Chester, an ancient episcopal city, municipal, parliamentary, and county borough, and river-port, the capital of Cheshire, on the right bank of the Dee, 22 miles from the mouth of its estuary, 16 miles SE. of Liverpool, and 179 miles NNW. of London. One of the most picturesque towns in England, it stands on a rocky .sandstone height, and is still surrounded by the entire circuit of its ancient walls, nearly 2 miles round, 7 or 8 feet thick, and forming a promenade with parapets. The castle, with the exception of ' Caesar's Tower,' has been removed, its site being occupied by barracks and county buildings. The Dee is crossed by two bridges, the old picturesque bridge of seven arches, and the new or Grosvenor Bridge (1832), with a noble single arch of stone 200 feet in length. The two main streets cross each other at right angles, and were cut out of the rock by the Romans 4 to 10 feet below the level of the houses. These streets exhibit the curious arrangement called the ' rows:' the front parts of their second stories, as far back as 16 feet, form a continuous paved promenade or covered gallery, open in front, where there are pillars and steps up from the street below, with private houses above, inferior shops and warehouses below, and the chief shops of the town within. There are a considerable number of the picturesque old timber houses of the 16th century, and many of the more modern buildings are in the same style. The Cathedral is an irregular massive structure of crumbling sandstone, 375 by 200 feet, with a massive tower of 127 feet. Formerly the church of the rich abbey of St Werburgh, it became in 1541. a cathedral church. It is of various dates from Norman to Late Perpendicular, its most striking feature being the fine Perpendicular window of the west front. Chester has manufactures of lead, oil, and chemicals, iron-foundries, and an iron-shipbuilding yard. The making of boots and shoes is an important industry. Since 1885 Chester returns only one member. Pop. (1851) 27,756; (1901) 38,309.
Chester was the Deva or Devana Castra of the Romans, and the British Caerleon: Chester representing the Anglo-Saxon Ceaster, from the Roman Castra. In 605 it was laid utterly waste by Ethel-frith of Northumbria; and rebuilt in 908, it was the last place in England that held out against William the Conqueror. Llewelyn ravaged it in 1255; and after a long and memorable siege (1643-46), the royalist inhabitants were starved into surrender. A projected Fenian attack on the castle in 1867 proved abortive.
Chester, a city of Pennsylvania, on the Delaware, 15 miles SW. of Philadelphia, with a military academy, large shipbuilding yards, and manufactures of cotton and woollen goods, engines, etc. Swedes founded it as Upland in 1643 - the oldest town in the state. Pop. (1860) 4631; (1900) 33,988. There is a Historical Sketch of the city by Ashmead (1883).