Chester (/ˈtʃɛtər/CHESS-tər), is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 120,622 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the 2001 Census. Chester was granted city status in 1541.
Chester was founded as a "castrum" or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix in the year 79 by the Roman Legio II Adiutrix during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian. Chester's four main roads, Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridge, follow routes laid out at this time – almost 2,000 years ago. One of the three main Roman army bases, Deva later became a major settlement in the Roman province of Britannia. After the Romans left in the 5th century, the Saxons fortified the town against the Danes and gave Chester its name.
Chester was one of the last towns in England to fall to the Normans in the Norman conquest of England. William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle, to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border. In 1071 he made Hugh d'Avranches the first Earl of Chester.
Chester has a number of medieval buildings, but some of the black-and-white buildings within the city centre are actually Victorian restorations. Chester is one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain. Apart from a 100-metre (330 ft) section, the listed Grade I walls are almost complete.
The Industrial Revolution brought railways, canals, and new roads to the city, which saw substantial expansion and development – Chester Town Hall and the Grosvenor Museum are examples of Victorian architecture from this period.