All walls


I’ve always noticed that Chichester is a city of wonderful walls:  garden walls, house walls, cathedral and church walls, institutional walls, and of course the extraordinarily complete Roman city wall.  Today I walked the whole circuit of the Roman wall, some of it twice (inside and outside). It was raining in an undemonstrative way that kept most people in the shops.  The wall still gives a sheltered feel to the gardens and quiet streets inside it.  The raised inner walkway allows you to look oddly down into the gardens outside the rampart, and places the crowns of mature trees at eye level, as the wall slides imperturbably past mediaeval, early modern and bang-up-to-date buildings.  Occasionally I diverged from ancient civil engineering to prelatical premises and provincial domestic.   Some fogginess on the photos can convey the rain.


10 responses »

  1. Ah! My home town, and a lovely walk to boot (as it were). If you go again you might enjoy adding the Tree Trail, and searching out Thomas Paine’s, William Blakes’, and John Keats’ associations. But then maybe you live round here and know all this anyway?

    • Of course, I remember seeing something on your blog about the area. No, I’m not really local, just pass through occasionally, but this was a proper day out with time to look. I don’t know about the Tree Trail – what’s that about? I found a blue plaque for Eric Gill by chance, but not the others – ensnared by walls as I was, the famous chaps will have to wait for another day!

      • TP and JK have a plaque; I don’t know of one for WB. You can download a Tree Trail brochure from the Council’s website. Many of the trees are in the Bishop’s Palace Garden, and I liked your point about democratic access.
        If you are passing through on either of the first two weekends in May, feel free to come to visit us on the Emsworth Arts Trail. As well as my pots, my wife is showing her knitting and weaving. I hesitate to publish full details here, but a little detective work will easily find us.

  2. Old walls are great, and largely overlooked as they are just functional and often so hard to date. I thin Bristol s unique in having rebuilt them wiht the expansion of the city, so there are 3 sets – the original, now lost beneath the bombed park, then the medieaval, then the expanded bits towards the marsh. there’s a rampart with arrow slits in an almshouse that few people notice. So don’t tell anyone.

    • I know what you mean about dating. At least bricks are characteristic of a period, but a wall could have been built from recycled material (certainly looked as if some of these were). And I can’t imagine how you would tell if a flint had been recycled from a Roman to a later wall, unless some Roman mortar was still stuck to it. Definitely a job for experts.

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