The Meadows ownership can be traced back more than 1000 years. In the tenth century they belonged to the crown, but from 1071 were administered by the Earls of Chester. The first Earl, Hugh Lupus, was given the land by his uncle William I. Hugh is believed to have been responsible for the construction of the weir to provide a constant source of power for the water mills near the Dee Bridge. Although the weir reduced the tidal flooding, it caused problems further upstream, hindered navigation and resulted in much unrest amongst those affected.
Georgian and Victorian engravings show cattle grazing on the Meadows and that they were also a popular venue for sporting activities with the Chester Regatta based both on the Meadows and on the opposite bank.
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