At the junction of High Street and Corn Street, Witney.
Standing at the heart of Witney the Buttercross was probably
originally a simple market cross, although different local
traditions suggest that it also may have been the spot on which
stood an ancient preaching cross, a shrine, or a statue of the
Virgin Mary . The central stone pillar which is raised up on
a bed of steps is older than the surrounding twelve pillars that
support the roof and it may be the remains of the original
market cross or shrine.
It was in 1606 that Richard Ashcombe left £50 to build a house
'over and above' the cross and it then became a place where
people sold perishable goods such as butter. The clock turret
was added later in 1683 following a bequest by William Blake of
Cogges who was a successful draper, wool merchant and local
benefactor. Cogges had plenty of common pasture where some local
people kept flocks of sheep. Some of those involved in the wool
trade became rich and were able, like the Blake family, to
benefit the local community through endowments and charities .
Witney Buttercross - the clock turret bequeathed by William
Blake in 1683.