The house was built for John Errington of Walwick Grange in about 1771 with three storeys and four bays but was much improved and extended by architect Norman Shaw in 1891. The 1891 work included five two-storeyed three-bay wings and a stable block. The stable block is separately Grade II* listed.
Of the five wings, three were diagonal, creating suntrap flanks for the south and west fronts. Shaw's remodelling of Chesters kindled the popularity of the Butterfly plan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The estate was acquired by Nathaniel Clayton (Town Clerk of Newcastle upon Tyne 1785–1822) in 1796. His son John Clayton who succeeded him as Town Clerk in 1822 was a keen antiquarian and excavated the ruins of the Roman fort of Cilurnam adjacent to the house. He made a large collection of Roman artefacts, which is now displayed at Chesters Museum.
- Historic England. "Chesters (1155585)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- The Beauties of England and Wales; Delineations Topographical, Historical and Descriptive Vol XII Pt I Rev J Hodgson and FC Laird (1813) p135 Google Books
- Historic England. "Stable Block 200 Metres North of Chesters (1370562)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Beckett, Matthew (24 October 2012). "The Butterfly House". New architecture blog. Country Life. Retrieved 24 October 2015.