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The Buttercross

"The King to the Archbishops etc.. .greeting. Know ye that we, at the instance of William de Grey, have granted and by this our charter confirmed to Geoffrey Luterel, that he and his heirs have for ever a market each week on Thursday at his manor in Hooton Painell in the County of York, and that they have there a fair each year to last for three days, namely, on the eve, on the day, and on the morrow of St Lawrence (August 10th) unless that market (and that fair) be to the injury of the neighboring markets and neighboring fairs."

Thus read the market charter granted in 1253 and commemorated on the plaque by the Buttercross. The grant was important to the manor and to the inhabitants of the self-contained village of the Middle Ages. There was little contact with the outside world, and food, clothes, household utensils, farm implements and requisites would be on sale at the market.

It is likely that the Buttercross originated from the presence of a market, and from this central position in the village would be heard proclamations, banns of marriage, news of law-breakers and, no doubt, much local gossip. Market dues and tolls would be collected at this point, too.

The local tradition is that the present Buttercross was erected in the mid-sixteenth century, but the style of the socle points to a thirteenth century date for this part of the cross. The cross is, therefore, a multi-period construction. The socle and the shaft probably date from the time of the original charter (1253), and the shaft may have been removed and replaced in the mid-sixteenth century, with the calvary being added at this time. The Buttercross, still standing in its original location, is very well preserved, visually impressive, and retains most of its components.