Hidden room inside Chichester's Market Cross

The Market Cross is a familiar sight for Chichester residents but many people will be unaware there is more to the ancient structure than meets the eye.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 6:26 pm

Believed to have been built in 1501, the Market Cross was made to allow the peasants of the city to sell their wares for without having to pay a fee.

In 1808 the city's population had grown considerably and so a new larger dedicated market area was allocated and the structure's eight arches were blocked off.

In modern times the cross has become a popular meeting place but many of its admirers may not know that above the building is a small space which is home to the electrical wiring for the lights outside, as well as an historic clock mechanism, which was used for clocks on the outside

Market Cross as viewed from West Street

These days the clocks are electric but the mechanism remains.

Over the years visitors to the room have scratched their names into the stone walls.

Inscriptions include: "C. Muller 2016", "Kilroy was here", "17/12/62", "Ryan Pearce 18/12/08", "1976".

One plaque in the space dates back to 1903: "In commemoration of the coronation of King Edward VII this cross was repaired by public subscription."

The clock mechanism
The roof of the structure looking along East Street
Another mechanism in the room