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Bishop Lloyds Palace
Bishop Llloyds Palace
51 - 53 Watergate Street Row
Tel 01244 318 415
Chester Civic Trust
'One of the finest examples of timber framing in Chester
Stop Number 30 on the Chester Millennium Trail.
The East Gable and the West Gable
This fine house was built for George Lloyd D. D., Bishop of Sodor and Man, and also Bishop of Chester 1604 to 1615. Bishop Lloyd died in 1615 and was buried in the Choir of Chester Cathedral. A remarkable survivor of the civil war, the house is located half way down Watergate Street from the Cross on the South side. The Rainforest shop is located in the row level shop.
Bishop Lloyd's Palace was originally two town houses built over medieval undercrofts. Rebuilt in the early seventeenth century, the two houses may have become one at this time or, possibly, later in the seventeenth century when major internal alterations took place.
The Western part (on the right when facing the building) is dated 1615 and is one of the best examples of timber framing in Chester.
The front gable displays an abundance of seventeenth century carving including the Legs of Man (for the bishopric), three horses heads (for the Lloyd family) and the arms of James I (1603 - 1625). There are also biblical scenes and heraldic beasts including an elephant and castle.
The building was heavily restored by T.M. Lockwood in the 1890's and both the internal and external appearance owe much to his work. The eastern section (on the left when facing the building) was refronted to reflect the composition of the other gable. The mullioned windows with decorative leaded glazing date from this time. Lockwood also altered the Row running through both sections of the building and repositioned the Row posts supporting the chambers above. However, do look out for the original Jacobean posts behind supported by bearded giants.
The row level front of the building.
The Rainforest Shop, 51 Watergate Row, Chester, Cheshire CH1 2LE, Tel: 01244 340200. And the view from the Rows.
There are eight finely carved oak panels on the front of the building.
They are hard to see, these photos have been taken with a zoom lense.
An inscription found inside.
Inside, the two gable upper rooms are linked by a doorway. The two rooms contain fine fireplaces and plaster work. The fireplace in the gable to the left as you look at the building has a plaster fireplace that appears to be too large for the height of the room. It is thought that this fireplace was brought later from another bishops palace near the Cathedral destroyed by bombardment during the English Civil War.
The Large Room
The main feature of this room are the ornate seventeenth century plaster ceiling and the massive fireplace. These were not originally designed for this building. The ceiling clearly does not fit the room, while the phoenix on top of the fireplace obviously cuts through the ceiling. It is thought that both the ceiling and the fireplace may have come from the Bishop's Palace (now the site of Barclays Bank) which was largely destroyed by parliamentary bombardment during the English Civil War (1642 - 1646). St Anselm's Chapel, the Bishop's private chapel which still survives as part of the Cathedral, has a plaster ceiling almost identical to the one in this room. Inventories of the destroyed Bishop's Palace record a massive fireplace and it would not have been unusual to have removed these expensive features to a new building in the mid-seventeenth century.
The plasterwork in this room does not equal the quality of the ceiling in the larger room. However, there are many interesting motifs including Tudor roses, horses, ship's wheels and starfish. Around the room is a sea-monster frieze, partly hidden by later wooden paneling. Watergate Street was the main route from the Port of Chester, so maritime designs are not unusual in this area.
'End of a busy day' Louise Rayner (1832 - 1924)
Open to the Public
Bishop Lloyd's Palace is open to visitors free of charge from noon to 2pm (Monday to Thursday) and from 10.30am to 12.30pm on the first Saturday of every month. This is subject to the meetings rooms not being occupied by hirers.
Two Rooms are available to hire in Bishop Lloyds Palace.
Room 1 Size 26' 3" x 18' 1" Capacity 60 People
Room 2 Size 31'10" x 16' 8" Capacity 50 People.
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51/53 Watergate Row,
Tel 01244 318 415
This information leaflet is also available
Date Visited Sunday 24th February 2013
The Eastgate Clock
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