Chester

/ches"teuhr/, n.
1. a city in Cheshire, in NW England: only English city with the Roman walls still intact. 117,200.
2. a city in SE Pennsylvania. 45,794.
3. Cheshire (def. 3).
4. former name of Cheshire (def. 1).
5. a male given name: from a Latin word meaning "camp."

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I
ancient Deva or Devana Castra

City and administrative district (pop., 2001: 118,207), seat of Cheshire county, England.

Located on the River Dee south of Liverpool, it is an active port and railroad centre. For several centuries after AD 60, Chester was the Roman "camp on the Dee," headquarters of the 20th Legion; well-preserved Roman walls remain. It was the last place in England to surrender to William the Conqueror (1070). It became an important port in the 13th–14th centuries, trading especially with Ireland. From about the 14th century, it was the scene of the presentation of the mystery plays of the Chester cycle. The gradual silting of the Dee led to the city's decline, but in the 19th century railroad traffic renewed Chester's prosperity.
II
(as used in expressions)
Arthur Chester Alan
Chester Burton Atkins
Bowles Chester Bliss
French Daniel Chester
Gould Chester
Nimitz Chester William
Edward Chester Babcock

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 urban area and city (district), county of Cheshire, England, on a small sandstone ridge at the head of the estuary of the River Dee.

      The town's location was chosen by the Romans (ancient Rome) as headquarters of the 20th Legion. Known as Deva, or Castra Devana, it was an important Roman town but was deserted by the early 5th century. There are a number of Roman remains, including the foundations of the north and east walls. By the 10th century Chester was a flourishing Mercian settlement, trading with northern Wales, Ireland, and the Wirral peninsula, and had its own mint, established in 970. William I (the Conqueror) made it the centre of a palatinate earldom in 1071, virtually independent of royal government, but in 1237 the earldom reverted to the crown. The earliest city charter dates from 1176. Chester was an important port in the 13th and 14th centuries, trading especially with Ireland. The gradual silting of the River Dee led to its decline, and by the 18th century Liverpool had outstripped it.

      In the 19th century the coming of the railways made Chester again a thriving commercial centre, and the many black-and-white buildings dating from this period reflect its prosperity. Chester became a cathedral city in 1541 when the Benedictine abbey of St. Werburgh was dissolved. The cathedral and the buildings grouped around the cloisters are important examples of medieval architecture. The city was (and remains) an administrative as well as a commercial and ecclesiastical centre, for it is the historic county town (seat) of Cheshire. Chester still has its walls intact in their entire circuit of 2 miles (3 km). The street plan of the central area is Roman in origin, with four main streets radiating at right angles. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the town is the Rows, a double tier of shops with the lower ones set back and the upper ones projecting over them.

      The city extends far beyond the Chester urban area to include an expansive rural area adjoining the Welsh border. The countryside is important for dairying and includes a number of small settlements. Malpas has a fine medieval church, and the ruins of Beeston Castle give views over the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh hills. Area city, 173 square miles (448 square km). Pop. (2001) urban area, 80,121; (2004 est.) city, 119,000.

      city, seat (1844) of Randolph county, southwestern Illinois, U.S. It lies on the Mississippi River (there bridged to Missouri) near the mouth of the Marys River, about 60 miles (100 km) southeast of St. Louis (Saint Louis), Missouri. Founded in 1819 by an Ohio land company and named for Chester, England, it developed as a trading centre for an agricultural area yielding wheat, corn (maize), and soybeans. Agriculture is still important, and flour milling and food processing also contribute to the local economy. The Menard Correctional Center (the state's second oldest prison and largest maximum-security prison) was established there in 1878 and is a major factor in the city's economy. Two other state institutions, the Chester Mental Health Center and the Menard Psychiatric Center, are in the city. Evergreen Cemetery contains a memorial to Shadrach Bond, Illinois's first governor. Several historic sites are to the northwest in nearby Kaskaskia. Chester is the birthplace of cartoonist Elzie Segar (Segar, Elzie), who created the well-known comic strip Popeye; a statue there commemorates the character. Turkey Bluffs and Randolph County state fish and wildlife areas are nearby, and Shawnee National Forest is southeast. Inc. 1855. Pop. (1990) 8,194; (2000) 5,185.

