Topography 900-1914: Later medieval, 1230-1550

A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 1, the City of Chester: General History and Topography. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2003.

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'Topography 900-1914: Later medieval, 1230-1550', in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 1, the City of Chester: General History and Topography, ed. C P Lewis, A T Thacker( London, 2003), British History Online [accessed 22 July 2024].

'Topography 900-1914: Later medieval, 1230-1550', in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 1, the City of Chester: General History and Topography. Edited by C P Lewis, A T Thacker( London, 2003), British History Online, accessed July 22, 2024,

"Topography 900-1914: Later medieval, 1230-1550". A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 1, the City of Chester: General History and Topography. Ed. C P Lewis, A T Thacker(London, 2003), , British History Online. Web. 22 July 2024.

In this section


Street Plan Within the Walls

The essential elements of the city's topography were well established by the early 13th century. Its dominant feature remained the four principal streets whose intensive development was illustrated by their incorporation of the unique first-storey walkways known as the Rows, (fn. 1) and by the fact that until the 16th century they were used as the basis for the administrative divisions of the city. (fn. 2) The north-south axis, comprising Northgate Street, Bridge Street, and Lower Bridge Street, intersected with that running east-west, Eastgate Street and Watergate Street, in the area in front of St. Peter's known by the 14th century as the Cross. The Cross was the social and commercial heart of the city, the site of the Pentice, High Cross, and pillory, and the focus of the markets. (fn. 3)

Although it is clear that other streets besides those forming the main axes were also in use in late AngloSaxon and Norman times, most were recorded only in the 13th century. By the mid 14th century at the latest the intramural area had attained the layout which was described in detail in a survey transcribed into the city's first Assembly Book c. 1570 and allegedly copied from a certain record 'in writing in a table', dating from the time of Edward III. (fn. 4) That layout survived largely unaltered until the 19th century.

Eastgate Street, a broad thoroughfare, especially where it opened out into the market area at the Cross, formed an obvious starting point for the survey. It contained numerous shops, and in the 13th and 14th centuries the premises of leading merchants and many of the city's bakers and goldsmiths. (fn. 5) At its north-western corner it included the Buttershops, which by the late 13th or early 14th century had probably developed into a free-standing structure on the site of the original stalls. (fn. 6) Further east was the abbot of Chester's stone hall which in the later 13th century was leased to Sir John Orby. (fn. 7) By then a number of streets extended northwards to the graveyard which lay south of the abbey church. The westernmost, Leen Lane, took its name from a merchant family which owned property in it in the 13th century. (fn. 8) Later blocked, in the 14th and 15th centuries it gave access to St. Oswald's vicarage and St. Giles's bakehouse. (fn. 9) Immediately east of Leen Lane lay Godstall Lane, mentioned in the survey but one of the few intramural thoroughfares not otherwise recorded until the 15th century. (fn. 10) Further east still lay St. Werburgh Lane, in being by the 13th century (fn. 11) and later the site of a large stone building, perhaps the abbot's hall. (fn. 12)

By the 1270s the south side of Eastgate Street was dominated by the corn market and its associated shops and malt kilns. (fn. 13) In the 17th century the frontage still included 'a great stone building' with five arches and 'a long broad pair of stairs' known as the Honey Stairs. (fn. 14) Because development behind was hampered by the collapsed remains of the Roman legionary bathhouse only one throughfare opened from that side: Fleshmongers Lane (later Newgate Street) lay east of the baths near the east wall, and ran south to Wolfeldgate (later Newgate). In existence by the earlier 12th century, in the 14th and 15th it contained shops. (fn. 15)

Chester, 1580

Bridge Street, like Eastgate Street, was a major thoroughfare filled with shops. It also had important merchant houses, such as Godwit Hall, between Commonhall Street and White Friars, (fn. 16) and Stone Place near St. Bridget's church, which in the early 15th century belonged to Roger of Derby and which probably survived in 2000 as nos. 48-52. (fn. 17) The southern termination of the street, the site of the former gate of the Roman fortress, was marked by the churches of St. Michael and St. Bridget. Later known as the Two Churches, it was spanned by an arch marking the junction with Lower Bridge Street. (fn. 18) Behind the eastern side of the street, development was blocked by the collapsed bathhouse, and as a result Pepper Street- which ran south of the ruins - was the only thoroughfare to extend eastwards to the city walls. Though first recorded in the 13th century, it followed the line of the southern wall of the legionary fortress and was presumably no later in date than Wolfeldgate to which it led. (fn. 19) Probably, as the name Pepper Street suggests, the location of the city's spicers, (fn. 20) by the mid 14th century it contained shops and a large corner house known as the Black Hall, at the junction with Bridge Street. (fn. 21) On the south side of the street lay Daresbury Hall, which in the 13th century belonged to the mayors Walter de Livet and Ranulph of Daresbury. (fn. 22)

Street development was more complex on the west side of Bridge Street, which by the mid 13th century was the location of the commercial quarter known as the selds. (fn. 23) Three streets led off westwards along roughly parallel courses. The northernmost, Commonhall Lane (later Street), also known as Moothall, Normans, or John Norman's Lane, extended west to Berward or Alban Lane (later Weaver Street) and presumably provided access to the common hall which lay behind the selds from the mid 13th century. (fn. 24) Its other names almost certainly recall John son of Norman, who held land in Alban Lane in the earlier 13th century, and suggest that the lane pre-dated the common hall. (fn. 25) In the early 16th century it became the site of almshouses founded by Sir Thomas Smith. (fn. 26)

Further south, Fulcards Lane (later White Friars) existed by 1200. (fn. 27) In the mid 13th century it became known as Alexander Harre's Lane after an important citizen who is almost certainly to be identified with Alexander the clerk, son of Earl Ranulph III's nurse Wymark. (fn. 28) Alexander owned a chapel, houses, and a garden to the north, in or near Pierpoint Lane. (fn. 29) By then the area may have been a fashionable place to live, for another grandee, Ranulph the chamberlain, owned a stone chamber in Alexander Harre's Lane by c. 1240. (fn. 30) In the later 13th century the Carmelites established an extensive precinct north of the lane, bounded by Alban Lane on the west, Commonhall Lane to the north, and the rear of the properties fronting Bridge Street on the east. (fn. 31) Its impact upon the area is reflected in a further change of name from Alexander Harre's Lane to White Friars Lane. (fn. 32)

Between Commonhall Lane and White Friars Lane lay Pierpoint Lane, named after the family of Pierrepont which in the 13th century produced a sheriff of the city and an abbess of the Benedictine nunnery. (fn. 33) A lane leading from Bridge Street to the land of Robert Pierrepont was in being by the time of Abbot Birchills (1291-1323) and probably by the 1290s; it is to be identified with that named after an unidentified sheriff Richard, where in the later 13th century the Arneway family owned property including a chapel (probably that which earlier belonged to Alexander Harre). (fn. 34) The lane also appears in the Assembly Book survey where it was described as 'the way some time to the common hall', an indication that it probably extended no further west than that building. (fn. 35)

Almost certainly only the easternmost ends of the streets just described were densely built up in the Middle Ages. Much of Alban Lane, for example, was occupied by gardens in the late 13th and earlier 14th century, while the western end of White Friars Lane was the site of a barn. (fn. 36) The layout was regular and gridded; the streets followed parallel courses and, except for Pierpoint Lane, terminated to the west either in St. Nicholas Lane (later Nicholas Street) or in Alban Lane, both of which ran south from Watergate Street. It is difficult to assess the antiquity of the plan. Though several of the streets bore the names of 13th-century inhabitants or buildings, it cannot be assumed that they originated then. Many thoroughfares changed their name or had more than one name concurrently, and the predominance of 13th-century nomenclature may merely reflect better documentation in that period. At least one element in the plan, Fulcards Lane, dated from before 1200.

