This old water supply had no direct ‘holy’ nature, despite its proximity to the cathedral, the old market cross and St Clement’s Well some fifty yards away! Most odd. A much more mundane story lies behind this long lost water source. The Dundee historian William Kidd (1901) told us,
“When the public wells were erected, about the year 1749, to supply the town with water from the Lady-well reservoir at foot of Hilltown, one was placed on the High Street, on the east side of the Cross, and was called the Cross Well.”
It didn’t have too long a life either—much like the old Market Cross, for,
“In the year 1777 that quaint structure was demolished. The platform and octagonal tower were carted away as rubbish, the least decayed stones being selected to be used in other buildings. The stone shaft, also, was preserved, and placed beside the Old Steeple. With the demolition of the Cross, the Cross Well was cleared away from the High Street, but, as water was an essential to the people, the well was re-erected behind the Town House in St. Clement’s Lane. In that situation it remained for nearly one hundred years, when, being rendered unnecessary by the introduction of the Lintrathen water supply, it was also demolished, along with the old buildings in the Vault and St. Clement’s Lane, to make room for the additions to the Town House.”
Colville, A., Dundee Delineated, A. Colville: Dundee 1822.
Not to be confused with the carved cross fragments held in the local church, this old town cross has long since gone. It’s existence was recorded by the great Kendal historian Cornelius Nicholson (1861), but even in his day, this “obstruction” as he called it, was no longer standing. Known as the local Market Cross where all the wheeling and dealing took place—official ones, as well as the not-so-official works of local folks—it stood just off Stricklandgate,
“opposite the Covered Market, and was an obstruction in the street. There still remains a remnant of it in a stone at the corner, vulgarly called “cold stone,” where the charters and so forth were usually proclaimed. Cold stone is a corruption of “call stone;” an appendage common to most ancient towns, where all public matters were “called” prior to the “institution” of belman.”
This folk etymology of “cold” needs to kept in mind when we come across other stones of this name. …The earliest record of a market held at Kendal is from 1402, but written records of the Market Cross are scant until 1714. Such edifices tend to be architecturally ornate, but we have neither sketches nor descriptions of this lost site and must await the work of fellow researchers who may hopefully find out more.
Nicholson, Cornelius, The Annals of Kendal, Whitaker & Co.: London 1861.
Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of Westmorland – volume 1, Cambridge University Press 1967.
This was one of at least four old stone crosses that used to exist in Richmond. It was accompanied by other functional edifices nearby known as the Oat Cross and Wheat Cross. Like its companions, the Barley Cross is thought to have been the site where this grain was traded. An early reference to it is Chris Clarkson’s (1814) survey, where he told us that not far from the old Market Cross,
“was formerly another, which went by the name of Barley Cross, perhaps so named from that sort of corn being sold there: it was a lofty Pillar of one large stone upon a small flight of steps with a cross at the top: rings were fastened to it, where criminals were punished by whipping: it is not long since it was taken down.”
Similar punishments were also administered to people at the original old Market Cross. The grand masters of of Yorkshire history, Edmund Bogg (1908) and Harry Speight (1897) also mentioned this antiquity, but added nothing more.
The cross was highlighted on a 1724 plan of Richmond, just below the larger Market Cross. In 1780 the local council ordered it to be demolished and, at a later date, large weighing scales were erected on the spot next to where it had stood, on the south-west side of the Trinity Church in the market square.
Bogg, Edmund, Richmondshire, James Miles: Leeds 1908.
Clarkson, Christopher, The History of Richmond, T. Bowman: Richmond 1814.
Home, Gordon, Yorkshire Dales and Fells, A. & C. Black: London 1906.
Speight, Harry, Romantic Richmondshire, Elliot Stock: London 1897.
