An ancient Proclamation dating back to 1352 will mark the end of a restoration project on the Market Cross in the centre of Carlisle.
The Proclamation is a declaration of the City Council’s rights to hold an annual Fair in August, originally granted to the citizens of Carlisle in 1352 by Edward III.
The six week programme aimed to bring the city centre’s historic monument back to life was done by Carlisle City Council, with specialist help from heritage architectural firm St Astier and English Heritage.
Technically the monument is an Ionic column on a square base set upon five circular steps.
Bonnie Prince Charlie proclaimed his father King in this area in 1745.
The acknowledged end to the Cumbria Way is the Market Cross in front of the Old Town Hall in Carlisle.
The Market Cross is made up of a series of pieces of stone all held together using cast-iron dowels and pegs. These have corroded over time, causing the stone to expand and crack.
They have been replaced with stainless steel pins, new steps have been carved and the old worn ones replaced and the Lion, an important element of the stone work, has been extensively repaired.
Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr. Mike Mitchelson, said:
“The restoration programme is a skilled and time consuming job, which has all been possible as a result of careful preparation and the use of our, and partners, skilled professionals. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved and hope the Market Cross continues to play a major part in the day to day comings and goings in the city centre.”
New plaque installed
At the base of the monument a new brass coloured plaque has been installed with the City crest in bright red and green at the top.
“Carlisle Cross, Market Cross, or Carel Cross was erected in 1682 on the site of an older cross.
The lion on top has one of it’s paws on the dormant book of the city. Below are four sundials.”
An inscription on the North Face reads “Joseph Reed, Mayor, 1682”
Carlisle held its first official fair, Carel Fair, in 1353
It is said that the lion, holding a copy of the City’s Charter, at the top of the monument faces Scotland but snarls defiantly to the west.
Market Cross Pub
On the other side of the Atlantic, in Carlisle Pennsylvania, is a pub with close links to the scheduled monument called the Market Cross Pub.
This communal gathering place was started in 1994 and features it’s own brewery.
Other websites of interest
Old Cumbria Gazetteer – features prints of how the market cross looked in years gone by.
English Heritage – Information about the cross