Lower Bridge Street extended from the Two Churches south to the river. It too contained important houses, most notably the mansion which in the late 13th century belonged to Richard the engineer and which lay beside St. Olave's church, perhaps originally its chapel. (fn. 37) Further south the street seems to have had an agricultural character; the principal messuage of the Dunfoul family was located close to the Bridgegate, complete with shops, dovecot, orchard, and barns, while near by was a property known as 'the earl's byre'. (fn. 38) Two lanes led off eastwards. St. Olave's Lane, a minor way beside the church in being before 1272, terminated at some uncertain point to the north-east and was later described as 'waste . . . without any house but one'. (fn. 39) Further south, Claverton Lane (later Duke Street) extended to the city walls. (fn. 40) Probably the site of the eight 11th-century burgages within the city dependent upon Claverton manor, (fn. 41) it later included a messuage known in the 1340s as Earl Ranulph's forge. (fn. 42) By the late 13th century part of its northern side was occupied by the south front and barn of the town house of Richard the engineer. (fn. 43) Behind the three main frontages of Pepper Street, Lower Bridge Street, and Claverton Lane lay gardens, extending to the walls and still undeveloped in the late 18th century. (fn. 44) To the south, however, in the area between Claverton Lane and the river, there had been rather more building, and by the later 14th century a minor thoroughfare known as Capel Lane linked Claverton Lane with the Capelgate. (fn. 45) Outside the city wall lay houses (fn. 46) and fisheries with stalls in the King's Pool, the deeper part of the river Dee below the causeway; the causeway itself was at least as old as the Dee Mills, which lay at its western end on the north bank and were in existence by the 1090s. (fn. 47)

South of St. Bridget's church, Lower Bridge Street intersected with Cuppin Lane, first recorded in the mid 13th century and extending as far west as St. Nicholas Lane. (fn. 48) It contained shops by the mid 14th century. (fn. 49) The area to the south, between Cuppin Lane and the castle, was perhaps relatively densely occupied, its residents including senior officials of the earl. Castle Lane, on the same axis as the streets further north, connected the castle and nunnery with Lower Bridge Street and was presumably in being by the late 11th century. (fn. 50) In the 14th century, when it contained shops and carpenters' premises, (fn. 51) it was still dominated by the Stone Hall, the large mansion with hall, undercrofts, and stables built by Peter the clerk which lay in the north-eastern angle of the intersection with Lower Bridge Street, at the point known as Castle Lane End, and which had passed to Peter's descendants, the Thornton family. (fn. 52) Castle and Cuppin Lanes were connected by Bunce Lane, (fn. 53) named after a family which had land in the area in the 13th century, and which in 1243 produced a sheriff of the city. (fn. 54) To the south-west, in front of the castle's outer gatehouse, there was an irregular open area known by the 13th century as Gloverstone, which like the castle itself lay outside the city liberties, (fn. 55) and which was crossed by a roadway leading to the castle gate, constructed over demolished houses in 1295. (fn. 56) The eponymous stone which marked the limit of the city's jurisdiction, a great slab of blue or grey marble, stood in front of the gatehouse until the late 18th century. (fn. 57)

The area south of Castle Lane seems to have been the scene of much building in the 13th and 14th centuries. From Gloverstone, St. Mary Lane (later St. Mary's Hill) followed the boundary of the churchyard of St. Mary on the Hill steeply down to Ship Lane (later Shipgate Street). (fn. 58) In the late 14th century it contained a large mansion known as the Bultinghouse, the property of Hugh de Holes. (fn. 59) Ship Lane itself connected the Shipgate with Lower Bridge Street and was certainly in existence by c. 1290. (fn. 60) A modest thoroughfare, described merely as 'a way for a horse and a man', it was the site of the residence of the rich citizen Philip the clerk in the early 13th century and thereafter of property belonging to the Bruyn family and later to the Troutbecks, serjeants of the Bridgegate. An alternative name, Rabys Lane, derived from the family who held the serjeanty of Bridgegate in the 14th century. (fn. 61) Just outside the walls at the west end of the causeway, on the west side of the Dee Bridge, were the Dee Mills, near which lay houses, barns, and other property belonging to the city's fishermen. (fn. 62) Along the riverside itself, Skinners Lane contained industrial buildings known in the late 14th century as the Mustard Houses, by the mid 16th as the Glovers Houses, and c. 1700 as the Skinners Houses. (fn. 63)

Watergate Street, on its way to the medieval Watergate, crossed the line of the former western wall of the legionary fortress at the point marked from the late 12th century by Holy Trinity church. (fn. 64) Like the other principal thoroughfares it contained shops and town houses belonging to important citizens. (fn. 65) At its eastern end were the fishboards and the shambles. (fn. 66) Because Commonhall Lane, south of and parallel to Watergate Street, was densely built up, the only thoroughfares to join Watergate Street from the south lay well towards its western end: Alban Lane along a line just inside the former west wall of the Roman fortress, (fn. 67) and St. Nicholas Lane just outside. The later was named from the Dominican friary's chapel of St. Nicholas (fn. 68) and extended to the junction with White Friars Lane where the church of St. Martin marked the south-western corner of the Roman fortress. (fn. 69) Its line was continued to the south by Nuns Lane, the site of the Benedictine nunnery from the mid 12th century. (fn. 70)

Four lanes led off the north side of Watergate Street. The most easterly, Goss Lane on the western side of the Roman principia, existed by the early 13th century. Its northern termination is uncertain but it seems likely that it joined the east-west arm of Crook Lane (probably on the line of Hamilton Place). (fn. 71) At the intersection with Watergate Street was the large property known in the 13th century as the 'Erbereyert' (the 'shelter yard'), leased from Stanlow abbey by the Saracen family with other land in the lane. (fn. 72) Further west lay the other, north-south arm of Crook Lane, also called Gerrards Lane (later Crook Street), which by the early 13th century ran northwards to Parsons Lane (later Princess Street). (fn. 73) Beyond that, immediately east of Holy Trinity church and on the line of the inner side of the west wall of the legionary fortress, was Trinity Lane. (fn. 74) Another lane followed the other side of the wall, running northwards to St. Werburgh's grange in the northwestern corner of the city and eventually meeting the western end of Barn Lane (later King Street). (fn. 75) In being by the earlier 13th century, it was known by the mid 14th as Crofts Lane (later Linenhall Street). (fn. 76)

Northgate Street extended from the Cross to the Northgate. Its southern end, where it passed over the east side of the principia, was very narrow, lined on the west side by shops and eventually also the back Pentice, which abutted the east end of St. Peter's church, and on the east by the frontage of an important mansion. (fn. 77) Further north it opened out into a broad space in front of the abbey gateway, the site of St. Werburgh's fair. (fn. 78) The northern two thirds of the eastern side of the street was followed by the precinct wall of St. Werburgh's, against which by the late 13th century abutted small shops and houses owned by the abbey. (fn. 79) No other features, except the two abbey gateways, the gate into the abbey's graveyard, and, from the mid 14th century, the chapel of St. Nicholas, enlivened that part of the street. No thoroughfare is known to have run eastwards, although it seems likely that there was a lane on the southern side of the graveyard wall, along and continuing the line of Music Hall Passage.

Almost certainly the western side of Northgate Street was lined with buildings for much of its length. (fn. 80) Three lanes led off westwards. The southernmost, immediately north of the remains of the Roman principia, was an arm of Crook Lane, in existence by the 13th century. It joined Gerrards Lane, to which the name Crook Lane was also applied. (fn. 81) To the north two streets extended west beyond the former legionary fortress to Crofts Lane. Parsons Lane, described in the early 13th century as 'the lane opposite the abbey gate', (fn. 82) crossed over Roman foundations and owed its name to the fact that in the 13th century the vicar of St. Oswald's had a house there. In the 14th century it also contained shops. (fn. 83) Further north Barn Lane, which also wandered over Roman foundations, by the 13th century gave access to the abbey's grange and in 1366 contained another barn with an orchard, belonging to the Erneys family. (fn. 84) By the 16th century Ox Lane ran north from Barn Lane to join another lane running alongside the city wall; neither contained any houses, passing only through crofts, orchards, and gardens. (fn. 85)

Much of the area on either side of Northgate Street north of the abbey gatehouse was still relatively open in the mid 14th century. To the east lay the abbey precinct and graveyard, and to the west the sparse network of minor lanes just described. Although none of those lanes was recorded before the 13th century it seems likely that the topography of the area had changed little from the Norman or even the late Anglo-Saxon period and was still dominated by barns, orchards, and ox stalls.

