On Friday I had the pleasure of joining Ed – pictured below in all his Roundhead finery – on the Great Siege of Chester Tour. As promised, Ed painted a “vivid picture of the grim reality of living under siege” with tales of pounding cannons, disastrous defeats and unflinching loyalty.
The tour was a revelation for me. Ed knows his historical onions, and led me on a fact and action packed tour around our walled city. And I walked away with my head buzzing with scenes of heroism, barbarity and sacrifice.
Here are a few highlights of the tour.
a) The Cavaliers where, in fact, quite sensible chaps who opted for the lobster-tailed pot helmet – that we associate with the noble Roundheads – when engaged in mortal combat. Their plumed wide-brimmed hats were just for show, a bit like those *trendy* Trilbys people wear today.
b) The 80s alternative rock band New Model Army were not involved in the English Civil War. The original New Model Army were professional, full-time, Parliamentary troops who were ready to serve in any region of the country. Years of confusion ended there by Ed.
c) You can still see the outline of the old Blue Ball Inn on Northgate Street. Legend has it that a young woman working at the pub waved off her Cavalier with the promise not to eat until his victorious return. She sat at the window and slowly starved to death.
d) You can still see the original undercroft – dating back to the 14th century – at the back of Viyella,12 Bridge Street. The undercroft would have been a shop or warehouse, with the Rows as we know them running above. Living history, and well worth checking out.
Book your place now and you’ll never see Chester in the same again. The tours are available all year round, twice a day. Enjoy