The stars of the stunt!

Sister Mary Benita and Abbott Robert of Hastings

Land at the rear of Chester Cathedral was used to cultivate and grow kale. The monks who oversaw this eventually started closing the gate at night, because people were stealing the kale from the yard!

It is believed that underneath the various friaries and nunneries in Chester, there was a series of underground tunnels that linked them all together. The tunnels were built so that the ‘chaste’ monks and nuns could travel between their places of worship and ‘meet in secret’ (hint hint)!

Sir Marmaduke Langdale
(1598 – 1661)

Sir Marmaduke Langdale served as High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1639 and joined King Charles and the royalists in the English Civil War. Langdale led his troops to attempt to relieve Chester, which was under siege by the Parliamentarians. Langdale and his 3,000 men took part in the battle of Rowton Heath on 24 September 1645.

After many days of fighting, Marmaduke’s troops were eventually outmanoeuvred and defeated. King Charles (who had been watching all this from the Phoenix Tower, soon to be renamed the King Charles Tower) fled from Chester into Wales. He was eventually captured and brought to London to be executed.

Aethelflaed – Queen of Mercia

Aethelflaed was the only queen of Mercia, of which Chester was a part during the Anglo-Saxon period. She was lauded for fighting off both the Danes and Vikings. A Viking warlord called Ingamund decided that he wanted to take Chester from Aethelflaed and her people, either peacefully or by force.

The first time the Vikings came, Aethelflaed opened the gates for them, as if welcoming them in, only to close the gates behind them and kill those trapped in the city. The Vikings were not deterred however, and they attacked continuously. Aethelflaed did not panic and directed her people in what to do, first throwing rocks and bricks at the Vikings, then throwing boiling hot ale and live beehives down onto the unsuspecting Norsemen. The Vikings retreated and never returned to Chester.

Ingamund – The Viking

Æthelflæd was the only queen of Mercia, of which Chester was a part during the Anglo-Saxon period. She was lauded for fighting off both the Danes and Vikings. The Viking warlord Ingamund (featured above) decided he wanted to take Chester from Æthelflæd and her people, either peacefully or by brute force. The Vikings arrived, and Æthelflæd opened the gates for them, as if welcoming them in.

Once inside the walls of the city, she quickly closed the gates behind them and killed those trapped in the city. The Vikings were not deterred, and attacked continuously and with great force. Aethelflaed did not panic and directed her people in what to do, first hurling rocks and bricks at the Vikings, and then throwing boiling hot ale and live beehives down onto the unsuspecting Norsemen. The Vikings eventually retreated to the Wirral, and never returned to Chester!

Samuel Burrows, Rat Catcher of Northgate
(1772 – 1835)

Samuel Burrows had lots of different jobs in Chester over the years; he was a butcher, surgeon’s assistant, deputy sheriff, hangman and a rat catcher!

As a hangman, he claimed to have executed fifty-three felons in his time. He was also incredibly unpopular, even for an executioner! Known for being a callous and cruel man, he often altered the knots in his ropes so those that were hanged had a slow and agonising death. He was also a notorious drunk. Once he was was locked inside a cell by his colleagues, to ensure that he wouldn’t be drunk next day when he was due to hang people. He died in 1835 of a ‘liver complaint’.

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