The whole area between the western wall of the legionary fortress and the medieval west wall was also largely undeveloped. After the mid 12th century much of it was gradually occupied by religious communities. The first to be established, the Benedictine nunnery, lay in the south-west corner of the medieval city, near the castle. (fn. 86) Immediately to the north was the Dominican friary, established in the 1230s in a precinct bounded by St. Nicholas Lane to the east, Watergate Street to the north, and, by the mid 14th century, Arderne (later Walls or Black Friars) Lane to the south. (fn. 87) On the north side of Watergate Street lay the Franciscan friary, also founded in the 1230s, with a precinct bounded to the east by Crofts Lane and to the north by Little Parsons or Dog Lane (on or near the line of Bedward Row). (fn. 88)

The north-western corner of the intramural area, known as the Crofts and bounded by Crofts Lane to the east and Little Parsons Lane to the south, continued to be occupied mostly by gardens throughout the Middle Ages. (fn. 89) The principal buildings included St. Werburgh's barn, in being by the 13th century and probably situated near the junction of Barn Lane and Crofts Lane, and St. Chad's chapel, which from the mid 13th century lay on the north side of Little Parsons Lane at the intersection with Crofts Lane. (fn. 90) By the early 14th century a lane crossed the Crofts winding northwards from the east end of St. Chad's to a postern in the north wall of the city by Bonewaldesthorne Tower. (fn. 91) In the early 15th century the area was the site of some poor quality housing and shops. (fn. 92)

Clearly much of the intramural area remained relatively undeveloped. The collapsed remains of the two greatest Roman buildings, the principia and the bathhouse, continued to inhibit street development near by, and there was room for the large precincts of the friars and for areas in the north-west and southeast corners of the city which contained little but crofts, orchards, and gardens throughout the later Middle Ages. Urban activity was intense only in the southern part of Northgate Street, Eastgate Street, Watergate Street, Bridge Street with the adjacent parts of the lanes on its western side, and perhaps Lower Bridge Street.

Extramural and Suburban Development

There was early and dense extramural settlement outside the Eastgate along Foregate Street, the principal landward approach to the city. (fn. 93) There, beyond the town ditch, lay properties, occasionally termed burgages, which by the late 13th century housed inns, large shops, goldsmiths' premises, and smithies. (fn. 94) The group of 15 shops with gardens held by the bishop, and later leased to the Egerton family, affords some indication of the intensive nature of development, (fn. 95) which by the early 14th century led to encroachment on the street near the Eastgate in the form of what were later termed 'piazzas', colonnaded walkways produced by buildings oversailing the pavement, their first storeys brought forward on posts. (fn. 96) Further east, buildings presumably straggled along the street at least to the Bars and perhaps as far as the leper hospital by the city boundary at Boughton. (fn. 97) They included the residences of prominent families, such as the descendants of the 13thcentury mayor Richard the clerk, who had land near Cow Lane (later Frodsham Street), (fn. 98) and the Payns, who produced two sheriffs of the city in the late 13th century and whose holdings were concentrated near the Bars. (fn. 99)

Outside the Eastgate, streets led off both north and south. Cow Lane extended northwards, with the Kaleyards - the walled monastic garden of St. Werburgh's - on its western side, and barns, shops, and gardens to the east. (fn. 100) It formed the route by which the citizens' cattle could be driven to and from the common known as Henwald's Lowe (later the Gorse Stacks) just outside the north-east corner of the walled city. (fn. 101) On the far side of the common the road was continued by a way perhaps called the Greenway (later Brook Street), which led off in a north-easterly direction to the city boundary at Flooker's brook, beyond which were the town field of Newton and the common pasture of Hoole heath. (fn. 102) From Henwald's Lowe another thoroughfare, Bag Lane (later George Street), ran west beside the town ditch to intersect with Upper Northgate Street opposite St. John's hospital. In the earlier 13th century it contained houses belonging to the abbot of Chester, demolished during the siege of 1264; later there was a quarry alongside. (fn. 103)

Elsewhere in the large north-eastern segment of the liberties bounded by Upper Northgate Street, Foregate Street, and Flooker's brook, there were only fields and gardens. East of Cow Lane and behind the tenements fronting Foregate Street were Dene field (the field of the dean and chapter of St. John's) (fn. 104) and North field, in which, near the city, lay the Justing Croft, presumably the site of civic tournaments in the later Middle Ages. (fn. 105) Further east, the land between the line of the later Queen Street and Hoole Lane was occupied by Herkin's Well field. (fn. 106) The area between Brook Street and Upper Northgate Street, north-east of the city, was also wholly agricultural. The greater part comprised the Town field (also called Chester field), (fn. 107) the western boundary of which was formed by Windmill or Besom Lane (later Victoria Road), in the 13th century a path which gave access to the abbot of Chester's windmill and extended to Wallfurlong, land belonging to the abbot next to Flooker's brook. (fn. 108) Between Windmill Lane and Upper Northgate Street lay crofts or gardens. (fn. 109)

Southwards from Foregate Street St. John's Lane led off beside the town ditch. Also called Ironmonger Lane, it gave access to Wolfeldgate and by its continuation, known from the 13th century as Souters Lode, to a landing place beside the river. An important thoroughfare, by the 16th century dignified with the appellation 'street', it intersected with Little St. John Lane which continued south-eastwards to St. John's church. Together the two streets, the site of the city tanneries, probably comprised 'Bishop's Street', in which the bishop of Coventry and Lichfield claimed a liberty in 1499. (fn. 110) They were evidently therefore within the 'bishop's borough', which certainly extended to Foregate Street. (fn. 111)

Little St. John Lane continued eastwards along the graveyard wall of St. John's as Vicars Lane, on the north side of which were the houses of the college's vicars and petty canons. (fn. 112) To the south, forming the core of the bishop's borough, the precinct of St. John's contained, in addition to the collegiate church itself, houses for the bishop and archdeacon, the chapel of St. James, and, from the late 14th century, the oratory and offices of the confraternity of St. Anne and a small oratory probably associated with a hermitage. (fn. 113) Further east, the area between Foregate Street and the river remained fields, reached from the north in the late 14th century by Love Lane, whose 15th-century residents appropriately included a brothel keeper, (fn. 114) and crossed by Barkers Lane (later Union Street), a continuation of Vicars Lane whose early name again records the presence of tanners in the area. (fn. 115) At the Bars, Payns Lode (later Dee Lane), named after the shrieval family, extended south to the river, (fn. 116) and beyond it lay more fields, occupying most if not all of the narrow area above the Dee reaching eastwards to the city limits.

The other main area of early suburban development was south of the river at Handbridge. The core of the settlement lay along the high street of Handbridge and its southern continuation, Claverton Way (later Eaton Road), which ran through Netherleigh to cross the creek marking the city boundary at Heronbridge. (fn. 117) From the high street Newbold or Bottoms Lane led off eastwards towards the Earl's Eye, passing through Newbold town field and the hamlet of Newbold, where tofts and crofts were held by millers and fishermen in the early 13th century. (fn. 118) On the west side of the high street there was a minor way leading towards Kettle's Croft (later Edgar's Field) known as Green Lane (later Greenway Street), and further south the way to Overleigh. (fn. 119) At Overleigh by the mid 13th century Bromfield Way (later Wrexham Road) ran almost directly south, and Kinnerton (later Lache) Lane south-west to Lache Hall at the boundary of the liberty. (fn. 120) To the west the Hollow Way ran through Hough Green, a common marked by a cross, and continued to Saltney. There the boundary was marked from the late 15th century by a bridge with stone foundations and a timber superstructure known as the Blackpool or Stoop Bridge. (fn. 121) Beyond lay marshes where the citizens had common pasture in the earlier 13th century. (fn. 122) North of Hough Green and within the liberties, in a peninsula of land between the marshes and the Dee, was Brewer's Hall, an estate held by the serjeants of the Eastgate from 1286. (fn. 123)

Beside the river east of Dee Bridge, the area at the eastern end of the causeway was occupied in the mid 14th century by the fulling mills, their tenter frames, and, in the early 15th century, a quarry. (fn. 124) A hermitage stood between the river and the quarry. (fn. 125) Beyond Newbold lay the great expanse of meadow known in the 12th century as King's Hay and by 1285 as the Earl's Eye. (fn. 126) The area west of the bridge was also relatively undeveloped.

