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BROWNS OF CHESTER

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A Gothic Revival stone facade by T M Penson built in 1858 as an extension to Brown's drapers shop. It fronts two medieval plots. That to the west has one of the most impressive vaulted sandstone undercrofts in the Rows. Measuring 12.95 x 4.2 metres internally, it has a four-bay quadripartite vault with chamfered cross, diagonal and ridge ribs. Of the same construction phase is the restored former street frontage with a doorway and flanking lancets. The distinctive sunk chamfers on the jambs place the undercroft between the late 1290s and circa 1320. To the east of the undercroft is a medieval passage which must have led to a separate rear structure, either at undercroft or, less probably at Row level. Usage as a department store has removed most of Penson's interior detail, although at the front of the Row + 1 level there is an intact mid 19th century office.

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