Places: Chester, St John
CHESTER, St JOHN
The collegiate church of St John played an important role in the religious and civic life of Chester and was home to a number of chantries plus the guild or fraternity of St Anne, many of which had chapels within the church. It had acquired an important relic, the Rood of Chester, which generated income for the college from the offerings of pilgrims until it was removed in the mid-1530s.
The consistory court of the archdeacon of Chester was held at St John’s until it was removed to the cathedral after the foundation of the new diocese in 1541. In 1547 or 1548 the college was dissolved, its church became a parish church and the advowson passed to the Crown by whom it was granted or sold to a series of lay patrons, including Alexander Cotes who acquired it in 1587 and came into conflict with the parishioners.
After the dissolution the building was too large for the parishioners to maintain, the eastern part fell into decay and in the 1570s the north-west tower collapsed onto the west end of the church which was rebuilt at great cost.
The volumes of the Victoria County History of Cheshire covering the city of Chester are available online: