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. The Romans chose it as the headquarters of the 20th Legion; well-preserved Roman walls remain. It was the last place in England to surrender to William the Conqueror, who made it the centre of a palatinate earldom in 1071. It became an important port in the 13th–14th century, 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.