The Global History in One City collection aims to demonstrate Chester’s significance on a global scale by highlighting the city’s key historical events.
The collection was created, in part, to challenge the idea of Chester as a small and inconsequential city, instead promoting a thriving historical and cultural location.
Created by The University of Chester, the films feature lecturers from the university’s History and Archaeology Department. The ongoing collection focuses on key eras for the city including the Viking Age of Chester and WW1.
The Great Siege of Chester
The Great Siege of Chester is the most recent film of the university’s collection.
The short film depicts a major, and often overlooked, period of Chester’s history, which discusses the siege of Chester that took place during The English Civil War. The war was fought between parliamentarians, who opposed the rule of Charles I, and the royalists who supported his reign. Despite being initially neutral, Chester and West Cheshire took a royalist position in the Civil War, making them vulnerable to parliamentarian threats.
Dr Sam Chadwick is a visiting lecturer from the university’s Department of History and Archaeology. In the latest video, he explores the events of the siege. He explains that, while Chester had strong medieval defences, it was anticipated that the city would fall when faced with newer, modern warfare techniques:
“The last four months of this siege were particularly intense. Chester stood alone, relying on its outdated and hastily repaired medieval defences. Despite the supposed superiority of cutting edge ‘revolutionary’ gunpowder weaponry.” – Dr Chadwick
Ultimately, Chester was forced to surrender in February of 1646 due to fears of starvation. It is noted that this was the reason for Chester’s defeat rather than the ‘superior’ military technology, demonstrating Chester as a resilient and strong standing city.
Dr Chadwick said: “Chester survived The English Civil War pretty much intact. It got bombarded and there was the plague and stuff like that, but it didn’t fold over.”
Evidence of The Great Siege can still be seen today, with cannonball marks being found across Barnaby’s Tower.
The Wider Collection
In total, The Global History in One City collection contains six short films, with more expected to be released.
The idea for the collection came about during the Covid 19 lockdown, in which members of the university’s History and Archaeology Department began relating their own research to the roots of Chester. The aim of this is to present a global narrative embedded within Chester’s local history.
“We’re all creating history and we’re all a part of history,” Dr Chadwick said, “We should try and broaden it out a bit and make it a topic that people can discuss.”
The University describes the department as a “mix of global specialisms”. In the collection, the next expected film will focus on the era of witch hunting in Cheshire. The department has already released films on a wide range of topics including the Cold War, the Fall of Rome and the end of the last Ice Age.
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