If we walk around the Old Town Hall, we come to the centre of the Market Place. This must be one of the most beautiful scenes in Somerset.

The first landmark we notice on the right is the octagonal shaped market cross; also known as the Buttercross. This was built by the Stawell family in 1673 and given the parish council in 1916.


At the moment the only purpose of this striking attraction is as a beautiful reminder of Somerton’s historic past, as well as occasionally housing small markets and such. But at the time of construction, it served a much greater need.

The market place was a busy and noisy area during market day, and in extremely hot weather the dairy products such as cheese, butter and milk would soon go off. These goods would also be ruined in wet weather, and so a shelter was required that would shade and cover the products from the weather conditions. The Buttercross was the ideal solution, as it was both cool and dry. It is now listed as a Grade II ancient monument, and has been repaired on a couple of occasions during the last century.

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