      city, Delaware county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S., on the Delaware River (across from Bridgeport, New Jersey), within the Philadelphia metropolitan area. One of the oldest communities in the state, the Chester area was granted by the Swedish crown to a bodyguard of Johan Printz, the governor of New Sweden, in 1644. After 1655 Dutch settlers joined the Swedes in establishing the town of Upland. William Markham, the deputy governor to William Penn (Penn, William), located his seat of government in Upland when he arrived in 1681 to establish the English colony of Pennsylvania. Upon Penn's arrival in 1682 the province's first assembly was convened there. Penn probably renamed the settlement Chester for a Quaker centre in Cheshire, England. From this early period, date the John Morton (c. 1650) and the Caleb Pusey (1683) houses.

      The community stagnated after Penn moved his government to Philadelphia. During the American Revolution, Anthony Wayne (Wayne, Anthony) took charge of and trained his troops there in early 1776, and the Battle of the Brandywine (Brandywine, Battle of the) (September 1777) was fought about 10 miles (16 km) to the west. Chester did not experience substantial growth until after 1850, when it became a southwestern adjunct of a rapidly industrializing Philadelphia. The John Roach Company, founded there in 1872, was one of the nation's first iron or steel shipbuilding enterprises. Shipbuilding remains important, though the economy has become more diversified and now includes the manufacture of chemicals and paper products.

      Chester is the seat of Widener University (founded 1821 in Wilmington, Delaware), and Swarthmore College (1864) is 4 miles (6 km) north. Inc. borough, 1701; city, 1866. Pop. (1990) 41,856; (2000) 36,854.

      county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S., consisting of a hilly piedmont region bounded to the southwest by Octoraro Creek, to the south by Maryland and Delaware, and to the northeast by the Schuylkill River. Some other waterways are French, Brandywine (Brandywine Creek), Ridley, and Big Elk creeks and Struble and Marsh Creek lakes. Parklands include French Creek, Marsh Creek, and White Clay Creek state parks, as well as Valley Forge National Historical Park, located at Valley Forge, the site where General George Washington (Washington, George) and his Continental Army spent the winter of 1777–78 during the American Revolution.

      Chester county was created by English Quaker William Penn (Penn, William) in 1682 as one of Pennsylvania's three original counties. It was named for Cheshire, Eng. In 1788 West Chester became the county seat, replacing Chester (now in Delaware county). Longwood Gardens, owned by manufacturer Pierre S. du Pont (du Pont, Pierre Samuel) for almost 50 years (1906–54), contains more than 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of meadows, woodlands, landscaped gardens, and glass conservatories.

      Other communities include Coatesville, Phoenixville, Downingtown, and Kennett Square. The economy is based on services (business and health care), manufacturing (industrial machinery and technical instruments), and agriculture (field crops, mushrooms, and horticulture). Area 756 square miles (1,958 square km). Pop. (2000) 433,501; (2007 est.) 486,345.

      county, northern South Carolina, U.S. It is situated between the Broad (Broad River) and Catawba rivers in a hilly piedmont region of pine and hardwood forests. Chester and Landsford Canal state parks lie within its borders, as does part of Sumter National Forest.

      In the colonial era the region was part of the wild boundary zone between the lands of the Catawba Indians and their enemies, the Cherokee. The county was established in 1785 and was named for Chester county, Pennsylvania, from which many of the county's original settlers came.

      Logging and the manufacture of wood products are mainstays of the economy, and the manufacture of clothing and textile products also is important. County farms produce wheat, cattle, poultry, and dairy products. The town of Chester is the county seat. Area 581 square miles (1,504 square km). Pop. (2000) 34,068; (2007 est.) 32,531.

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Universalium. 2010.

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