“King Charles” returned to Chester last week, 400 years after legend states that he watched his army defeated at the Battle of Rowton Moor, from the tower on the walls later named after him. In reality ,the creation of DJ and history fan, Daniel Williams, the re-enacted King enjoyed a tour of the city’s many points of Civil War interest curated by Chester author Claire Dudman.
After descending from the heights of the Cathedral Tower, Charles/Daniel explained how his passion for the life of the King came about.
“I noticed a few people in Chester talking about King Charles and saying why is King Charles not talked about enough in Chester ? He should be being talked about, something needs to be done. ” He said that a revival in interest in the King and new perspectives on him came in conjunction with the idea of re-enactment.
“I came to Chester one day as myself. I started to take some videos and Claire spotted them, a connection was made with someone from Chester with the same passion. That was that.” This link via twitter led to the idea of the visit, alongside highlighting the importance of Chester during the Civil War, with the city mainly obsessed with its Roman heritage.
” I’m doing this because I love it and I want the King’s history to be more out there. By talking about the King’s history more you are bringing everybody in that was associated with the King in terms of heritage, characters around the King like Prince Rupert. It all helps with the big picture. Its an alternative to EastEnders I think!
“For the last 10 years I’ve been DJing and music producing. I wanted to go back to the roots and passion. When you have that fire inside of you, you want to bring it out a bit more . As it turned out it progressed into bringing a Monarch back to life. It draws upon my acting as I used to do performing arts at college as well. I’m drawing on my inner talent , and exploring my love of history and bringing people together!”
Starting the tour with a walk towards the Cross, the King bought another touch of the surreal to Chester, surprising and amusing passers by with a rendition of “Greensleeves”.
The tour headed down Watergate street, one of the city’s most heavily damaged areas during the Siege of Chester 1645-46. With its walls and proximity to the Welsh border the city was of key strategic importance to the Royalist cause, and only succumbed after months of bombardment and eventual starvation.
Next on the tour was Morgan’s Mount on the walls. Constructed during the Siege, the small tower housed a defensive cannon which is commemorated by the sculpture at ground level.
We followed the path of the walls past the water tower and the racecourse and towards the Bridge gate where we paused at Gamul House. Once the family home of the Royalist supporting Gamuls, the building now houses The Brewery Tap. The King stayed in the house on the night of 23-24 September 1645 during the Battle of Rowton Moor.
In the Roman gardens, we noted the site where the walls were breached by the attacking parliamentarian forces, with the repaired stonework clearly visible.
Closing our tour at King Charles’ Tower, where the King is said to have watched the final stages of the decisive battle. The defeat was a major blow to the King with an estimated 600 dead and 900 wounded. The gloomy King subsequently gave the order to City Governor Lord Byron to surrender if no help came within 20 days. With the King fleeing Denbigh the siege was resisted for another 4 months.
The real King was executed at Whitehall in 1649, but our King walked free into the sunset and enjoyed an evening meal in Jack Burritos.
For more details on King Charles’ return see