Thursday, 1 March 2018

Historic Places: King Charles Tower, Chester

Steps up to the tower which at the time of visiting was locked

I'm trialling this new 'Historic Places' blog series, I just thought it would be fun to share some of the sites I've visited recently. Hopefully I'll have time to add a few more posts in the coming months (and visit some new places too!). 

I frequently find myself in Chester for work which I do not mind at all, its a lovely city full of history. It usually markets its Roman history (what with the amphitheatre and all) but there is lots from the early modern era to keep me interested too. Last year I went for a lovely wander on the city walls and that's when I came across the King Charles Tower (also known as Phoenix Tower and Newton Tower). The plaque regarding Charles I caught my attention, the tower is famous for being the spot that King Charles I (allegedly) stood on the 24th September 1645, while watching his army being defeated by Parliamentarians in the battle of Rowton Heath. However it isn’t actually possible to see Rowton from this spot, it’s more likely that Charles stood there and saw his army returning from the battle to the safety of the city. Maybe there wasn’t enough room on the plaque to add this disclaimer J  
As with many sites the tower has had one or two makeovers over the years. It is thought to be of thirteenth century origin but was altered in 1613 when a carved phoenix was added to signify it as a meeting place for City Guild of Painters, Glaziers, Embroiderers and Stationers. Later in 1658 the tower was rebuilt following Civil War damage. It was in a state of disrepair again in the 19th century but was repaired due to the popularity of the aforementioned Charles I story. I suspect that's when the plaque was added. More recently in 2012 it was again restored to make it safe for visitors to access a viewing platform. As far as I know there’s currently no access to the interior of the tower which I believe once housed a civil war exhibit. If you’re interested in visiting the site it is totally free and is part of a lovely walk around Chester’s walls.
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'King Charles stood on this tower Sep 24 1645,
 and saw his army defeated on Rowton Moor'

More info:
‘The King Charles’s Tower on Chester’s city was have been revamped’
Photos taken by me J in 2017. 

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