Guests, volunteers, staff and Romans have gathered to welcome Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, to North Northamptonshire’s £15m heritage and tourist attraction Chester House Estate.
Before unveiling a plaque and officially opening the site, Princess Anne toured the site meeting with people involved in the day-to-day activities in the archive, shops, cafe and learning centre.
Jack Pishhorn (Chester House Estate Business Manager) accompanied the Princess meeting archaeologists on a dig, volunteers cleaning artefacts and was shown Northamptonshire finds including a woolly rhino horn from Wollaston.
Shaking hands with the dozens of guests, the Princess met representatives from Historic England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Nenescape, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Natural England and staff and pupils from the Creating Tomorrow College.
North Northamptonshire Council’s Cllr Helen Howell (Deputy Leader and executive member for sport, leisure, culture and tourism) welcomed the Princess on to the stage to sign a guest book and unveil a brass plaque before receiving a bouquet from nine-year-olds Charlotte Leigh and Ellis Stephenson from Barton Seagrave Primary School and a gift from Creating Tomorrow pupil William Foster. She also received a basket of goodies from North Northamptonshire Council’s chairman, Cllr Larry Henson.
In an impromptu speech The Princes Royal said: “It seems only fair to offer my congratulations to everybody who has been involved in getting Chester House to this stage. In 10,000 years this is just another event in the extraordinary history of this patch of England. It is rare to find that focus of attention that encompasses quite so many years and I hope you feel satisfaction because you’re preserving it, you’re still learning from it. It won’t necessarily take another 10,000 years to work out what was here before but I hope it will still be here in 10,000 years time, in which case we are literally just a tiny blip in that history, but it’s one you can all be very proud of. Thank you for all your efforts.”
Chester House Estate opened to the public in October 2021 and to date has welcomed over 140,000 visitors to the estate.
The site was purchased in 2004 and grant funding was secured through The National Lottery Heritage Fund.