South of Handbridge was the town field of Handbridge or Claverton 'in Chester', reaching as far as the Grey or Great ditch which defined the southern edge of the liberties. (fn. 127) Beyond the ditch, in the township of Claverton itself, there were further open fields, where the religious communities and leading citizens of Chester also owned land. (fn. 128)

Outside the Northgate lay the smallest of the city's suburbs. Apart from the hospital of St. John, whose precinct occupied a narrow strip of land extending westwards from the gate outside the town ditch, most of the area belonged to the monks of St. Werburgh's. In the 1280s and 1290s the abbot was indicted in the county court for raising a court there for his tenants and for obstructing the highway with a bakehouse. (fn. 129) The suburb's main axis lay along Upper Northgate Street, the road north into Wirral, which from early times forked to form Bache Way (later Liverpool Road) running north, and Mollington Lane (later Parkgate Road) running north-west. (fn. 130) In the 13th century a lane also led off west from Upper Northgate Street beside St. John's hospital. It soon divided, one branch continuing alongside the town ditch to the Dee on the line of the later Canal Street (fn. 131) and the other leading off northwestwards along the later Garden Lane to the anchorage of Portpool, which lay at the city boundary, Finchett's Gutter. The growing significance of Portpool Way perhaps reflected the shift in seaborne traffic from the ancient harbour near the Dee Bridge to the anchorages downstream from the Watergate, but even so the lane's status remained uncertain as late as the 1290s, when the abbot, claiming it was his 'proper soil', levied tolls on those using it, and even ploughed it up. (fn. 132)

The Northgate suburb also contained a stone cross (fn. 133) and buildings belonging to the abbey, of which the most important were St. Thomas's chapel with its graveyard, at the fork terminating Upper Northgate Street, and the abbey's tithe barn on Mollington Lane. (fn. 134) The land on either side of Upper Northgate Street, from Portpool to Windmill Lane, formed gardens, mostly the property of Chester abbey and including the Battle Croft, whose name implies that it was the site of judicial battle in the Middle Ages. (fn. 135) Beyond lay open fields extending to the northern limits. (fn. 136) Outside the liberty was Bache, which contained the abbot's mill (fn. 137) and further fields in which the abbey and a number of important local citizens had holdings. (fn. 138) A little to the west Mollington Lane was carried over Bache brook into the township of Blacon by a stone bridge. (fn. 139)

The west side of the city was occupied at its northern end by the harbour, protected from 1322 by the New or Water Tower; further south was the Roodee, a meadow marked since the 13th century by a stone cross and used for both recreation and grazing. (fn. 140) At its southern end, near the Benedictine nunnery but outside the city walls, lay a quarry and crofts, across which the nuns had a right of way to the Roodee and the river. (fn. 141)

Much of the land within the city liberties remained agricultural throughout the Middle Ages. In areas such as those to the north and east of Bag Lane and Cow Lane the fields reached almost to the city walls. Within the walls, although the principal streets were highly developed, Chester retained a distinctly agricultural flavour. Even c. 1350, at the end of a century which had seen intensive economic activity, rustic buildings such as barns and byres were scattered through its streets. With the advent of economic depression in the 15th century the settled area probably shrank and many plots in the heart of the city were apparently unoccupied. (fn. 142)

Building Activity, 1230-1400

The local building stone was the soft and friable red sandstone which gave the early name of 'Redcliff' to the suburb near St. John's church and which was quarried at a number of sites within the city limits, near the Northgate, the Roodee, and the fulling mills. (fn. 143) Although by the 13th century it was being used for the castle, walls, gates, churches, and some important domestic and commercial buildings, stone was sufficiently unusual to attract notice and special nomenclature. (fn. 144) Most of Chester's secular buildings were probably of mixed construction. While the party walls which divided properties along the principal streets were generally of stone, at least at the level of the undercrofts, the vanished superstructures were almost certainly timber-framed. (fn. 145) Outside the main streets timber framing was probably even more prevalent.

In the earlier 13th century timber was widely available from the earl's forests in Cheshire and from north Wales. The region's resources were, however, exploited heavily by Edward I for his military and building campaigns, (fn. 146) and thereafter timber of the size and quality required for the structural members of a major building was much scarcer. By the mid 14th century the grant of mature trees for building purposes became a mark of the Black Prince's special favour. (fn. 147)

Building activity was most intense in Chester from the early 13th to the mid 14th century. To that period belonged the eastern limb and south transept of the abbey church, the chapel of St. Nicholas, the main claustral buildings and gatehouse of St. Werburgh's, the rebuilding of the castle, the gates, the more important towers on the walls, the initial building schemes for the friaries, and considerable work at St. John's, St. Peter's, and possibly other parish churches. (fn. 148) The city's growing prosperity also affected domestic and commercial buildings, especially in the four main streets. From the mid 13th century there is evidence of the subdivision of undercrofts and selds and of an increasingly intensive use of the street frontages, with the appearance of numerous groups of small shops often crammed on a single plot at Row level. (fn. 149) Several major town houses were clearly built between c. 1200 and 1330. (fn. 150)

Building activity on a considerable scale in the city centre in the earlier 14th century is suggested by William of Doncaster's grant to Richard of Wheatley in 1310 of a strip of land adjoining Richard's property in Northgate Street, almost certainly near St. Peter's church. (fn. 151) The strip was of curious dimensions. In length 15 royal ells (c. 17 metres) and in breadth 2 ells (c. 2 metres) at the rear but only ¼ ell (0.3 metres) at the street end, it allowed some minor adjustment of the boundary between the two properties; in fact, there long remained a kink in the boundaries of the plots further north which perhaps represented an irregularity like that which Richard and William were seeking to eliminate. (fn. 152) Such an insignificant alteration in plot size implies either that there were as yet no stout party walls on the site, or that the rebuilding was on a scale sufficient to justify the effort required in removing them. The latter is perhaps more plausible. The deed expressly mentioned that the rear end of the strip lay towards Wheatley's stone-built solar, and it may well be that having erected such a substantial structure Wheatley intended to complete the work with an elaborate new street frontage. (fn. 153) Certainly the Wheatley family still had shops in Ironmongers' Row in the 1330s. (fn. 154)

The more important building work of the period, produced under the patronage of the royal earl or his principal officials, was of high quality. At St. Werburgh's, for example, the chapter house and perhaps other claustral buildings, including the refectory, were built by masons who had worked on St. Chad's chapel at Lichfield in the 1220s or 1230s. (fn. 155) The choir, the pioneering design of which was probably by Edward I's Savoyard masons, was closely related to other work done for the court in the 1270s. (fn. 156) Similarities in the profiles and mouldings of columns and arches suggest, moreover, that the teams which worked on Edward's Welsh castles, the greatest building project of the time, were also employed upon the abbey church and other buildings including the gateway. A further phase, which focused on the enlargement of the south transept, also produced the shrine of St. Werburg, an outstanding member of a group of structures inspired by Henry III's tribute to Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey. (fn. 157)

The royal presence provided the abbey's workshop with a powerful aesthetic stimulus and perhaps some financial assistance in the form of timber from the earl's forests and the relaxation of certain dues. On the other hand, the king's need for craftsmen meant that from time to time the abbey's workforce was requisitioned and taken off into Wales. (fn. 158) Even so, the workshop remained the dominant enterprise of its kind in Chester and undoubtedly left its mark on other buildings within the city. At St. John's a major reconstruction of the east end in the mid 14th century was related to contemporary work in the south transept at the abbey. (fn. 159) At St. Peter's the continuous wave mouldings in the tower arch were also a product of the team responsible for the crossing and the eastern bays of the nave of the abbey church. (fn. 160) Almost certainly, too, the castle was the scene of large projects under both Henry III and Edward I. Although virtually nothing now survives, the exceptional quality of the paintings in the Agricola Tower is indicative of the ambitious nature of the work executed there under royal patronage. (fn. 161) There also in the late 13th and early 14th century the Welsh castles probably provided a paradigm. Certainly the city's Edwardian Eastgate appears to have been closely related to them. (fn. 162)

