Classical Civilisation Students Journey Through Time Immersing Themselves in Chester’s Heritage

On Wednesday 29th November, students studying Classical Civilisation at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College embarked on an immersive exploration of Roman and Medieval Chester, investigating and experiencing the rich history and culture this ancient city offers.  

Chester, a city in Northwest England, is known for its well-preserved Roman walls and stunning architecture such as Chester Cathedral and the Rows. Through the ages, Chester has evolved into a captivating blend of ancient and modern, inviting visitors to wander its cobbled streets and explore layers of history at every turn. 

The student’s day began at St John’s Church, Europe’s oldest church still in use. Students listened to a captivating talk on the church’s history and encountered peculiar Cupid statues cradling skulls (serving as a grim reminder of mortality.)  

The journey continued to the remains of the amphitheatre, where the students stepped back in time to an era of gladiatorial combat, public executions, and wild beast hunts. This place of recreation was outside the city walls, and such complexes were popular compared with dramatic theatres in the northern provinces like Britain. The most favoured events were cock fighting and bullbaiting.  

A walk through the Roman gardens revealed the innovative hypocaust central heating system introduced by the Romans, a technological marvel not revisited until the 20th century.  

Trekking the ancient city walls, rumoured to be haunted by a legionary soldier’s spirit, brought the group to the vibrant city centre adorned with festive decorations. After a well-deserved lunch break and a visit to the Christmas market, the day concluded at the Grosvenor House Museum, which houses archaeological wonders and offers insights into Chester’s Roman period which served as a fitting end to an enjoyable day out.  

Teacher of Classical Civilisation at the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College shared her thoughts on the experience, stating,

“Our annual visit to Chester is a wonderful way for our students to experience, close-up, the Roman and Medieval life of the city. Many have not been to the area before (beyond Chester Zoo) and are pleasantly surprised that there are so many archaeological treasures to be found.” 

 First-year student Lilah Catempohan, studying GCSE Classical Civilisation said,

“It felt like time travelling and that I was in the Roman era. In the amphitheatre, you could see the screaming crowd when you closed your eyes, and you could hear the swords as people fought for their lives.”  

First Year Student Light of God Adegorusi, studying A Level Classical Civilisation commented,

“It was a really good sight to be able to see the format in which Roman buildings were built in reality. It was a fantastic opportunity to bond outside the classroom and experience Roman culture and learn in a different environment. It was a great experience in the museum, and the feeling of being welcomed by the amazing statue of a Roman soldier.” 

Interested in studying the classical era and exploring its lasting impact on the modern world?