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Photographs of Chester by Chris Langford

The view from Agricola's Tower, Chester Castle

view from agricola's tower today

Another slightly fuzzy photograph showing the view from the so-called Agricola Tower (it certainly has no Roman connection). Nontheless, with the exception of occasional patches of medieval walling, the tower is the only survivor of Thomas Harrison's radical rebuilding in the 18th and 19th centuries when the great medieval castle in which Henry Bolingbroke imprisoned Richard II in 1399 was demolished.

Below it we see the same view as photographed by Steve Howe in October 2009.

The three-storey red sandstone structure of c.1200 was one of the towers of the inner bailey, sited between the inner gatehouse and the inner and outer bailey walls. Its top floor houses the fine Norman / Early English Chapel of St. Mary de Castro ('of the castle'), where have recently been discovered some very fine ceiling paintings, hidden under- and preserved by- chemical deposits from the gunpowder which was once stored here. They are, however, extremely faint, virtually invisible to the casual observer...

To the right, we can see the tower of the 16th century church of St. Mary-Within-the-Walls. The tower was once much lower than it is today- as a precaution against attack it was forbidden for any neighbouring building to overlook the walls of the Castle. The ornately-carved upper parts of the tower we see today were added by the castle's re-builder, Thomas Harrison in 1861-2. The interior of the church is very fine and boasts a splendid English oak inner roof, brought from Basingwerk Abbey (whose picturesque ruins still survive near Holywell in North Wales) when that establishment was dissolved by the agents of King Henry VIII. Many of Chester's greatest citizens were buried here and some of their monuments are likely to surprise the visitor, being as they are painted in bright colours. The church was deconsecrated in 1972 and today hosts an education centre operated by Cheshire County Council.

Prominent in the centre background is the great tower of Chester Cathedral.

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