The pattern of activity was rather different at the friaries, where relatively simple buildings of the 13th century were aggrandized in the 14th. The Dominicans, for example, greatly enlarged their single-celled church in the early 14th century and further altered it by the early 15th. Important work was also going on at the Carmelite friary in the 1350s and 1360s. (fn. 163) While such activity is evidence that the Black Death did not bring building entirely to a halt in Chester, most of the major projects evidently lapsed around that time. Work at the castle almost ceased, while at the abbey there was apparently a hiatus until the patronage of Richard II brought a fruitful, if brief, new spell of building which included the completion of the crossing, the construction of the choir stalls, and perhaps some work on the nave. (fn. 164)

The period before c. 1350 also saw the production of the city's main stone-built domestic and commercial buildings. As well as the stone house of Peter the clerk, there was a stone chamber in White Friars Lane belonging to the chamberlain Ranulph of Oxford in the 1240s, a stone hall in Eastgate Street belonging to the abbot of Chester in the later 13th century, and Richard of Wheatley's stone solar set back from Northgate Street in the early 14th. (fn. 165) The houses of wealthy and important figures such as Richard the engineer and William of Doncaster were presumably also built largely of stone, as was at least one of the selds in Bridge Street, where the designation the Stone Seld remained current until well into the 15th century. The five surviving stone-vaulted undercrofts dating from the mid 13th to the early 14th century may represent the remains of such buildings. (fn. 166) More fragmentary survivals, including corbels and doorways, were also mostly earlier than the mid 14th century. (fn. 167)

More plentiful at the time, though now much scarcer because of their less durable nature, were timber structures, which survive mostly at undercroft level in the four main streets. The arcades which supported the floors above the wider undercrofts, such as those at nos. 22 and 28-34 Watergate Street, 11 Bridge Street, and 12 Watergate Street (demolished 1985), are especially numerous, but arch-braced beams performing a similar function are also to be found at, for example, nos. 38-42 Watergate Street. (fn. 168) Other survivals include the massive joists which ceiled the undercrofts and which might, as at the eastern house of Booth Mansion (nos. 28-34 Watergate Street) and at nos. 12 Watergate Street and 36 Bridge Street, support a layer of rubble or sand into which the stone-flagged floors above were embedded. (fn. 169) At higher levels much less survives. A 14th-century beam at no. 17 Watergate Street (Leche House) provides the only evidence of a timber frontage on the main streets, and a doorway in the eastern house of Booth Mansion is the only example of internal timberwork. Medieval timber roofs are also extremely rare, though one particularly elaborate 13th-century example survives at no. 6 Lower Bridge Street (the Falcon), reused in a later undercroft. Another timber element within the city's medieval buildings which has now disappeared is the 'porches' on the main thoroughfares, probably light structures added to the street frontages to protect their entrances from rain.

Of the city's commercial buildings, the most distinctive were the selds: substantial, long, narrow market halls, raised over undercrofts and in some instances stone-built. They were concentrated in a single quarter, between the Cross and the common hall on the west side of Bridge Street, and were fronted by a Row. (fn. 170)

Dwellings varied greatly in size and status from the simplest accommodation, no more than one or two rooms, to merchants' houses with spacious halls. Although nothing is known of the humbler structures, the appearance and layout of the bigger domestic buildings may be reconstructed. Pares or Paris Hall, for example, the home of Richard the engineer in Lower Bridge Street, was stone-built and had a high tower. (fn. 171) The Bultinghouse next to St. Mary on the Hill, in 1390 the town house of the wealthy local landowner Hugh de Holes, included several 'lower rooms' next to the kitchen, and a principal chamber, a barn, and stables, which Hugh reserved when letting the rest to a local skinner. (fn. 172) In 1369 the Black Hall in Pepper Street was the subject of a similar agreement, in which the owner retained the stables and the principal apartments, the stone and painted chambers. (fn. 173) Other examples included a house in Bridge Street with a chapel, dovecot, and garden, (fn. 174) and a major structure near the river, perhaps the former residence of the Dunfouls, which when it was taken down in the 1380s comprised chambers, subchambers, a kitchen, gatehouse, and hall. (fn. 175)

The bigger houses occupied plots with wide street frontages and were on the main thoroughfares, often on corner sites at junctions with side streets, where there was more wall space for windows and hence better lighting. They included nos. 38-42 Watergate Street, 48-52 Bridge Street, and 6 Lower Bridge Street. In their fully achieved form they were all largely the product of building work carried out in the early to mid 14th century. The house at nos. 38-42 Watergate Street, for example, was rebuilt almost entirely at that time. Others retained more of the preceding structures; in one instance, nos. 48-52 Bridge Street, at least two earlier houses may have been reconstructed as a single unit, retaining the stone facade of one of them. (fn. 176)

Such houses combined commercial and domestic use. On the first floor they incorporated a large hall, which might be over 12 metres long and 8 wide and which lay parallel to the street, running across as many as three undercrofts. Set back behind shops, usually quite small lock-ups numbering up to five, (fn. 177) and reached from the Row, (fn. 178) the hall terminated in a screens passage, beyond which lay the service bay usually with a spacious solar above it. The service bay generally overlooked the side lane, which provided both extra window space and easy access to the rear of the plot with its scatter of kitchens, outbuildings, and stables. The lock-up shops may have had modest premises over the Row, such as the solars above the Buttershops mentioned in 1361. (fn. 179) The Row walkway formed an integral part of the structure from the start, encouraging the development of a compact main block focused on the hall and backing on to a yard. The dominance of the Row is illustrated by the fact that, perhaps unexpectedly, there is no evidence for steps providing access from street to Row walkway opposite the screens passage. It is clear that in their earliest phase such houses were entered by an inconvenient route at either end of the frontage. (fn. 180)

The more standard courtyard plan, seen for example in town houses in Norwich and King's Lynn, was incompatible with the extended two-tiered street fronts characteristic of the main thoroughfares, and hence was rare in Chester. The only building possibly of that type within the main streets is nos. 14-16 Northgate Street, which included a courtyard with an extensive domestic range to the rear. (fn. 181)

The largest houses such as those just described were never the norm even in the main streets. Much more common were houses whose halls, constructed over only one or two undercrofts, lay at right angles to the street, behind shops fronting the Row walkway. They generally had timber superstructures of which little remains, although one unusually lavish stone-built example survived in 2000 as the eastern house of nos. 28-34 Watergate Street (Booth Mansion), with a hall measuring some 8.5 by 6.8 metres and two sizeable shops in front. As with the grander houses, the service areas were included in outbuildings lying in yards to the rear. Though most of the standing evidence has been destroyed by post-medieval development and by demolition during slum clearance in the 1930s, excavations at nos. 32-4 Watergate Street have revealed the stone footings of a variety of such structures. (fn. 182)

Building Activity, 1400-1550

Throughout the earlier 15th century there was little building in Chester, apparently the result of increasing impoverishment. The citizens' pleas for a reduced fee farm, initiated in the 1440s, reached a peak in 1484, when they claimed that the 'greater part' of their city was 'wasted, desolate, ruinous, and scantily inhabited'. While such jeremiads doubtless involved much exaggeration, (fn. 183) the impression remains that in the earlier 15th century the fabric of Chester was in decay. The only significant enterprise which can be ascribed with certainty to the period was at St. Mary on the Hill, where the Troutbeck chapel was added in 1433 and the south aisle was remodelled almost contemporaneously, both probably through the action of a single wealthy family. (fn. 184) There may also have been a major remodelling of the Dominican friary shortly after 1400. (fn. 185) Otherwise building work was restricted to repairs, usually to timber-framed private houses and often making use of beams and posts from demolished buildings. (fn. 186)

Activity had resumed by 1467 with fresh work at the Dominican friary, where the church was extensively but incompletely remodelled in the late 15th and early 16th century. (fn. 187) More significant were the building campaigns at St. Werburgh's between the 1480s and the 1520s, which included the addition of a new chancel to the parochial chapel of St. Oswald, and substantial work on the nave, choir aisles, and cloisters, part of an intended replacement of all the conventual buildings. (fn. 188) Other ecclesiastical projects of the period included an ambitious north-west tower at St. John's, begun c. 1518; (fn. 189) the remaking of the steeple and main body of St. Mary's in the 1490s and early 1500s; the addition of two northern aisles to St. Peter's in the 1530s; a new chancel for St. Michael's in the 1490s; (fn. 190) and new cloisters for the nunnery in the 1520s. (fn. 191) Much of the work was supported by citizens, who, at least until the Dissolution, were clearly willing to spend fairly lavishly on their favourite ecclesiastical institutions. (fn. 192) Never of more than provincial significance, the work was generally of a lower quality than that of the 13th and 14th centuries, and in some instances, such as the clerestory of the abbey nave, notably austere.

