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Wiltshire Community History

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Question Date :

Monday 4th July 2011 10:03

Salisbury is supposed to have had more market crosses at one time than just the Poultry Cross: what were they for, and where were they?

Salisbury had four market crosses. A cross on the site of the Poultry Cross is first mentioned in 1307, and a Poultry Cross so named about a century later. The present structure dates from the late fifteenth century. Its canopy was taken down in 1711, and reinstated in the restoration of 1852-54. Fruit and vegetables were sold there as well as poultry.

From the early fifteenth century here was a cheese or milk cross at the western end of the main market place: the sale of dairy produce and greengrocery was transferred here, probably for reasons of hygiene or overcrowding at the Poultry Cross. The Cheese Cross stood roughly in front of the Cornmarket Inn, where there are two telephone boxes. In fact the triangular area bounded the HSBC Bank, the path to St Thomas's Square and Salisbury Library is still known as the Cheese Market, is still so marked on Ordnance Survey maps, and is quoted as its address by the Cornmarket Inn, though it is not recognised as an address by the Post Office.

The other market cross in the Market Place was for the trade in wool and yarn. It was located in front of the present War Memorial, at a point originally marked by a large elm tree, before the stone cross was built.

Finally there was Barnwell (or Barnard's) Cross, at the junction of Culver Street and Barnard Street. It was where livestock was traded in the middle ages and early modern era, at a time when there were hygiene concerns regarding trade in livestock in the main market place. Only when sanitary conditions improved in the nineteenth century was livestock traded in the Market Place, before the inauguration of dedicated facilities to the west of Castle Street and, latterly, off Ashley Road and, now, the Netherhampton Road.

Chandler, J.: Endless Street: a history of Salisbury and its people. Rev. ed. (Hobnob Press, 1987), pp. 96-97, 100-101.
Lobel, M.D., editor: Historic towns: maps and plans of towns and cities in the British Isles with historical commentaries, from the earliest times to 1800, vol. 1 (Lovell Johns-Cook, Hammond and Kell, 1969), Salisbury, main map, sc. 1:2,500.
Purvis, B.: Salisbury: the changing city (Breedon Books, 2003), p. 40.
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): Ancient and historical monuments in the city of Salisbury, vol. 1 (HMSO, 1980), p. 50.



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