The Abbey Gateway
Northgate Street, Chester (1 Minutes walk from the cross)
Bollard Entry System Installed. Press buzzer on intercom to lower bollard
The Abbey Gate stands opposite the Town Hall, and is the entrance to Abbey Square.
The Abbey Gate was built in the 13th century, and was rebuilt in 1591.
The room above the gateway was used as a court for the pleas of the abbey and a registry.
It was used to hold George Marsh in during his trial in the Lady Chapel of the cathedral.
The Abbey Gate was constructed of sandstone. It has a large outer semi-circular arch. Inside is the pointed main entrance arch. There is a small gate of pedestrian access. And on either side of the main entrance arch two niches.
On the 22nd October 1651 Sir Thomas Featherstonhaugh was beheaded in front of the Abbey Gate. He was tried and executed for corresponding with royalists.
The St. Werburgh Fair
The Abbot's fair was held in front of the gate for 3 days from the feast of the translation of
St Werburgh on the 21st of June. On Whitsun the
Mystery plays were performed by the members of the cities 25 companies. The earliest recorded performance of the plays was in 1566 or 1567. But they are said to be much older than this.
Abbey Square - Inside the Gate
Inside the gate is a fine Georgian square of houses called Abbey Square. It was built on the old Abbey bakehouses and brewery in the mid 18th Century.
In the centre was an area known as the horse pool. On New Year's eve 1523 Roger Ledsham, gatekeeper, fell into the pool and drowned. In 1584 the pool was filled in. There is now a green with a column from the old exchange standing in the centre. The column was erected in 1756.
The two older cottages near the Cathedral back entrance are older than the square. They were built by Bishop John Bridgeman in 1626.
The Little Abbey Gate Way
A little further up Northgate Street opposite the Odeon cinema is the Little Abbey gateway.
Click on the picture to enter Chester Cathedral
Date Visited Saturday 22nd June 2013
This page was last updated