A Charter in the time of King John allowed for markets to be held in Harewood from 1209 CE onwards, “on the first day of July and the two following days, and also to hold one market there every week on the Monday.” But whether or not a market cross was erected that far back, we don’t quite know. Certainly, the edifice illustrated by John Jones (1859) in his standard work on Harewood didn’t date from such an early period! It stood close to the old road junction to Wetherby in old Harewood village, “a little below the intersection of the roads, and about fifty yards higher up than the market house.” Jones told us:
“It stood upon a large stone pedestal, and was approached by a quadrangular flight of seven steps, very broad, where the neighbouring farmers used to stand, and dispose of their butter, fowls, eggs, &c. It was re-erected, AD 1703, by John Boulter, Esq., and in the year 1804, when the road was lowered, it was taken down and destroyed. This is to be regretted, it might have been re-erected in another situation, if that was inconvenient, and would have been in the present day, not only an ornament to the village but a relic of the past, of which the villagers might have been justly proud. On the top of this cross there was a knur and spell, a game for which the village was celebrated in old times, while close to the toll booth there was a strong iron ring fastened to a large stone, where the villagers used to enjoy the barbarous amusement of bull baiting.”
Bogg, Edmund, Lower Wharfeland, J. Sampson: York 1904.
Jones, John, The History and Antiquities of Harewood, Simpkin Marshall: London 1859.
Speight, Harry, Lower Wharfedale, Elliott Stock: London 1902.
This long-lost stone cross should not be confused with the more recent one, erected by one Mr H. C. Richards in 1901 to commemorate some malarky about Edward VII. The one in this profile was much older than that, although both of them were erected close to each other. The older cross was found, said T.H. Cole (1884), “at the head of the Town, near All Saints’ Church.” Also known as the North End’s Cross, the old market was held here and close by were the gallows, the whipping post and the stocks.
In John Bridges’ (1791) account of the parish of Aynho, he made mention of an old market cross that stood in the village, but even in his day it had been removed and so we know little about it. Chris Markham (1901) included it in his inventory of crosses, but could find no additional details to those provided by Mr Bridges. He told us:
“In the seventeenth year of Edward II (1323-4) John de Clavering was lord of the manor of Eynho, and obtained the King’s charter for a weekly mercate, or market, to be held every Tuesday, and a yearly fair on the vigil and day of St. Michael and two days following. This market was continued until the twentieth year of James I (1622-3), when Richard Cartwright obtained a new charter for holding the market and fair, with the addition of another yearly fair on the Monday and Tuesday after Pentecost. Bridges, however, writing about 1700, says that the market had been discontinued for some sixty years, and that the market cross had been then long since taken down. Since then the fairs have also sunk into desuetude.”
Bridges, John, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire – volume 1, T. Payne: Oxford 1791.
Get into the small town of Alloa, where the buses stand at Shillinghill. From here walk southwest down Mill Street, which runs into Bank Street. Keep your eyes peeled on your right-hand side, where outside one of the old municipal buildings you’ll see it standing upright.
Archaeology & History
Although now standing against the old buildings halfway down Bank Street, Alloa’s Mercat or Burgh Cross was initially set up at the crossroads 162 yards (148m) away, where Mar Street meets Mill Street and Bank Street. It was moved to its present position sometime in the 1880s and knowledge of its early history is scant.
Standing some 10 feet tall, the monument was described in John Small’s (1900) rare magnum opus, where he details the architectural features of the monument, telling:
“The shaft, which rests on a base and three steps, is of the usual square section, with splayed angles, stoped at top and bottom, the top stop being rather peculiar. The head of the Cross is composed of an oblong stone set upright, characteristic of the late type seen in Keikleour and Kinrossie. The oblong is ornamented at the sides with debased volutes and acanthus leaves, the whole crowned by a wreath from which rises a griffin’s head, part of the supporters of the Arms of the Lords of the Manor, Lord Mar and Kellie.”
Anonymous, The Alloa Illustrated Family Almanac, MacGregor & Steedman: Alloa 1887.
Mair, Craig, Mercat Cross and Tolbooth, John Donald: Edinburgh 1988.
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.
Small, John W., Scottish Market Crosses, Eneas Mackay: Stirling 1900.
