Gamul HouseText: Chester City Council
Behind the brick facade of Gamul House in Lower Bridge Street, is the only medieval stone open hall to survive in Chester. This was the home of the powerful Gamull family, wealthy merchants and landowners, who in the 17th century possessed six of the nearby Dee Mills together with fishing rights on the river. Francis Gamull was a leading local Royalist in the Civil War and it was here that Charles I stayed when he visited the besieged city on 24 September 1645, the eve of his army's defeat at the Battle of Rowton Moor. The house has been substantially altered since the Royal visit. In the late 17th century the great hall at first floor level was refronted in brick, with a fine pedimented doorway and elliptical windows. The open gallery in front of the building (never a true Row) was also altered and steps from the street were added. The undercroft at street level was revaulted in brick in the 18th century and small shops under the raised terrace were added in the 19th century. Early views of Gamul House show a brick stair tower, built on the elevated gallery and blocking the walkway. this probably led to the solar or sleeping area, which like the tower has long disappeared.
Inside the great hall, which is now a restaurant, there are features which would have been familiar to the Gamull family, including an impressive early 17th century sandstone fireplace. Despite its outstanding historical and architectural importance, Gamul House fell into sorry disrepair in the 1960s and was empty and in danger of collapse.
The buildng was finally bought by Chester City Council and restored in the early 1970s, one of the first major refurbishment schemes of the city's award-winning consevation programme.