On Chester On: A History of Chester College and the University of Chester

By Prof Emeritus Graeme J White. Pbk. xiv + 353 pages. Chester: University of Chester Press 2014. ISBN 9781908258199. £14.99.

Although there has only been a University of Chester since 2005, its predecessor, Chester College, dates back further than most UK universities, having been founded in 1839. This books celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2014. Its story is a remarkable one of survival and success. The early college was a pioneering venture and it still houses the first buildings in England specifically designed for the training of teachers. However, it came near to closure three times, only to emerge intact and stronger than before.

This fascinating book tells the little known story of one of Chester’s major institutions. For information on how to order see http://www.chester.ac.uk/node/25540. 

Landscape History, September 2011

Edited by S M Varey and G J White. Pbk. xvii + 272 pages. University of Chester Press 2012. ISBN 9781908256007.  £12.99

This collection of research papers offers new insights  into residential buildings, settlement patterns, the names and boundaries of fields and the legacy of developments in transport and industrialisation.

See the University of Chester website for more information.

Tradition and Transformation in Anglo-Saxon England: Archaeology, Common Rights and Landscape

By Susan Oosthuizen. London: Bloomsbury 2013. ISBN 9781472507273. £45.00.

Current explanations for the origins of Anglo-Saxon England are generally based on the premise that older forms of social organisation did not survive on any scale into the post-Roman period. Common pastures are thought to have originated during the 5th and 6th centuries, and open fields are believed to have first appeared around the mid-9th century.

The argument presented here suggests a new paradigm. It proposes that some elements of the old Romano-British ? perhaps even prehistoric ? forms of collective social organisation persisted into post-Roman centuries, and goes on to argue that the impact of dynamic interaction between middle Anglo-Saxon lordly innovation and traditional social relations persisted not only in the medieval landscape but also in  English culture more generally. 

Preservation and Progress: the Story of Chester Since 1960

By Peter de Figuereido & Cyril Morris, edited by Stephen Langtree. Chester Civic Trust 2012

Available at the special price of £15 when purchased from the Chester Civic Trust Office, Bishop Lloyds Palace, 51/53 Watergate Row, Chester (open Monday to Thursday from 12.00 to 14.00); also available by post (extra charge) from the Treasurer, Martin Meredith.

Interesting and nostalgic for long-term residents of the city, informative for newcomers.

Preservation and Progress: the Story of Chester Since 1960


Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture X: The Western Midlands

By Richard Bryant. 620 pages. Oxford University Press/British Academy 2012. ISBN 978 0 19 726515 4.

Gorse Stacks – 2000 Years of Quarrying and Waste Disposal in Chester

By Richard Cuttler, Sam Hepburn, Chris Hewitson and Kristina Krawiec.  iii+197 pages. Oxford: Archaeopress. (BAR Brit Ser 563)  2012. ISBN 9781407310015. ISBN 978140731001538.00.
The site of Delamere Street lies just outside the north gate of  Roman and medieval Chester and in recent years has been subject to intensive investigation as part of the Gorse Stacks development. This publication represents the culmination of the investigations carried out by Birmingham Archaeology during 2006 and 2008.
The excavation produced evidence for another probable Roman legionary, G(aius)
V[al(erius] | Pud[ens] | Maceia (tribu), who inscribed his name on the base of  an orange ware jar (from Holt?) before it was fired in the late first or early second century. delamerestreet_r_graffito_g4_web

The nomen Valerius is frequent in Italy and southern Gaul and is typical of legionaries in the early empire, including Roman Inscriptions of Britain 1,  478?80, 539, 541 and 542 from Chester. The cognomen Pudens is also common, again including L(ucius) Valerius Pud[ens] from Chester (RIB 1, 542).  (After R Tomlin, pages 65?6).

Roman Nantwich: a Salt-Making Settlement. Excavations at Kingsley Fields 2002

By Peter Arrowsmith and David Power.  iii+197 pages. Oxford: Archaeopress. (BAR Brit Ser 557)  2012. ISBN 9781407309590. £35.00.
In 2002 the fullest evidence so far recovered for the Roman settlement at Nantwich was revealed by an excavation carried out at Kingsley Fields, on the west side of the town, ahead of a housing development. This uncovered a previously unknown Roman road, linking the settlement at Nantwich to the main road network, and, positioned along this, evidence for the collection and storage of brine and the production of salt, together with buildings, enclosures, a well and a small number of cremation burials. Waterlogged conditions meant that organic remains, including structural timbers, were well preserved on the site. These included the two finest examples of timber-built brine tanks excavated from Roman Britain. This volume presents the wide-ranging finds of these investigations.  

Excavations at Chester, The Western and Other Investigations

By Simon W Ward and others. xvi+446 pages. Oxford: Archaeopress. (BAR Brit Ser 553) 2012. ISBN 9781407309316. £55.00.
This is the first detailed, wide-ranging report to be published on excavations in the extramural settlement of the Roman legionary fortress at Chester, specifically those around the western side of the fortress. This publication concentrates on ten interventions carried out over twenty-five years in the area to the west and south of the fortress and attempts to summarise in more detail than has been done hitherto discoveries elsewhere around its perimeter. Discussions attempt to characterise the townscape, its development and population, and also to explore the role of the Chester extramural settlement generally.
To order, go to the Archaeopress website: http://www.archaeopress.com/ArchaeopressShop/Public/

Towards a Better Understanding: New Research on Old Mines

(Welsh Mines and Mining 2), ed D J Linton. Pbk. 150pp. Welsh Mines Society 2012. ISBN 9780956137715. £10.00.
This volume contains two papers by our Secretary, Alan Williams. The first, ‘ Hidden bullion: silver production in north-east Wales’ reviews the history and profitability of silver extraction from the lead ore mined in north-east Wales from Roman times to the earlier 19th century. The second,  ‘Rediscovering the lead and zinc production of north-east Wales’, written jointly with C J Williams, focusses on production in the 17th and 18th centuries. You can preview both papers and download an order form for the volume here.

Download an order form here.

Mapping the Medieval City: Space, Place and Identity in Chester c 1200 – 1600

By Catherine Clarke. University of Wales Press 2011.

This ground-breaking volume brings together contributions from scholars across a range of disciplines (including literary studies, history, geography and archaeology) to investigate questions of space, place and identity in the medieval city. Using Chester as a case study ? with attention to its location on the border between England and Wales, its rich multilingual culture and surviving material fabric? the essays seek to recover the experience and understanding of the urban space by individuals and groups within the medieval city, and to offer new readings from the vantage point of twenty-first century disciplinary and theoretical perspectives.

Normal price £48; exclusive 20% discount for members (£38.40, plus £ p&p).  Download an order form here.
For more on this project,  see   www.medievalchester.ac.uk.