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In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia founded the Minster Church of West Mercia on what is considered to be an early Christian site: it is known as the Minster of St John the Baptist, Chester (now St John's Church) which later became the first cathedral.Much later, the body of Æthelred's niece, St Werburgh, was removed from Hanbury in Staffordshire in the 9th century and, to save it from desecration by Danish marauders, was reburied in the Church of SS Peter & Paul - later to become the Abbey Church (the present cathedral).William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle, to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border.Chester is one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain.It has a number of medieval buildings, but some of the black-and-white buildings within the city centre are Victorian restorations.The Industrial Revolution brought railways, canals, and new roads to the city, which saw substantial expansion and development – Chester Town Hall and the Grosvenor Museum are examples of Victorian architecture from this period.After the Roman troops withdrew, the Romano-British established a number of petty kingdoms. Deverdoeu was a Welsh name for Chester as late as the 12th century (cf Dyfrdwy, Welsh for the river Dee).
From the 14th century to the 18th century the city's prominent position in North West England meant that it was commonly also known as Westchester.
(The town's importance is noted by its taking the simpler form in each case, while Isca Augusta in Monmouthshire, another important legionary base, was known first as Caerleon on the Usk, and now as Caerleon).
King Arthur is said to have fought his ninth battle at the "city of the legions" (Caerlleon) and later St Augustine came to the city to try to unite the church, and held his synod with the Welsh Bishops.
A considerable amount of land in Chester is owned by the Duke of Westminster who owns an estate, Eaton Hall, near the village of Eccleston. Grosvenor is the Duke's family name, which explains such features in the city as the Grosvenor Bridge, the Grosvenor Hotel, and Grosvenor Park.
Much of Chester's architecture dates from the Victorian era, many of the buildings being modeled on the Jacobean half-timbered style and designed by John Douglas, who was employed by the Duke as his principal architect.