The Obelisk in Preston’s market square was The place to catch the attention of the people of Preston and the surrounding communities as they arrived here for trading. Proclamations, announcements and sermons were all delivered beneath this ‘Facebook’ of its day.
The Mormon Elders preached beneath this obelisk on a number of occasions where “both rich and poor…flocked from all parts to ‘hear what these dippers had to say.” (The Elders were often referred to as ‘dippers’ due to baptism by immersion.) We know that Isaac Russell, Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde all stood here and preached. The buildings the early missionaries would have seen around the square have gone, but the obelisk still stands in pride of place – a silent witness to their arrival and preaching.
Many a missionary followed in their footsteps including Gordon B. Hinckley (1933) and M. Russell Ballard (1948) who both addressed Prestonians in this square. They, however, would not have been able to preach beneath the obelisk as it was at that point serving as gateposts at someone’s home. Now, restored to its former glory, it is a nice link to that bygone time.
This structure was the inspiration for the name of my tour app www.obelisktours.co.uk
Obelisks and crosses are often found in market places throughout the country. They are at the heart of the community. A meeting place. The place for news and entertainment. In a like manner the self guided tours on the app aim to get to the heart of a place and to educate, entertain and inspire.