Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Roodee (Chester)

The Roodee is an interesting and historic location in the ancient city of Chester.

Just outside the City Walls, it is the site of the Roman harbour. Chester was an important port until the River Dee silted up, leading to the rise of Liverpool.

The name Roodee comes from two Old English words. "Rood" means a cross, while "eye" signifies an island. So the whole word suggests an island with a cross on it.

At high tide, the Roodee did indeed become a temporary island, and there is an old stone cross in the middle.

The Roodee today is used as Chester Racecourse, and is believed to be the oldest in the country. Certainly the horses race in the opposite direction to everywhere else, and racing has been staged here since 1540.

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