Buttercross Monument, Winchester
Monument in Winchester
The High Cross, also known as the City or Butter Cross, is a remarkable monument believed to date back to the early 15th century. It underwent restoration work by G. G. Scott in 1865. This tall cross, adorned with multiple pinnacles, stands on a stepped plinth with five octagonal steps. Originally, it served as a marketplace where countrymen would sell their produce, hence the name Butter Cross. In 1770, it was sold to a Mr. Dummer by the Paving Commissioners. However, when he attempted to remove it, the citizens of Winchester rallied together, organizing a small riot to protect and preserve the monument for the city.
The High Cross is not only a cherished historical structure but also a legally protected monument, listed under the Town & Country Planning Act and designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (No. 204). Its location can be found at map reference SU 481 294.
Today, the monument is adorned with twelve figures. Each face of the cross features a prominent figure positioned halfway up, accompanied by two smaller figures in niches. Among the eight high-level figures, you can find representations of The Blessed Virgin, and the Saints Bartholomew, John, Lawrence, Maurice, Peter, Swithun, and Thomas.
Regarding the four larger figures, three of them are relatively recent additions. According to records from The Historic Resources Centre, these figures represent William of Wykeham, Lawrence de Anne (an early Mayor of Winchester), Aelfred the Great, and the oldest statue (facing the nearby building) is believed to depict St. John the Evangelist. However, there are also records that suggest this figure could be St. Amphibalus. St. Amphibalus, one of the first British martyrs, died on June 25th, AD 304, and Winchester Cathedral was initially dedicated to him before being dedicated to St. Swithun. This connection provides some support for the hypothesis that the figure represents St. Amphibalus.
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Visiting Buttercross Monument, Winchester