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The floors above the level of the Rows are used for commercial or domestic purposes, or for storage.
The Rows are present, to a greater or lesser degree, in all the streets radiating from Chester Cross, namely Watergate Street, Northgate Street, Eastgate Street and Upper Bridge Street.
Undercrofts or "crypts" were constructed beneath the buildings in the Rows.
The undercrofts were in stone while most of the buildings in the Rows were in timber.
but it is unlikely that they originated before 1200.
In time, the properties were improved and, possibly during the 13th century, cellars or undercrofts were excavated in the debris beneath them.They are continuous on both sides of Upper Bridge Street, along most of Watergate and Eastgate Street, but only for a short stretch along the east side of Northgate Street.Originally there were also Rows in Lower Bridge Street but these were blocked during the 17th and 18th centuries.From this, the suggestion has been made that there was "a general undertaking by the citizens of Chester ...to improve the commercial potential of their property by providing two-level access for customers".