Leicester’s High Cross monument has been relocated close to its original 16th century location as construction work at Jubilee Square nears completion.
The single stone pillar, which stood close to Leicester Market in Cheapside since 1977, will be moved to the High Street side of Jubilee Square, where it once marked the historic heart of the town.
In medieval times, the High Street ran from the North Gate to the South Gate and would have been the most important street in the town. By the 12th century, this area had become the economic heart of Leicester and weekly markets were held there.
The High Cross was built in 1577 to provide shelter on this important road. The original structure consisted of eight pillars in a circle, mounted with an eight-sided dome. It fell into disrepair over the next two centuries and was pulled down in 1773.
Just a single pillar survived. This had many homes over the years, including The Crescent in King Street, the garden of a private house in Gwendolen Road, and Newarke Houses Museum.
In 1977, the Leicester Rotary Club marked its sixtieth anniversary by moving the High Cross to its current location by Leicester Market.
Hirst Conservation have carried out the restoration and relocation of the High Cross. The Lincolnshire-based conservation specialists also carried the relocation of Leicester’s statue of Richard III to its new home in Cathedral Gardens.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Jubilee Square provides a new connection between our modern city centre and the rich heritage of the Old Town.”
“The High Cross itself is a monument to centuries of local history and this is the perfect opportunity to return it close to where it originally stood.”
The relocation of the High Cross is being carried out as construction work at Jubilee Square nears completion. The final phase of work will take place in November when a range of mature trees will be planted.