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Chester's High Cross
The Cross stands at the centre of Chester, on the intersection of Eastgate Street/Watergate Street and Northgate Street/Bridge Street. It also stands on the area once occupied by the Roman Principia.
The actual position of the Roman Principia would have been located under the Church of St. Peter, in front of which the Cross now stands. Indeed Northgate Street is slightly doglegged towards the Cross so that it avoided the massive foundations and columns of the Principia, some of which still survive.
A surviving column base from the Principia is visible through a shop floor on
This column base from the Roman Principia can be viewed through the floor of the shop 'Blacks'.
After the fort was abandoned by the Romans, the church of St. Peter was built over the Roman Principia. It is not known when the high cross was first erected. The original cross was gilded and painted and held figures of saints and bishops. And had a square base stone.
Taken from a drawing of the old high cross in Chester by Randle Holme in the Harleian MSS 2073.
A picture of the cross missing from its position in the late 17th Century.
The old Cross was pulled down in 1647 during the English Civil war. Parts of the cross were rediscovered in 1804 under St Peters church porch. They were eventually re-erected by the Corporation of Chester. The modern Cross has a new base, shaft and orb. The original part on top of the shaft is now worn by the weather and the figures are missing from the niches.
The Cross today stands in its original place at the centre of Chester.
Some events in the life of the cross:
1499 North side of the Pentice built.
1592 Three soldiers hanged on a gibbet setup at the cross.
1603 Cross reguilded.
1637 Four portraits of William Prynne a puritan pamphleteer were burned.
1647 Old cross taken down.
1649 King Charles I proclaimed a traitor on the site of the cross.
1663 An Irish man consigned to the pillory for speaking treason and lost his ears.
1793 Effigy of Thomas Paine a supporter of American independence of burned.
1804 The was Cross re-discovered under the steps of St Peter's Church nearby.
Some Buildings around the Cross
Some Shops near the Cross
Gabor shoes at Mo Zi Mo
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