Chester Castle reopens after seven years

image copyrightD.Sejrup
image captionChester Castle was the military headquarters during England's medieval conquest of Wales

A castle founded by William the Conqueror has opened to the public after it was shut in 2010 amid concerns over safety and anti-social behaviour.

Built in 1070, Chester Castle was the base for the English conquest of Wales.

The city's MP Chris Matheson said reopening the attraction had been "quite problematic" as the site was owned by various organisations.

He said he had to "bang heads together" but "getting access to some very old parts of the city will be fantastic".

image copyrightD.Sejrup
image captionThe castle was founded by the River Dee as William I expanded his rule over England
image copyrightD.Sejrup
image captionThis staircase allowed soldiers to leave the castle securely

Founded during the Roman military occupation, the historic city draws about eight million visitors annually, a spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council said.

The castle, which is in the south-west part of the walled city, will be free to get into until 3 September.

The local authority is looking into whether a museum and art gallery could be located at the site in the future.

Council cabinet member Louise Gittins said: "For that to happen it's a long-term view and there are a lot of barriers to overcome.

"We want to encourage and inspire people to connect with local heritage and to use the fabric of the city as a backdrop for interesting and engaging activities and events."

Chester Castle

image copyrightD.Sejrup
image captionThe Agricola Tower was the original gateway to the castle
  • Founded by William the Conqueror in 1070 as he extended his control over England
  • Became the administrative centre of the earldom of Chester
  • During the reigns of Henry III and Edward I, the castle served as the English military headquarters for the conquest of Wales
  • It was used as the headquarters of the Royalist governor Lord John Byron in the English Civil War (1642-6)
  • The complex adjoining the castle hosts Chester Crown Court and a regimental museum

Source: English Heritage

image copyrightD.Sejrup
image captionThe castle was used as one of the Royalists' headquarters during the English Civil War

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