A couple of weekends ago we were back in the Water Tower on the Chester city walls, as it was one of the many historic places that welcomed visitors for Heritage Open Days. We've done this event for eight years now and it always brings out a great number of people who are walking the walls and keen to have a peep inside.
We set up displays exploring pilgrimage in medieval Chester and also music as the tower's rib vaulting gives a great acoustic.
The tower was built in 1322, at the grand cost of £100, to guard the port of Chester. At this time, the port was the most important in the North West of England with spices, wine, stone and cloth being imported and hides, wool and salt heading out. It was also the main route to Ireland. As the River Dee had been silting up and changing course away from the city walls, an extra spur wall had to be built and a new tower in the river itself. This could then be used defensively and to check the amount of goods coming in so the appropriate tolls and taxes could be levied. Within another 150 years the river had shifted its course again and the tower was left high and dry. As it is difficult today to imagine the scene of a bustling port in its 14th century heyday, we asked Vanessa Ryall to produce a medieval style painted hanging to depict it. She did this wonderfully as you can see, not just capturing the style of the period, but also getting in all of the city buildings in correct detail and location. Some people are just too talented...
Dark Tales at the Tower". Come along if you enjoy creepy, unsettling folk tales!