A pair of stone pedestals define the new public open space. They evoke the old stone town pump which once sat in this location. The pedestals have been designed on Roman architectural principles and include plaques which are engraved to mark important dates in the history of Cirencester.
“CORINIUM WAS FIRST RECORDED BY PTOLEMY AD 150, CIRENCESTER MARKET PLACE WAS RECORDED IN THE DOMESDAY SURVEY OF 1086.”
The other inscription is taken from a Romano-British acrostic or word-square scratched into a piece of wall plaster dating from the 2nd century AD. It was found during excavations at Victoria Road, Cirencester in 1868. The acrostic is now on display at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester.
“THE GREAT SOWER AREPO HOLDS THE WHEEL WITH FORCE”
The acrostic is held by many to be a secret Christian sign. The twenty-five letters can be re-arranged as APATERNOSTERO (repeated twice). This contains both the word Paternoster (an analgram of the first two words of the Lord's Prayer) and the A and O, alpha and omega, referring to Christ as the beginning and the end.
There were 12 bells in the church tower until 1985 when an additional bell was added and their regular chimes are an intrinsic part of the Market Place.
For very practical reasons there have to be numerous bollards and the opportunity has been taken to represent the bells with three bollards made entirely in the shape of bells. A further nine of the bollards around the public space in the Market Place include a more subtle bell motif.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST IS A WOOL CHURCH – IT WAS PAID FOR BY WEALTHY FAMILIES FROM THE PROCEEDS OF THE MEDIEVAL WOOL TRADE.
During the 11th and 12th centuries the English wool trade flourished and Cotswold wool was thought the finest in Europe. The Cotswold breed of sheep was prized for its high growth rate and heavy wool clip and became known as the Cotswold Lion. By the 14th century foreign merchants were settling in Cirencester which was the centre of the Cotswold wool sales.