St John's Church

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7 The Green, Chester, United Kingdom
01606 77277

St John's Church Chester Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
648 reviews
St John's Church Apr 25, 2010
St John’s church is the original cathedral church of Chester, which was downgraded in favour of the current cathedral. It is nicer and more interesting than the main cathedral.

The church is very old, and has beautiful semi-circular arches from the Norman era rather than later pointy ones. It was a centre of pilgrimage in the early middle ages, because it claimed to have a fragment of the True Cross – there is a reconstruction of the reliquary, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

After the dissolution of the monasteries, the church didn’t need to be so big so they shortened it. The ruins of the sections they didn’t need are in the grounds and you can have a look around. Set high in the wall of the ruins is an Anglo Saxon coffin, with the words “dust to dust” engraved on it. It is quite spooky up there – it was put up as a memento mori (reminder of death – “we’re all going to die soon, pray more and be nice to people!)” when there was a high wall around the church ruins a couple of centuries ago, so that everyone could see it.

The church is right next to the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, which is in the process of being refurbished by English Heritage. To my mind, it has been refurbished so much that it looks too fake, and I just walked past it. It might be OK when it is finished. More interesting is Grosvener park, which is next to St John’s and very lovely in the spring. It is full of flowers and nice lawns, and has some more ruined churches and what looks like a holy well run dry, and is free so well worth a walk.
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