Talking West Cheshire

History facts about Chester

The Curfew On The Welsh

The story about the Welsh being excluded from Chester after dark originated during the Glyndwr rebellion of 1403. Henry, Prince of Wales (future Henry V) was also Earl of Chester and on 4 Sept 1403 he ordered that all Welsh people and Welsh sympathisers should be expelled from the City; none should enter the city before sunrise or stay after sunset on pain of decapitation (not hanging, but it would have the same effect!). There are records of people standing surety for the good behaviour of Welshmen arrested under the order. The text books don't refer to anyone ever paying the maximum penalty for this 'crime'. Concern over 'the Welsh threat' continued into the 15th century and Chester was seen very much as a border town. There is no record that Henry V's order was ever repealed.

The Tradition of "Beating The Bounds"

This curious ceremony of "beating" the Chester bounds has a tradition stretching as far back as 1540.

The Mayor Henry Gee, was the first to enact the ceremony in Chester in 1540, and there have only been 23 other occasions since, when this has been done. The ceremony itself as once commonly celebrated throughout Europe, and involved the mayor and a band of citizens beating the boundaries of the city.

Its purpose was to invoke God's blessing on the crops, but also to make the citizens familiar with the extent of their land, a crucial exercise in days when maps were virtually non-existent.

On 7 October 1972 Mayor Ribbeck enacted the ceremony for the first time since Mayor Dutton had in 1913 (he himself had revived it after 40 years).

The 20thC. boundary extensions, new housing estates, road widening projects and so on, make the re-enacting difficult to do today.

RAF Sealand

RAF Sealand originated as a small Aerodrome and flying school run by a young engineer called Thomas Murray Dutton. In 1917 the Aerodrome was taken over by the Royal Flying Corps. The first units based there were 90, 95 and 96 squadrons.

Between the two World Wars RAF Sealand's main role was the training of pilots and the No. 5 flying training squadron was based there between 1930-1936.

The No. 30 maintenance unit was formed at Sealand on 28 July 1939. It remained there until 1951 when the station was handed over to the American Air Force.

In 1957 the Americans handed the station back to the RAF and the No. 30 maintenance unit was reformed in 1959.

The Sheriffs and Lord Mayors Of Chester