saxon foundation sitting on top of the site of the vanished West Gate of the fortress, the Via Principalis Dextra.

St. Bridget's was demolished in 1825 to make way for a road leading to the newly-constructed Grosvenor Bridge. Looking at the site today, it is difficult to believe that a church stood for over a thousand years- preceded by a great Roman gateway- in what is now the middle of the busy junction of Bridge Street and Grosvenor Street.

A new church of the same dedication, designed by the prolific Chester architect Thomas Harrison (no relation to James), was erected soon after close to the Castle, but this, too, was demolished during the 1960s to make way for a traffic island as part of the Inner Ring Road.

Chester's ancient circuit of walls and gates are constantly monitored by its city council for damage and movement. In the Spring of 2000, it was noticed that the parapet of the Bridgegate- a section of which had previously been pushed to the street by vandals- had experienced some weakening and the spandrel of the arch had started to move outwards. Consequently, a £40,000 programme of repairs was undertaken involving the insertion of 38 stainless steel rods through the structure and 16 horizontal rods drilled through the parapet. So carefully was the work done that no trace of the radical repairs are visible to the casual observer.
Sadly, it appears that these remedial works proved inadequate as, not too long afterwards, the entire upper structure was encased in scaffolding and protective plywood. Remarkably, at the time of this latest update in July 2015, it remains that way all these years later!

And now it is time to rejoin the wall and amble on towards Chester Castle...

Curiosities from Chester's History no. 18

  • 'old edgar' and bridgegate1622 John Tyrer, who in 1600 had erected a Watertower on the Bridgegate (see above), built a waterworks on the site of the Roman spring at Boughton.
  • 1624 A survey made of the Castle in this year found the Shire Hall to be "much decayed" and the Chapel "ruinous"
  • 1625 James I dies and Charles I (1600-1649) ascends the throne
  • 1626 The 'Falcon' in Lower Bridge Street was rebuilt. Bishop Bridgman had four cottages built for the lay clerks in 'Abbey Court' (Abbey Square)- one of these still stands there today. The Dutch West India Company buys the island of Manhattan from Indian chiefs for the equivalent of around $24
  • 1629 Charles I dissolves Parliament. It does not meet again until April 1640.
  • 1631 One Thomas Lacely was 'pressed to death' at the Castle and buried in the churchyard of St.Mary-on-the-Hill. A prisoner who refused to plead was able to save whatever property he owned from forfeiture from the Crown by undergoing the punishment of 'pressing'. For this, he was stripped naked and laid spread-eagled on his back. A board was laid across his body, onto which was placed stones and heavy weights. These were left on him until he agreed to plead or death released him. On the first day, his ration was "three morsels of barley without any drink", on the second, "two drinks of stagnant water without any bread" and so on, until a conclusion was arrived at.
  • 1632 The Mayor and Sheriffs of Chester ordered by King Charles to collect money for the repair of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, "Which is grown into much decay". (Old St. Paul's was to be completely destroyed in the Great Fire of London just 34 years later). First coffee house opens in London.
  • 1633 The Aldermen and Stewards of the Drapers' company committed to gaol for unfit speeches against the Mayor, until they acknowledged their fault. Charles I crowned King of Scotland in Edinburgh. Covent Garden market in London opened.
  • 1636 The accumulated filth in the city had become so great that a law was passed imposing a fine of 10s on any householder who had not, within one month from the date of notice, cleared the pathway before his property. The 'Customs House Inn' in Watergate Street was built. Over three and a half centuries later, it continues to serve a fine pint.

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