CHESTER STORY 02: Deva Fluvius
Chester is a walled city situated on the bank of River Dee, close to the border of England and Wales. Both the river and the well preserved Roman City Wall, built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in AD79 to completely surrounds the city centre forming a Fort, can be seen not far from the woods mentioned in my previous post. The River Dee, known as Deva Fluvius to the Romans meaning River of the Goddess, has always played an important role to Chester and its surrounding regions.
For the Romans, where I am standing now is the site of their Harbour, a major trade and military route. Then during the French Normandy occupation, Chester Weir was built by Hugh Lupus, 2nd Earl of Chester, to supply power to agriculture industry, such as corn fields, in this region. The same weir then became part of a hydro-electric scheme since 1911 and still played an important role in generating power for the city’s Bridgegate during Medieval era, and later for the Grosvenor Bridge until this day. I find it rather fascinating that behind the seemingly natural setting lies such a huge effort of man’s intervention with nature and centuries of Avant-Garde engineering because other than the slight change in the river depth at Chester Weir, not much else was visible that would have suggested all these man-made interventions in an otherwise typical rural English river bank.
The sandstone city wall, on the other hand, was a testament to Chester’s military power and its significance throughout British history. The fortified defensive structure formed an almost complete circuit around Chester city centre with only 100 metres break. The total length of the wall was approximately 3 kilometres with elevated walkway throughout. It was the most complete remaining Roman and Medieval defensive town wall system in Britain, so naturally I spent an afternoon exploring this ancient urban construction. I thought that the height, width and locations of access staircase as well as guard towers around the wall were particularly well planned because one could see completely unobstructed 360 degrees views from the top of the wall looking towards River Dee and towards the enclosed city below. One could imagine that this fortress certainly could not be breached that easily. In present day though, a walk along the city wall afforded a fantastic view of the river and other Roman remains such as the bath house, the amphitheatre etc. as well as a combination of old sandstone houses and Victorian revival of black and white Jacobean architecture. It might have been windy and cold when I spent the day there, but I could imagine that during summer, this area would be stunning to visit. I was certainly glad that I decided to come back to Chester and gave this city a proper visit.
Photographer: Rom Sangkavatana
WHAT I WORE:
Cape: Shop Belstaff Tidemaster Cape
Top: Lemaire for Uniqlo
Skirt: Lemaire for Uniqlo
Ankle Boots: Topshop
MUA: Veronica Enna