Still Standing: Chichester’s Market Cross

[This story was published on November 10 in the Observer series. Read the original story atchichester.co.uk/news/chichester-s-cross-is-still-standing-1-7673522.]

Chichester Cross
[Image: Chichester Cross]
Now that we have seen the scaffolding come down on the Chichester Cross, Chichester City Council is looking forward to the next hundred years of the monument.

Perhaps now is a good time to think about the past of the market cross, as it is believed to have stood in Chichester since 1501.

Constructed of Caen stone, the Cross was built on the site of a wooden cross which had been erected by Bishop Rede in the late fourteenth century.

According to its inscription, it was built by Bishop of Chichester, Edward Storey as a gift to the city, but little is known for certain about the Cross’s origins.

It is thought that Bioshop Storey paid ten pounds to the Mayor of Chichester for the ground on which it is built.

This gift provided a covered marketplace from which the city’s traders could sell their wares, although it is thought that the Bishop built the cross for more political reasons, as the city authorities were seeking greater control over Chichester’s trade.

The clock on the cross was square until 1746, when it was replaced by four new clocks.

The Cross was used as a market-place until the start of the nineteenth century, but as the population of the city increased, Chichester required a more extensive area for trading.

A larger market-house was built in 1807, after which is was suggested that the Cross should be brought down as it was considered a ‘nuisance’.

The Cross was saved when several houses on the north side of the Cross were purchasin order to widen that part of the street by their demolition.

The last time anything major was done in terms of restoration was in the 1980s.

chichester-cross-today

[Image: Chichester Market Cross, photographed on November 9, 2016]

Today, the Cross has undergone a wide variety of work to protect the monument.

The stone orb and accompanying weather vane were removed in 2014 after the supporting structure began to crack.

Artwork on the weather vane was worn away, but a chance meeting led to the design being restored to its former glory by Ian Harris, who had painted it 30 years previously.

The project saw the reinstallation of the stone orb and weather vane to the top of the monument’s crown section at a cost of just under £29,000.

The Cross also had specialist stone cleaning and stabilisation work.

Peter Roberts, property manager at Chichester City Council, said “Hopefully it will keep it going for a few more hundred years.”

What are your memories or experiences of the Chichester Cross?

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