National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

A Cross


Type Shaft

     A crude base-stone just above ground level. It is a low, rectangular base upon which is a plinth. Surmounting these is part of a damaged, square, vertical shaft. Originally the cross consisted of a squarish pillar set upon a base, on top of which was a figure of Christ upon the cross. The shaft has been roughly cemented in two layers to the blinth and base.
     Traditionally believed to be Saxon, but it is more probably a boundary stone from the thirteenth century land belonging to St.Mary's Priory (no longer standing) which stood between Chester castle and the Roodee. It was found lying beneath the city walls and, in 1855, re-sited in this position. The race course derives its name from the Saxon 'Rood', meaning a cross, and 'Eye', a Norse suffix meaning an island. The Roodee can therefore be translated as meaning 'The Island of the Cross'. Its furthest boundary is the River Dee, and in Saxon times the water at high tide covered the area with an exception of an 'eye', upon which stood a stone cross. The cross mentioned in this entry still marks the site, but is of a much later date. The spelling in Braun's 'Map of Chester' is 'Roodeye' and this is the form found in most early English documents. The Latin form, 'Oculus' has been found in certain medieval documents. 'Oculus' in Classical Latin could mean glory or ornament, but it seems here to be literally 'eye' in a physical sense, giving a literal translation of the 'eye of the cross'. Other theories as to the origin of the stone include one which suggests it was a stone to guide ships safely to harbour when the Roodee was a port or that it was erected as a monument to Lady Harwarden whose dead body floated down the Dee until coming to rest at this spot.

Contributor details

Contributor Role
known, Not Not Known

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Base Red sandstone 112 x 130 x 110
Plinth Red sandstone 58 x 106 x 37
Shaft Red sandstone 38 x 80 x 34

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Poor
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
  • Bird guano
  • Abrasions, cracks, splits
  • Biological growth
Structural condition
  • Broken, missing parts
  • None
Road The Roodee (Race Course)
Precise location On the east side of the Roodee Racecourse.
A-Z ref R11
OS ref SJ401665
Date of design Possibly Saxon or thirteenth century.
Year of unveiling 1855
Unveiling details None
Commissioned by None
Duty of care Chester City Council
Listing status II*
At risk? At Risk

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