Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls
Details from John McGahey's View of Chester from a Balloon 1855:
2. The Kaleyards & Canal
Canal. Local author and guide Thomas
Walls". The stretch of canal next to the City walls at the top of the picture flows where once was the fosse- the defensive moat- of the Roman fortress was first dug around 80 AD. It filled up with debris over the centuries and disappeared but was re-excavated when the canal was constructed in the middle of the 18th century.
Out of sight in the trees to the left of the timber yard is the smallest of the gates in Chester's City Walls, the Kaleyard Gate, built here by permission of King Edward I in 1275 to allow the monks easier access to their gardens- on condition that was built small enough to prevent armed men on horseback from riding through it and that it would be kept securely locked at night and in times of war. The tradition of locking the gate at nine o'clock each night continued right through until just a few years ago. Our photograph shows the City wall just to the left of the Kaleyard Gate. The large stones jutting out are part of the original Roman wall. They still bear deep scratches- 'archer marks'- from the days when archery was practiced (compulsory in those warlike times) on the open ground here and people used the stones to sharpen their arrows. The Kaleyards is today used as a car park.
Further industrial premises, including a salt depot, were at this time located below the bridge where the Fortress & Firkin public house is today.
Other enlarged sections from John McGahey's wonderful illustration: