The Buttercross Pontefract
One of the historic building that is situated in the centre of Pontefract is “The Buttercross’.
Aplace to sit & soak up the towns atmosphere and take a rest before more sightseeing.
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History of the Buttercross -Pontefract
Standing in the Market Place next to St Giles Church is the Buttercross, a building builton the site of St Oswald’s Cross and named after the Christian King, Oswald of Northumbria, in 633. He died in Battle against the Pagan King, Pender of Mercia, in 641.
The Buttercross was built in 1743 by Mrs Elizabeth Dupier with money left to her by her husband Mr Solomon Dupier in his memory. He helped to bring about the fall of Gibraltar under the command of Sir George Rooke.
When the Buttercross was built, it had a flat roof, but this decayed and it was replaced in 1763 by the present Roof, of Yorkshire Stone Slate, at a cost of £46.3s.10d. The ButterCross was used mainly for selling dairy products.
There was also the unusual practice of men selling there wives under its roof; in 1766 John Nuttsold his wife to a Mr Rider, staymaker, for five shillings, while in 1815 another man auctioned his wife. The bidding started at one shilling and went up to eleven shillings for which the lady was sold. However, wife selling was not unique to Pontefract; there were other documented cases at Little Horton, Bradford and Selby etc. The pump at the side of the Buttercross was given to Pontefract by Queen Elizabeth the 1st.