Hidden room inside ancient West Sussex structure

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

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 12:14 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.

Mystery of Chichester's 'secret tunnels' continues as woman's tale leaves investigators intriguedIn 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.

The old clock mechanism

These days the clocks are electric but the mechanism remains.

Chichester's secret tunnels mystery: Shop owner shares his curious findOver 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."

Chichester's Market Cross as viewed from West Street
Another mechanism in the room and inscriptions on the walls
From the roof of the cross looking towards East Street