The High Cross

The High Cross marker at the end of High Street in October 2012

The High Cross marker at the end of High Street in October 2012

In medieval times the High Street was the most important street in the town and it ran from the North Gate to the South Gate.  In contrast to the other streets in the area, High Street was paved so it was aptly named to signify that it was higher than the other streets. It later became known as Highcross Street and the High Cross itself stood at the junction of the modern High Street and Highcross Street.

From the 12th century this area was the economic heart of Leicester and country folk would bring their produce to sell at the Wednesday market.  From the late 14th century a Friday market was also held. In 1577 a High Cross was erected to provide some shelter and it consisted of eight pillars in a circle surmounted by an eight-sided dome.  Unfortunately, it gradually fell into disrepair and by 1773 most of it was pulled down to allow room for carriages to pass by.  Just a single pillar remained and a cross of granite set into the roadway now marks the spot where it once stood.

The High Cross pillar in Leicester Market, October 2012

The High Cross pillar in Leicester Market, October 2012

The single pillar has had many homes since then including the Crescent in King Street, the garden of a private house on Gwendolen Road and the garden of Newarke Houses Museum. In 1977 the Leicester Rotary Club celebrated their sixtieth anniversary by moving the High Cross to the market place at Cheapside. The 16th century High Cross monument pillar was moved to Jubilee Square in 2014; it's now close to its original position at the centre of the medieval town.

The High Cross pillar in Jubilee Square, 2015

The High Cross pillar in Jubilee Square, 2015