This old cross was demolished long since, but I think it’s important to rejunevate a memory of its existence back into our times. Little has been written about the site as it was destroyed more than 200 years ago and images of the edifice are rare indeed! It was found near the modern centre of the city and although this ornate-looking thirty-foot tall cross was obviously impressive, an even earlier upright stone stood here in the 13th and 14th century. But this new carved monument took precedence over its older and lesser upright. First described — I think! — by Thomas Gent (1730), he told us that,
“The old cross stood towards the Kennel, against the middle of the market. The lower part was an octagon, had an ascent of six high steps, covered with Tyles for Butchers, higher up with nitches, in which had been effigies and a small pillar above with four Dials and over them a Fane.”
A few years later when Francis Drake (1788) described the same monument, he added very few extra details; though told us it had five steps and not six — but this seems to have been an error on his behalf. In C.B. Knight’s (1944) work we have what seems to be the most complete historical description of this lost stone edifice. He wrote:
“In 1429 a new stone cross had been erected in Thursday Market in place of its predecessor by Marion Braythwayt, widow of John Braythwayt, who was Lord Mayor in 1394… This Cross was described by a writer in 1683 as “a fair Cross of stone, built upon the ascent of five steps, and hath neatly cut in stone a turret or battlement eight square, upon which is placed a round pillar with a four-square stone upon the top, which hath a sundial placed upon every square, and a vane above. The Cross hath a penthouse round about it, covered over with tile, to shelter the market people in rainy weather, and is supported upon eight posts, upon one of which, on the south side, is fixed an iron yard-wand, the standard measure of the market.” In 1705 the ancient Market Cross…was pulled down.”
Cobb, Gerald, “Note on a Drawing of Thursday Market Cross, York,” in The Antiquaries Journal, 43:1, 1963.
Davies, Robert, Walks about the City of York, Nichols & Sons: Westminster 1880.
Drake, Francis, Eboracum; or the History and Antiquities of the City of York, Wilson & Spence: York 1788.
Gent, Thomas, The Antient and Modern History of the Famous City of York, Thomas Hammond: York 1730.
Knight, Charles Bruton, A History of the City of York, Herald: York & London 1944.
Dead easy. Take the A170 road from Pickering to Thornton-le-Dale and as you go into the large village, you’ll hit the old crossroads with the village green. Here be your cross!
Archaeology & History
Shown on the 1854 OS-map, I first came across a description of this old site in Creaser & Rushton’s (1972) scarce but lovely little work on the history of the old village here, where they told that,
“A cross has stood here since John de Eston in 1281 had the grant of a Tuesday market and two yearly fairs. It was repaired in 1820. Every year, the Abbot of Whitby unloaded 1500 red and 1500 white herrings here from his packhorse ponies for transhipment to the Master of St. Leonard’s Hospital at York.”
Or at least, that’s what he got folk to write down in the record-books! Close by were the old village stocks of the village (whose usage should be resurrected in many parts of this country nowadays).
Creaser, A. & Rushton, J.H., A Guide and History of Thornton-le-Dale, Pickering, Yorkshire, E. Dewing: Pickering 1972.
More than 150 years ago outside St. Andrew’s Church in Sedbergh, A.E. Platt wrote (1876) that,
“there was a cross standing in the Market Place adjoining the churchyard on the north, but the last remains of it, and the stone steps it stood on, were taken away some years since by private persons, and may now be seen used as gateposts to a farmyard, some ten miles from their original position.”
Intriguing stuff! Does anyone know which farmyard might still possess these old relics? When the legendary Harry Speight (1892: 443) ventured by here fifteen years later he knew little about their new location, but simply echoed what Platt had previously written. It would be good to know what has become of them…
Platt, A.E., The History of the Parish and Grammar School of Sedbergh, Yorkshire, Atkinson & Pollitt: Kendal 1876.
Speight, Harry, The Craven and Northwest District Highlands, Elliot Stock: London 1892.