The citizens were equally involved in the renewal of their public buildings, for which they obtained timber from their own estates or local religious houses, rather than the Crown's forests and parks. (fn. 193) A major project was the reconstruction of the Pentice in the 1460s and 1497. (fn. 194) In 1508 Roger Smith, a former sheriff, left money to convert his property in Commonhall Lane into almshouses, a bequest quickly augmented by the corporation, which converted the nearby common hall into a chapel for the new establishment. (fn. 195) A new common hall, probably envisaged from 1511, was eventually obtained in 1546 with the extensive refitting of the abandoned chapel of St. Nicholas. (fn. 196)

One or two important timber-framed domestic buildings were also built during the period, most notably Leche House (no. 17 Watergate Street), which probably dates from c. 1500 and provides a late example of a town house with a large hall over an undercroft and at right angles to the street. The only other significant structure surviving from the period is the timber-framed upper portion of the rear wing of nos. 48-50 Lower Bridge Street (the Old King's Head), which stretched west along Castle Lane above the remains of the Thorntons' stone-built mansion. (fn. 197)


  • 1. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), The Rows: Origin.
  • 2. Above, Later Medieval Chester: City Government, 1230- 1350 (Serjeants); City Government and Politics, 1350-1550 (Emergence of the Assembly; City Government, 1430-1506).
  • 3. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 12; Morris, Chester, 250-1; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 2/1; B.L. Harl. MS. 2158, ff. 31v., 36v. See map above, p. 36.
  • 4. C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 1, ff. 34v.-35v., 55 (modern fol.); Morris, Chester, 255-7; datable to mayoralty of Ric. Dutton (1567-8 or 1573-4): V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Lists of Mayors and Sheriffs.
  • 5. C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 3, m. 7; ibid. ZD/HT 18-19; B.L. Add. Ch. 75195; J.C.A.S. xxii. 119-28, 130.
  • 6. Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74; Cal. of Deeds and Papers of Moore Fam. (R.S.L.C. lxvii), no. 993; 3 Sheaf, xxxvi, pp. 3, 33; B.L. Add. Ch. 75161.
  • 7. Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 340; 3 Sheaf, xx, p. 69; J.C.A.S. xxxvii. 81.
  • 8. Morris, Chester, 255; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 15; J.C.A.S. N.S. ii. 166; x. 26; xxii. 127-9; 3 Sheaf, xxxvi, p. 32; B.L. Harl. MS. 2061, f. 15v.; C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 3, m. 7.
  • 9. B.L. Add. Ch. 50141, 50217; J.C.A.S. N.S. ii. 166-8; xxii. 127-9; 3 Sheaf, xxxvi, p. 32.
  • 10. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 13-14; Morris, Chester, 255; Sel. R. Chester City Cts. 85; J.C.A.S. xxii. 126-41; cf. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 156v.
  • 11. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 19; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 343; J.C.A.S. N.S. ii. 172; x. 27-8; Morris, Chester, 255; C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 20.
  • 12. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 156v.
  • 13. P.R.O., WALE 29/122, 272; C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 26.
  • 14. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, ff. 154v., 158.
  • 15. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 13; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, pp. 243-4, 276; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 36-7, 51-2; P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 5; B.L. Add. Ch. 72317, 72319.
  • 16. 3 Sheaf, xix, p. 83; xliii, pp. 10-11; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 134; C.C.A.L.S., DBA 35.
  • 17. J.C.A.S. xlv. 30; Morris, Chester, 50-1; Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 164.
  • 18. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 136v.; Hemingway, Hist. Chester, ii. 26.
  • 19. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 17; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. pp. 161, 204-5; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 339; 3 Sheaf, lvi, p. 72; B.L. Add. Ch. 72269; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/14.
  • 20. J.C.A.S. lv. 45.
  • 21. P.R.O., CHES 29/60, m. 12; J.R.U.L.M., Arley Deeds, box 25, nos. 13-14; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 134v.; 3 Sheaf, xix, p. 83.
  • 22. C.C.A.L.S., ZCR 469/542; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 339.
  • 23. Above, Later Medieval Chester: Economy and Society, 1230-1350 (Trades and Industries); V.C.H. Ches. v (2), The Rows: Physical Form (Selds).
  • 24. B.L. Add. Ch. 50058, 50089-99, 50117-18, 50152, 72207; C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 46; P.R.O., SC 6/771/5, m. 14; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74-5; 3 Sheaf, xxviii, p. 79.
  • 25. J.C.A.S. lv. 35; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 16; B.L. Add. Ch. 49979.
  • 26. V.C.H. Ches. iii. 183-4. Plate 30.
  • 27. Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, pp. 277-8.
  • 28. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 9; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 47; 3 Sheaf, xxxiii, pp. 81, 85; xliii, p. 10; B.L. Add. Ch. 72224; C.C.A.L.S., DBA 35; ibid. ZD/HT 1; Eaton Hall, CH 45.
  • 29. Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, pp. 467, 469.
  • 30. B.L. Add. Ch. 72224.
  • 31. J.C.A.S. xxxi. 7-9.
  • 32. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 21.
  • 33. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Lists of Mayors and Sheriffs; V.C.H. Ches. iii. 150.
  • 34. Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, pp. 467, 469.
  • 35. Morris, Chester, 256; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 143.
  • 36. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 8-9, 20; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/2-6, 13.
  • 37. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 134; 3 Sheaf, xix, pp. 72-3; Hist. of King's Works, ed. H. M. Colvin, i. 468.
  • 38. Eaton Hall, MS. 321; P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 5; B.L. Add. Ch. 75137.
  • 39. Cat. Anct. D. iii, C 3659; 3 Sheaf, xxiii, p. 49; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 137v.
  • 40. 3 Sheaf, xxxiii, pp. 73, 98; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74; Talbot Deeds, 1200-1682 (R.S.L.C. ciii), p. 18; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. pp. 155, 163; B.L. Add. Ch. 72238, 75143.
  • 41. V.C.H. Ches. i. 367 (no. 332).
  • 42. B.L. Add. Ch. 75151.
  • 43. Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 204.
  • 44. J.C.A.S. lv. 49-50.
  • 45. J.C.A.S. xxii. 123; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 11.
  • 46. e.g. B.L. Add. Ch. 72223.
  • 47. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 46, 48; V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Mills and Fisheries: Dee Corn Mills.
  • 48. Charters of A.-N. Earls, p. 281; Coucher Bk. or Chartulary of Whalley Abbey, ii (Chetham Soc. [o.s.], xi), pp. 347-8; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 40; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 210.
  • 49. Eaton Hall, MS. 321.
  • 50. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 11; B.L. Add. Ch. 75142, 75145, 75171; Coucher Bk. Whalley Abbey, ii, pp. 345-6; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 256; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74.
  • 51. Cat. Anct. D. vi, C 5270; B.L. Add. Ch. 75171.
  • 52. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 11; Morris, Chester, 51; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. ii. 14-15; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 139 (quoted 3 Sheaf, xx, pp. 52-3); ibid. Add. Ch. 50177; P.R.O., SC 6/784/7.
  • 53. C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/20; 3 Sheaf, lvi, pp. 72-3.
  • 54. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 10-11; Coucher Bk. Whalley Abbey, ii, pp. 345-8; Eaton Hall, CH 45, 53; B.L. Add. Ch. 72233; V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Lists of Mayors and Sheriffs.
  • 55. B.L. Add. Ch. 49971; Coucher Bk. Whalley Abbey, ii, pp. 343-5; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 44-5; J.C.A.S. lv. 43.
  • 56. Cal. Close, 1288-96, 422; Ches. in Pipe R. 160.
  • 57. J.C.A.S. N.S. v. 175-206; lv. 43; 1 Sheaf, i, pp. 268-9; Morris, Chester, 108-10.
  • 58. Morris, Chester, 256.
  • 59. B.L. Add. Ch. 75178.
  • 60. Ibid. Add. Ch. 72233, 75148, 75154, 75156-7, 75180, 75182, 75184; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 18-20, 34; Talbot Deeds, pp. 22, 27.
  • 61. B.L. Add. Ch. 75148, 75151, 75156-7, 75162, 75168-70, 75173, 75180, 75182, 75184; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CII/16; Morris, Chester, 256; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. i. 356.
  • 62. B.L. Add. Ch. 75142.
  • 63. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 46, 49-50; J.C.A.S. lv. 43; 37 D.K.R. App. II, p. 370; Morris, Chester, 297; B.L. Add. Ch. 75142; ibid. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 165v.; C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 3, ff. 2v., 196; ZCCH 2/8; ZCCH 2/10.
  • 64. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Medieval Parish Churches.
  • 65. C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 3, m. 12; B.L. Add. Ch. 50032; P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 5; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 41-2.
  • 66. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Markets: General Produce Markets.
  • 67. J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 23; lv. 34-6; 3 Sheaf, lvi, pp. 23-4, 61-2, 68, 82, 88, 96; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/2-6, 13, 36.
  • 68. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 10, 15; Morris, Chester, 256; 3 Sheaf, xliii, p. 11; C.C.A.L.S., DBA 35; B.L. Add. Ch. 72324.
  • 69. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Medieval Parish Churches.
  • 70. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 140; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 16; Morris, Chester, 256.
  • 71. J.C.A.S. lv. 40; cf. an indictment of 1686 for stopping up an ancient way that led from Goss Lane to Northgate Street: C.C.A.L.S., ZAB 3, f. 8v.
  • 72. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 14, 41; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 41-2; lv. 42; Cal. Deeds Moore Fam. nos. 1021, 1036; 3 Sheaf, xxvii, p. 83; Coucher Bk. Whalley Abbey, ii, pp. 340-1; B.L. Add. Ch. 50032.
  • 73. B.L. Add. Ch. 49980, 50089, 50143; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 20; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 73; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 12-13.
  • 74. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 20; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 35; B.L. Add. Ch. 50013, 50059, 50175.
  • 75. B.L. Add. Ch. 49985, 50059; 3 Sheaf, xxviii, pp. 59-60.
  • 76. B.L. Add. Ch. 50202; Cal. Deeds Moore Fam. no. 1009; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 12.
  • 77. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Municipal Buildings: Pentice; The Rows: Origin and Early Development.
  • 78. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Fairs.
  • 79. Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 213; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. pp. 155-6; Cal. Pat. 1272-81, 104-5.
  • 80. Cf. B.L. Add. Ch. 50020, 50028, 50054, 50068; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, pp. 237-42.
  • 81. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 12; J.C.A.S. lv. 39-40; B.L. Add. Ch. 49980, 50089.
  • 82. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 16-17; J.C.A.S. lv. 36-7; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 242; ii, p. 345; 3 Sheaf, xxxvii, p. 35; B.L. Add. Ch. 50143.
  • 83. J.C.A.S. lxvii. 39-41; Burne, Monks, 46; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 119.
  • 84. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 9, 16-17; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 198; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 22; B.L. Add. Ch. 49985, 50059, 50185.
  • 85. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 16, 66; King's Vale Royal [ii], 23; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 150v.
  • 86. For dates and sites of religious houses: V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Sites and Remains of Medieval Religious Houses.
  • 87. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 9; J.C.A.S. lv. 39; Morris, Chester, 256; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/37.
  • 88. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 9, 12, 17; J.C.A.S. lv. 36-9; Morris, Chester, 256.
  • 89. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 40-1; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74-5; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, pp. 467-8; P.R.O., SC 6/771/5, m. 4; B.L. Add. Ch. 50202, 72211.
  • 90. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 9, 40; J.C.A.S. lv. 30-9; 3 Sheaf, xxviii, pp. 59-60; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, pp. 346, 468; B.L. Add. Ch. 49985, 50059, 72277.
  • 91. J.C.A.S. lv. 38; 3 Sheaf, xxxiii, p. 117; xl, pp. 1-2.
  • 92. C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 75, m. 1; ZMR 81, m. 1; ZMR 98. Thanks are due to Dr. J. Laughton for the references.
  • 93. C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 1, 30-1; 3 Sheaf, xxxiii, p. 71; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 153; Cal. Deeds Moore Fam. no. 998.
  • 94. e.g. B.L. Add. Ch. 50053, 50078, 50099, 50134; P.R.O., WALE 29/333; C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 35; 3 Sheaf, xxxvi, p. 16; Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 477; Ches. Chamb. Accts. 74; J.C.A.S. N.S. iv. 178-85.
  • 95. Cat. Anct. D. iii, C 3291; 3 Sheaf, xxiii, p. 49.
  • 96. Sel. R. Chester City Cts. 118.
  • 97. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 79-80; Morris, Chester, 255; Cat. Anct. D. iii, C 3684; vi, C 4636.
  • 98. J.C.A.S. N.S. iv. 179-80; Sel. R. Chester City Cts. 102-3.
  • 99. P.R.O., C 146/3653, 3682, 4044, 5512, 6335, 6339, 6341; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 195; cf. C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 5, m. 4d.
  • 100. P.R.O., WALE 29/138; SC 6/784/5, m. 5; Eaton Hall, MS. 321; C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 18, 31; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. pp. 165, 171.
  • 101. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 65-6, 68-9.
  • 102. Ibid. iv. 130, 146-8; v (1:i), 66, 74; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. ii. 813; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 188; J.C.A.S. N.S. x. 35-6, 43-7; B.L. Add. Ch. 50035, 50188; J.R.U.L.M., Arley Deeds, box 1, no. 53; P.R.O., CHES 19/1, m. 27; CHES 25/1, m. 3.
  • 103. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 65-6; Ann. Cest. 86, 88; Cart. Chester Abbey, i, p. 213; ii, pp. 349-50; C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 7/1; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 182.
  • 104. P.R.O., WALE 29/17, 138; B.L. Add. Ch. 50053, 50078, 50135, 75190; C.C.A.L.S., DBA 35; 3 Sheaf, xxxvi, pp. 2-3; xlii, no. 8940; Cat. Anct. D. iii, C 3356.
  • 105. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 73; cf. P.R.O., WALE 29/19, 109.
  • 106. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 73; 1 Sheaf, ii, pp. 376-7.
  • 107. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 74; B.L. Add. Ch. 50138, 72304, 75166, 75171; P.R.O., WALE 29/138.
  • 108. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 67, 74-5; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, pp. 349- 50, 357; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 182.
  • 109. C.C.A.L.S., EDD 12/1, 4.
  • 110. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 76-7; Morris, Chester, 255; J.C.A.S. N.S.X. 35; lv. 42, 47; 3 Sheaf, xxx, pp. 6, 114; xxxvi, p. 20; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 273; B.L. Add. Ch. 49984, 50102, 50105, 50135, 50143, 72248-9, 72257-8, 72265-6, 72283; C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 37.
  • 111. e.g. 36 D.K.R. App. II, p. 91.
