Year 8 History Students and a Tale of Two Castles… thumbnail image Year 8 History Students and a Tale of Two Castles… Published on 14th March 2024

Almost 400 years ago Chester and its surrounds were embroiled in a bloody civil war that split families and claimed close to 10% of the population.


It’s only fitting therefore that Abbey Gate Year 8 historians focus on this as their GCSE style historic environment task.


4 small groups each investigated the stories of Beeston castle and the siege of Chester – focusing in particular on the difficulties of attacking both sites as well as the deprivations suffered by the defenders. Highlights included a view from the roof of the medieval Agricola Tower – and Abbey Gate is the first student group to been allowed this privilege in living memory. The tower also houses St Mary’s chapel where Charles 1 will have prayed and where the remnants of some fantastic medieval murals are being carefully restored.


Meanwhile, at Beeston, the story of Royalist officer Thomas Sanford, who managed to take the seemingly impregnable fortress with just 8 men never ceases to inspire. His adversary – the less than committed former cheese trader Thomas Steele must have struck a deal!


It was certainly an ambitious trip tackling 2 castles and a set of city walls in one day, but Year 8 rose to the opportunity and were a credit to themselves, their college and the wider Cheshire community.