Market Cross.

The remains of the 15th century Market Cross, one of the few still existing in Warwickshire, is a scheduled ancient monument. It remains the focal point of the town where important announcements are made.

The stone market cross stood in the open area once occupied by the market in the centre of town. It was originally over 22 feet (7 metres) high and was composed of local stone. Today only part of the shaft and the raised base of three steps survive. A replica scale model of the Market Cross however is on view in the Heritage Centre.

The cross was a sermon in stone, with the intricately carved head containing four niches showing the Rood, the Trinity, St Peter, and the Virgin & Child. The cross was the centre of all public activity including important proclamations and the reading of marriage banns.

Originally the cross stood close to the Market Hall which was located just to the north. The building, also referred to as the Market House or Town Hall, was an extensive timber-framed hall that stood on wooden pillars. In 1597 it was agreed by the Court Leet that the Bailiff and his brethren should meet in this hall once a month.

Tradition has it that the cross was saved from destruction in the 17th century by being covered with a shed that was attached to the Market Hall. It was open underneath to provide shelter to traders, and close by were the town stocks used for punishment. The timber structure was taken down in 1793 and replaced by a small plain stone building similarly supported on pillars, which itself was taken down in 1863.