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David Ford, History EditorTours > Winchester

Tour the City of Winchester
by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Butter Cross

Properly the City's 'High Cross,' the Market or Butter Cross in Winchester High Street is a remarkable piece of mid-15th century craftsmenship featuring statues of kings and saints amongst pinnacled splendor. The present name dates from the early 19th century when vendors of dairy produce traded here. The cross stands forty-three foot high, huddled amongst the timber-framed overhangs of the surrounding buildings. The area must be little changed from those far off days when medieval hawkers and peddlers and market traders gathered around the cross to sell their wares.

As part of a long-term plan to improve the city streets, the cross was in grave danger of being demolished in the late 18th century. However, vehement local opposition prevented this. By 1865, the monolith had been fully restored to its medieval glory and it became the popular meeting place that it remains today.

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