it was the winter-quarters of Agricola, and later became illustrious as the permanent headquarters of Legio XX. Valeria Victrix. Many inscriptions and remains of the Roman military occupation have been found, and the north and east walls stand in great part on Roman foundations. The Saxon form of the name was Leganceaster. About 614 the city was captured and destroyed by Æthelfrith, and henceforth lay in ruins until Æthelflæd in 907 rebuilt the walls, restored the monastery of St Werburgh, and made the city “nigh two such as it was before.” In the reign of Æthelstan a mint was set up at Chester, and in 973 it was the scene of Edgar’s truimph when, it is said, he was rowed on the Dee by six subject kings. Chester opposed a determined resistance to the Conqueror, and did not finally surrender until 1070. On the erection of Cheshire to a county palatine after the Conquest, Chester became the seat of government of the palatine earls. The Domesday account of the city includes a description of the Saxon laws under which it had been governed in the time of Edward the Confessor. All the land, except the bishop’s borough, was held of the earl, and assessed at fifty hides. There were seven mint-masters and twelve magistrates, and the city paid a fee-farm rent of £45. It had been much devastated since the time of Edward the Confessor, and the number of houses reduced by 205.
The earliest extant charter, granted by Henry II. in 1160, empowered the burgesses to trade with Durham as freely as they had done in the reign of Henry I. From this date a large collection of charters enumerates privileges granted by successive earls and later sovereigns. One from Ralph or Ranulf de Blundevill, granted between 1190 and 1211, confirms to the citizens a gild merchant and all liberties and free customs, and three from John protect their privilege of trading with Ireland. Edward I. empowered the citizens to elect coroners and to hold courts of justice, and granted them the fee-farm of the city at a yearly rent of £100. In the 14th century Chester began to lose its standing as a port through the gradual silting up of the estuary of the Dee, and the city was further impoverished by the inroads of the Welsh and by the necessity of rebuilding the Dee bridge, which had been swept away by an unusually high tide. In consideration of these misfortunes Richard II. remitted part of the fee-farm. Continued misfortunes led to a further reduction of the farm to £50 for a term of fifty years by Henry VI., who also made a grant for the completion of a new Dee bridge. Henry VII. reduced the fee-farm to £20, and in 1506 granted to the citizens what is known as “the Great Charter.” This charter constituted the city a county by itself, and incorporated the governing body under the style of a mayor, twenty-four aldermen and forty common councilmen; it also instituted two sheriffs, two coroners and a recorder, and the mayor, the ex-mayors and the recorder were appointed justices of the peace. This charter was confirmed by James I. and Charles II. A charter of George III. in 1804 instituted the office of deputy-mayor. The charter of Hugh Lupus to the abbey of St Werburgh includes a grant of the tolls of the fair at the feast of St Werburgh for three days, and a subsequent charter from Ranulf de Blundevill (12th century) licensed the abbot and monks to hold their fairs and markets before the abbey gates. A charter of John the Scot, earl of Chester, mentions fairs at the feasts of the Nativity of St John Baptist and St Michael. For many centuries the rights claimed by the abbot in connexion with the fairs gave rise to constant friction with the civic authorities, which lasted until, in the reign of Henry VIII., it was decreed that the right of holding fairs was vested exclusively in the citizens. Charles II. in 1685 granted a cattle-fair to be held on the first Thursday in February.
In 1553 Chester first returned two members to parliament, having hitherto been represented solely in the parliament of the palatinate. By the Redistribution Act of 1885 the representation was reduced to one member. The trades of tanners, skinners and glove-makers existed at the time of the Conquest, and the importation of marten skins is mentioned in Domesday. In the 14th century the woollen trade was considerable, and in 1674 weavers and wool-combers were introduced into Chester from Norwich. The restoration of the channel of the Dee opened up a flourishing trade in Irish linen, which in 1786 was at its height, but from that date gradually diminished.
See Victoria County History, Cheshire; R. H. Morris, Chester in the Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns (Chester, 1894); Joseph Hemingway, History of the City of Chester (2 vols., Chester, 1831).
CHESTER, a city of Delaware county, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on the Delaware river, about 13 m. S.W. of Philadelphia. Pop. (1800) 20,226; (1900) 33,988, of whom 5074 were foreign-born and 4403 were negroes; (U. S. census, 1910) 38,537. It is served by the Baltimore & Ohio and the Philadelphia & Reading railways, by the Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington division of the Pennsylvania system, and by steamboat lines. Chester has several interesting buildings dating from early in the 18th century—among them the city hall (1724), one of the oldest public buildings in the United States, and the house (1683) occupied for a time by William Penn. It is the seat of the Pennsylvania Military College (1862); and on the border of Chester, in the borough of Upland (pop. in 1900, 2131), is the Crozer Theological Seminary (Baptist), which was incorporated in 1867, opened in 1868, and named after John P. Crozer (1793–1866), by whose family it was founded. Chester has a large shipbuilding industry, and manufactories of cotton and worsted goods, iron and steel, the steel-casting industry being especially important, and large quantities of wrought iron and steel pipes being manufactured. Dye-stuffs and leather also are manufactured. The value of the city’s factory products in 1905 was $16,644,842. Chester is the oldest town in Pennsylvania. It was settled by the Swedes about 1645, was called Upland and was the seat of the Swedish courts until 1682, when William Penn, soon after his landing at a spot in the town now marked by a memorial stone, gave it its present name. The first provincial assembly was convened here in December of the same year. After the battle of Brandywine in the War of Independence, Washington retreated to Chester, and in the “Washington House,” still standing, wrote his account of the battle. Soon afterwards Chester was occupied by the British. In 1701 it was incorporated as a borough; in 1795 and again in 1850 it received a new borough charter; and in 1866 it was chartered as a city. For a long time it was chiefly a small fishing settlement, its population as late as 1820 being only 657; but after the introduction of large manufacturing interests in 1850, when its population was only 1667, its growth was rapid.
See H. G. Ashmead, Historical Sketch of Chester (Chester, 1883).
CHESTERFIELD, PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, 4th Earl of (1694–1773), son of Philip Stanhope, third earl (1673–1726), and Elizabeth Savile, daughter of George Savile, marquess of Halifax, was born in London on the 22nd of September 1694; Philip, the first earl (1584–1656), son of Sir John Stanhope of Shelford, was a royalist who in 1616 was created Baron Stanhope of Shelford, and in 1628 earl of Chesterfield; and his grandson the 2nd earl (1633–1714) was grandfather of the 4th earl. Deprived at an early age of his mother, the care of the boy devolved upon his grandmother, the marchioness of Halifax, a lady of culture and connexion, whose house was frequented by the most distinguished Whigs of the epoch. He soon began to prove himself possessed of that systematic spirit of conduct and effort which appeared so much in his life and character. His education, begun under a private tutor, was continued (1712) at Trinity Hall, Cambridge; here he remained little more than a year and seems to have read hard, and to have acquired a considerable knowledge of ancient and modern languages. The great orators of all times were a special object of study with him, and he describes his boyish pedantry pleasantly enough, but by no means without a touch of self-satisfaction in the memory. His university training was supplemented (1714) by a continental tour, untrammelled by a governor; at the Hague his ambition for the applause awarded to adventure made a gamester of him, and at Paris he began, from the same motive, that worship of the conventional Venus, the serious inculcation of which has earned for him the largest and most unenviable part of his reputation.