Newark’s Market Cross

Detail from Richard Clampe's plan of the Civil War siegeworks around Newark showing a cross at the centre of the Market Place.

Detail from Richard Clampe’s plan of the Civil War siegeworks around Newark showing a cross at the centre of the Market Place.

Richard Clampe’s map (right – drawn 1646) clearly shows a cross at the centre of the Market Place.

A description of Newark[1], meanwhile, written during the Civil War by Royalist soldiers stationed in the town includes the following: “Night by this time approaching, wee hastened to our Inn, wch was in the heart of the neat Market place, wch is in a manner 4 square, every way ascending to the Crosse standing in the midst….”

In the photograph below (possibly dating from c.1865.), the substantial lamp standard appears to be located pretty much in the middle of Newark Market Place on a very solid plinth.  This, says R.F.B. Hodgkinson [1] was the probable location for the cross which once stood in Newark Market Place.


Chronology of references to the cross in Newark Market Place

1549-50: The Will of John Fulwood, yeoman, dated 11th January 1549-50 bequeathed funds to the Aldermen of the town “for the making of a pentice* or covering rounde aboute the crosse in the market plaice in Newarke, substanciall and stronge with tymber and tyell…” (ie that the cross should be covered with a structure made of timber and roofed with tiles).  Fulwood offered further money “If they [the Aldermen] will cover the same with lead” [2]

* Pentice (noun) An extension of a building’s roof and the protected area beneath

1603: From the Newark Corporation Accounts: A Warrant dated 20th April 1603 to pay Robert Walker 14s. “for worke about paynting the Crosse” [2]

1606:  It was decreed in the Borough statutes that “… no huckster or other person shall sell at the Cross, Market Place, or any other streey, any apples, nuts etc, on any Sabbath or festival day” [3].

1619: In 1619 right pence (8d.) was paid for “mendinge they pentis which was broken with they market bell”  (One might imagine that the bell had been attached to the structure covering the cross, and that vigorous ringing on market days over a period of time had caused the structure to fail) [2]

1619: The book Laird’s Nottinghamshire (p.232), published in 1810, states that the cross which formerly stood in the market place had the initials ‘H.W.’ and the date 1619 carved in it.  Laird records H.W. as being the initials of Alderman Henry Webster (created Alderman in 1603).

1632: 17th October; The borough records contain a note regarding the purchase of new lead and nails “for the Cross in the Markitt Place” and for a Mr “Greane” to carry out work (presumably the lead and nails being for re-roofing) [2]

1632: Two further notes in the Borough Records relating to the purchase of additional “stuffe” and “Worke” done about the cross by Richard Rother, Robert Storr, John Taylor and Robert Hanche [?] [2]

1643:  February:  During the Civil War it is reported that forces from Lincolnshire (7000 horse and foot) made a fierce assault upon the town and went as far as the Marquet Crosse…” [4]

1724 – 1727: In his Tour of England & Wales, first published in three volumes between 1724 and 1729, Daniel Defoe states that in Newark “Here are two fine crosses”.  One of these must surely be the surviving Beaumond Cross, the other perhaps being the Market Cross (9th edn, 1779, p.397).

Compiled by TW, June 2015


[1] Reproduction of an account written by 3 members of the Military Company of Norwich, who started in the year 1634 on a seven weeks’ tour on horseback through the Northern and Midland Counties.  The description of their journey is taken from manuscripts in the British Museum/Library.  Extracts reprinted in the Nottingham Guardian and thereafter in the Newark Herald 18th August 1906 “Newark in Charles I’s Time”.

[2] From ‘Extracts from the Records of the Borough of Newark upon Trent’ by R.F.B. Hodgkinson. (Reprinted from The Newark Herald newspaper, 1920

[3] Quoted by Cornelius Brown, History of Newark, Vol.2 (1907), p.37

[4] ibid. p.61