Photographer's Note

The Anchorite's Cell or 'Hermitage' is a small sandstone building by the river Dee at the Groves. It dates from the mid 14th century and was one of two 'cells' built as religious retreats for reclusive monks or hermits. Until the reformation it belonged to the collegiate Church of St. John the Baptist which stands on the sandstone ridge above the river.

The building stands on a sandstone outcrop in a former quarry, which is now used as a bowling green. It was re-modelled as a house in the 19th century, when gothic traceried windows were added. The porch on the north side originally came from St. Martin's Church which was demolished in 1897. The Anchorite's Cell was refurbished as a cottage in the early 1970s.

Tradition has lent the building royal and romantic associations. According to scribe and historian Gerald Of Wales (1146-1223), King Harold had not been killed at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but fled to Chester, ending his days as a hermit in the Anchorite's Cell.

There have also been reported sightings of a ghost - who is thought to follow a route up from the river bank, through the railings of the present Hermitage, and along a secret underground passage that connects the Anchorite Cell with nearby St.John's Church. It has also been described as crossing the bowling green to the Anchorite Cell.

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