The Missing Link: Spaces, Places, and the Chester Whitsun Plays

  • Theodore K. Lerud
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


On August 4, 1499, Prince Arthur, oldest son of King Henry VII, visited the town of Chester. Presumably he entered town by way of the Bridge-gate, just north of the bridge over the River Dee, the traditional beginning point for a royal entry—just as King James would over 100 years later in 1616. Royal visitors often combined a visit to Chester with a stop at the great Cheshire Abbey of Vale Royal just south of the city; it is not recorded whether Arthur made such a stop. He was no doubt formally greeted at the gate by town dignitaries, including the mayor and prominent citizens, as well as quite probably the powerful Abbot of St. Werburgh, John Birchenshawe. Ten years later, after Henry had issued a new charter to the city that substantially curtailed the abbot’s rights—limiting them to the Northgate area immediately adjacent to the Abbey—Birchenshawe’s access to such royal visitors might have been restricted; however, in 1499 he still enjoyed significant power.


City Wall Locational Symbolism Bridge Street Virtual Extension Royal Prerogative 
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  1. 3.
    R.V.H. Burne, The Monks of Chester (London: S.P.C.K., 1962), p. 142.Google Scholar

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© Theodore K. Lerud 2008

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  • Theodore K. Lerud

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