  • 112. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 78; Morris, Chester, 255; B.L. Harl. MS. 2073, f. 98; Harl. MS. 7568, f. 176.
  • 113. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Collegiate Church of St. John.
  • 114. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 76; Morris, Chester, 49, 255.
  • 115. Morris, Chester, 255; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 78; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 176.
  • 116. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 75; Morris, Chester, 255; Cat. Anct. D. iii, C 3653, 3682; vi, C 4636; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 176v.
  • 117. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 52-6; B.L. Add. Ch. 72268; C.C.A.L.S., EDT 96/2.
  • 118. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 48, 57-8, 61; C.C.A.L.S., EDT 96/2; B.L. Add. Ch. 72199, 72201-2, 72204, 72213, 72217, 72226, 72229, 72279-80.
  • 119. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 49; C.C.A.L.S., EDT 96/2; B.L. Add. Ch. 75140; P.R.O., CHES 29/11, m. 4d.
  • 120. P.N. Ches. iv. 159; v (1:i), 56-8; Morris, Chester, 497; C.C.A.L.S., EDT 96/2.
  • 121. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 56; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, ff. 130, 160v., 210.
  • 122. Close R. 1247-51, 237, 347, 419-20.
  • 123. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 210v.; P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 50; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. i. 373.
  • 124. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 47-8; P.R.O., SC 6/790/5, m. 4.
  • 125. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Medieval Chapels: St. James (Handbridge).
  • 126. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 46-7.
  • 127. Ibid. 60-1; B.L. Add. Ch. 50114, 72307; C.C.A.L.S., EDT 96/2.
  • 128. B.L. Add. Ch. 72205, 72219, 72246, 72252, 72254, 72268, 75142; P.R.O., CHES 29/1; J.C.A.S. N.S. X. 33, 41; P.N. Ches. iv. 161-2; v (1:i), 53.
  • 129. Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 159; Cal. Inq. Misc. i, pp. 127-8.
  • 130. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 66, 70, 72; B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 182v.
  • 131. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 65.
  • 132. Ibid. i. 23-4; iv. 170; v (1:i), 68, 70-2; Ormerod, Hist. Ches. i. 372; ii. 385; Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 204; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 352; 3 Sheaf, lvi, p. 6; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/39.
  • 133. Cal. Ches. Ct. R. p. 163.
  • 134. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 70.
  • 135. Ibid. 40, 74; C.C.A.L.S., DVE 1/CI/39; EDD 12/1, 4; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 374; Cal. Deeds Moore Fam. no. 1015.
  • 136. C.C.A.L.S., EDD 12/1, 4; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 352.
  • 137. P.N. Ches. iv. 144; v (1:i), 68, 72; 3 Sheaf, xxxiii, pp. 116-17.
  • 138. P.R.O., WALE 29/246, 249-52, 255-6, 258.
  • 139. P.N. Ches. v (1:i), 70.
  • 140. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), City Walls and Gates: Gates, Posterns, and Towers (Water Tower); Open Spaces and Parks: Roodee.
  • 141. J.C.A.S. xiii. 103-4; Cal. Pat. 1399-1401, 301.
  • 142. e.g. C.C.A.L.S., ZCHD 2/3-7; P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 5.
  • 143. Above, this section (Extramural and Suburban Development).
  • 144. Below, this subsection, for the Stone Seld and other bldgs.
  • 145. Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 33-54.
  • 146. King's Works, i. 396.
  • 147. V.C.H. Ches. ii. 176.
  • 148. For details: V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Medieval Parish Churches; Cathedral and Close; Castle; City Walls and Gates; Sites and Remains of Medieval Religious Houses.
  • 149. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), The Rows.
  • 150. Below, this subsection.
  • 151. C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 6.
  • 152. O.S. Map 1/500, Ches. XXXVIII.11.17 (1875 edn.).
  • 153. C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 6; J.C.A.S. N.S. vi. 55.
  • 154. C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 30, m. 5.
  • 155. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Cathedral and Close: Monastic Buildings to 1541.
  • 156. J. Bony, Eng. Decorated Style, 14, 76; V. Jansen, 'Superposed Wall Passages and Triforium Elevation of St. Werburgh's, Chester', Jnl. Soc. Archit. Historians, xxxviii. 223-43.
  • 157. Jnl. Brit. Arch. Assoc. cxxix. 15-34. Plate 6.
  • 158. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Cathedral and Close: Abbey Church to 1541.
  • 159. J. M. Maddison, 'Decorated Archit. in NW. Midlands' (Manchester Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1978), 265-6.
  • 160. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Medieval Parish Churches: St. Peter; Cathedral and Close: Abbey Church to 1541.
  • 161. S. Cather, D. Park, and R. Pender, 'Henry III's Wall Paintings at Chester Cast.' Medieval Arch., Art, and Archit. at Chester, ed. A. Thacker, 170-89.
  • 162. J.C.A.S. lix. 47.
  • 163. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Sites and Remains of Medieval Religious Houses.
  • 164. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Cathedral and Close: Abbey Church to 1541; Castle: Buildings.
  • 165. B.L. Add. Ch. 72224; Cart. Chester Abbey, ii, p. 340; C.C.A.L.S., ZD/HT 6.
  • 166. i.e. nos. 11, 21, and 37 Watergate St., 28 Eastgate St., and 12 Bridge St.; cf. evidence for stone vaulting at nos. 28-34 and 63-5 Watergate St., 12 and 17 Eastgate St., and 27 Northgate St.: Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 38-40; J.C.A.S. xlv. 12, 22-3. Plate 33.
  • 167. Rest of subsection largely based on Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 40-2.
  • 168. S. Ward, Excavations at Chester: 12 Watergate St. 36-7.
  • 169. Ibid.
  • 170. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), The Rows: Physical Form (Selds).
  • 171. 3 Sheaf, xix, pp. 72-3; Sel. R. Chester City Cts. 114-15.
  • 172. B.L. Add. Ch. 75178.
  • 173. J.R.U.L.M., Arley Deeds, box 25, nos. 13-14; cf. B.L. Harl. MS. 7568, f. 134v.
  • 174. J.R.U.L.M., Arley Deeds, box 25, no. 16.
  • 175. C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 52, m. 1. Thanks are due to Dr. Laughton for supplying the reference.
  • 176. Detailed descriptions in Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 164, 166-7, 184.
  • 177. e.g. at nos. 48-52 Bridge Street and 38-42 Watergate Street.
  • 178. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), The Rows: Origin and Early Development.
  • 179. B.L. Add. Ch. 75161.
  • 180. Pers. comm. Dr. R. Harris (Dept. of Arch., Univ. of Reading).
  • 181. Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 176-7.
  • 182. Pers. comm. S. W. Ward (Chester Arch.).
  • 183. Morris, Chester, 520, 523.
  • 184. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Medieval Parish Churches.
  • 185. Ibid. Sites and Remains of Medieval Religious Houses.
  • 186. e.g. P.R.O., SC 6/784/5, m. 5; SC 6/796/6, m. 9; SC 11/890, m. 1; B.L. Harl. MS. 2158, f. 211; C.C.A.L.S., ZMR 52, m. 1; Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 63-75. Thanks are due to Dr. Laughton for the MS. references.
  • 187. B.L. Harl. MS. 2176, f. 27 and v.; J.C.A.S. xxxix. 48; S. W. Ward, Excavations at Chester: Lesser Medieval Religious Houses, 69-71.
  • 188. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Cathedral and Close: Abbey Church to 1541, Monastic Buildings to 1541.
  • 189. Ibid. Collegiate Church of St. John.
  • 190. Ibid. Medieval Parish Churches.
  • 191. Ibid. Sites and Remains of Medieval Religious Houses.
  • 192. Above, Later Medieval Chester: Religion.
  • 193. e.g. C.C.A.L.S., ZMUR 1/3; B.L. Harl. MS. 2158, ff. 210v.- 211.
  • 194. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Municipal Buildings: Pentice.
  • 195. V.C.H. Ches. iii. 183-4; V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Sites and Remains of Medieval Religious Houses: Hospital of St. Ursula.
  • 196. V.C.H. Ches. v (2), Municipal Buildings: Common Hall.
  • 197. Rows of Chester, ed. Brown, 168, 178-9.