MSO9415 - Butter Cross, Dunster (Building)


A 15th Century market cross is currently sited to the west of Dunster but formerly stood within the town centre. It comprises a shaft in a square socket stone on a modern plinth and is inscribed "WC,1871,SW", which may record a restoration.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Late 14th or early 15th century wayside cross. Stump with polygonal shaft in square socket on base of two octagonal steps. Scheduled Ancient Monument (Somerset County No 190). [1] Name [SS 98904388] Butter Cross [NAT]. [2] Butter Cross, a wayside cross stands on a bank by the side of the road leading to Gallox. It consists of a simple socket and part of a shaft of the ordinary 15th century type (see Illustration). [3] Butter Cross formerly stood near the south end of the High Street (SS99174367). [4] Butter Cross, Grade II*, St. George's Street. Late 14th/early 15th Century stone wayside cross. Stump with polygonal shaft in square socket on base of two octagonal steps. Scheduled Ancient Monument (Somerset County No. 190). [5] The cross is as illustrated by Pooley, and is at SS 9881 4387 (see GP AO/65/124/4). [6] [SS 98814387] Butter Cross [NR]. [7] Additional bibliography. [8] The scheduled monument includes a medieval wayside cross shaft in its square socket stone standing on a modern plinth. The whole stands on a raised knoll by the roadside to the north west of the town of Dunster. The knoll, which is included in the scheduling, stands circa 1.5 metres above the surrounding land. The simple socket and shaft is of 15th century type. The socket stone bears the inscription "WC,1871,SW" which probably records a restoration. The cross stands at the junction of four tracks within view of the church and is indicative of a wayside cross leading people towards the church. It is Listed Grade II* and is in the care of the Secretary of State. [9?] Scheduling affirmed with new national number on 18 March 1996, was Somerset 190. [10] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 0. [11] The site is included within Dunster's Conservation Area. The 2002 Character Appraisal states that another Scheduled Monument "in a wayside position beyond the village limits is a late 14th-early 15th century former market cross consisting of polygonal shaft on the base of two octagonal steps. It was probably moved from its original site near the junction of High Street, Castle Hill and West Street in about 1820." [12] The building was visited in April 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [13] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [14] The cross is depicted on the 2018 MasterMap data at SS 9881 4387 and labelled "Butter Cross". [15] The Butter Cross stood at the southern end of High Street. The remains date to the 15th Century and were removed to a quieter site near the old road to Minehead. [16] A brief accessible overview of the history of the Butter Cross, Dunster, for visitors. [18] The Historic England Archive contains historic images of the feature. [19,20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [21] The cross is mentioned in the 2018 Conservation Area Appraisal for Dunster. [22]

Sources/Archives (22)

  • <1> Index: 4/8/1983. Twenty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of West Somerset (Somerset).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1903-1949. County Series; 3rd Edition (2nd Revision) 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1928-38.
  • <3> Monograph: Pooley, C.. 1877. An historical and descriptive account of the old stone crosses of Somerset. 154.
  • <4> Unassigned: Hancock, F.. 1902. REV Object Name Book. Ordnance Survey, 32.
  • <5> Index: Ministry of Works. 1961. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales. 83.
  • <6> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 26 May 1965.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . 1:10000 / 1972.
  • <8> Monograph: Snell, F. J.. 1906. Memorials of Old Somerset. 122, 133-4.
  • <9> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 30.5.1996. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <10> Report: Various. Various. Field Monument Warden Report. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission.
  • <11> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <12> Report: Fisher, J.. 2002. Dunster Conservation Area Character Appraisal. Exmoor National Park Authority. p20.
  • <13> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <14> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <15>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #38436 ]
  • <16> Article in serial: Maxwell Lyte, H.C.. 1880. Dunster and its Lords. The Archaeological Journal. 37. Parts 1 to 4, pp57-93, 155-179, 271-293, 395-405. pp 285, 291.
  • <17> Serial: English Heritage. 1998. The English Heritage Visitors' Handbook 1998-99. p 70.
  • <18> Monograph: Carter, K. (Ed.). 2004. Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. English Heritage. pp 66-67.
  • <19> Photograph: Unknown. 1950. The Butter Cross in Dunster seen from the south-east. Unknown. Print.
  • <20> Photograph: Unknown. 1950. The Butter Cross in Dunster seen from the north-west. Unknown. Print.
  • <21> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36872, Updated 17 May 2022.
  • <22> Report: Pratt, N. and Thurlow, T.. 2018. Dunster Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority. p 7, 17, 59, 94, 95, Figure 61.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 26/4/86
  • English Heritage Property Number: 246
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11990
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12124
  • Guardianship Monument
  • Guardianship Number: 193
  • Listed Building List Entry UID: 264719
  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE9
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36872
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34620
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34987



Grid reference Centred SS 9881 4387 (2m by 3m)
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Sep 5 2022 2:38PM


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