Market Cross

What do you think the Market cross was built for?

A buttercross, is a type of market cross associated with English market towns and dating from medieval times. Its name originates from the fact that they were located at the market place, where people from neighbouring villages would gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs. The fresh produce was laid out and displayed on the circular stepped bases of the cross.

A charter to hold a weekly market was granted by King John in 1201 in return for an annual fee of a trained goshawk. 

Markets are no longer held but the buttercross remains at the centre of a shopping area.

The Butter Cross at Tattershall is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base, including a carved medieval knop surviving in good condition. Situated in the market-place, it is believed to stand in or near its original position. Limited development of the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument’s construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. While parts of the cross survive from medieval times, subsequent restoration has resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

The base includes five steps, all octagonal in plan. The lowest step is modern and is constructed of red sandstone blocks and concrete resting on a concrete foundation. The four upper steps are medieval and are constructed of limestone blocks, partially restored and now held together by iron clamps. On the uppermost step rests the socket-stone, a large square slab with moulded and chamfered corners. Set into the middle of the socket-stone is the shaft, square in section at the base with chamfered corners tapering upwards in octagonal section. The knop is elaborately carved with alternating shields and figures; above is a frieze of blind arches. Both the shaft and the knop are medieval. The head takes the form of a crucifix with foliate terminals and represents a modern addition to the cross. The full height of the cross is approximately 5.7m.

What shops can you see around you?

Why not visit some of them to see what you can find?

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