The Puleston Cross and the Butter Cross

The Puleston Cross in the snow, December 2010

During the last year’s regeneration of the Newport High Street, one of the larger projects was centred on the stone cross near to St. Nicholas Church and Middle Row. Recently, the Newport Advertiser had an article about ” the ancient Butter Cross monument”. History Member Tavia Maclean thinks it’s time to end the confusion between the Puleston Cross and the Butter Cross.

She says ” A Butter Cross or Buttercross was a covered market for the sale of butter and cheese. Later, it sold eggs and poultry as well as butter and cheese.

Richard Barnfield erected a wooden Buttercross in 1632 and this was destroyed in the fire of 1665.

William Adams left money in his will for the Buttercross to be moved.

In 1668 Thomas Talbot built a new Buttercross to replace that which was destroyed in the fire. This Buttercross stood to the south of the church and is shown in many photographs, it was demolished when the Town Hall and Market were built in 1860.

Old Market Hall with the Puleston Cross inside (before 1866)

There are several references to Markets in the town, including some at the southern end, whether any of these were for the sale of butter is not known.

The Pulestone Cross was a memorial cross for the soul of Sir Roger de Puleston who was killed in Wales where he had been sent by the King to collect taxes after the Welsh uprising. He had persuaded the King to let the Burgesses of Newport have a covered market.

In 2010 Telford and Wrekin Council asked for a watching brief to be kept on the area of cobbles around the Puleston Cross before new paving was laid. In the course of investigations the foundations of Thomas Talbot’s Buttercross were discovered and they are marked by a different colour in the newly paved area.

The confusion about the Puleston Cross and the Butter Cross started in Victorian times, and were confounded by the wording on the plaque affixed to the base of the Puleston Cross in 1953, which states ‘the Market or Butter Cross (Puleston) the shaft of which is fluted…….’

It goes on to say Sir Roger de Puleston was Sheriff and the cross was erected in 1286.

We (Newport History Society) cannot find reference to Sir Roger being Sheriff nor 1286 being the date for the Cross.

I think the Puleston Cross lost its top in 1535 when the soldiers of Thomas Cromwell enforced the law of Henry VIII when they also banned the Wakes in Newport.”

The Puleston Cross and the Buttercross