Chichester Market Cross weather vane restored to former glory

Peter Roberts with the weather vane. KS1500560-1 SUS-150311-181954008
Peter Roberts with the weather vane. KS1500560-1 SUS-150311-181954008

A CHANCE encounter has led to an iconic weather vane being regilded in its original design.

The weather vane on top of Chichester’s Market Cross had to be removed in 2014 as the structure beneath it was cracking up and needed repairing.

Upon recovering it, Chichester City Council realised a lot of the painting had faded away and needed redoing. But with no close-up photographs of the original or design drawings this seemed unlikely.

However, Ian Harris – the Chichester man who last painted it more than 30 years ago – brought his family into the council house and bumped into town clerk Rodney Duggua.

“Rodney mentioned the weather vane and said ‘we’re having problems because it’s worn away and we’re struggling to find any drawings with the original design’,” said Peter Roberts, the city council’s property manager.

“He said: ‘I can help with that because I painted it many years ago.”

Now, the restored weather vane sits in Peter’s office, waiting for other repairs on the cross to be carried out so it can be reinstated.

Peter described the Market Cross as the ‘jewel in the city’s crown’, adding it was a privilege to care for it and ensure it was enjoyed by future generations.

In 2014, the stone orb that supported the weather vane was removed as it was cracking up.

A couple of weeks ago, more survey work was carried out on the Market Cross and the council is now waiting on Historic England to approve the work needed to restore the landmark.

The council commissioned Richard Glover to carry out the surveying work and complete a report.

This report will be submitted to Historic England as part of a scheduled monument consent application to undertake the recommended works,” said Peter.

“At this stage we do not know the scope of the works that will be recommended but once we have that information we will go out to tender with specialist contractors and take steps to obtain the necessary funding.”

He said hopefully the work could be carried out next 
spring.

“There’s a lot of heritage here and it’s a privilege to look after it,” added Peter.

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