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  3. The Buttercross Returns

The Buttercross returns

Buttercross, Market Place, Chippenham


Walking through Chippenham’s market place in Tudor times you would have come across the Buttercross. It marked the centre of a bustling area of market stalls and shops called the Shambles, a long wooden-roofed, open-fronted shed where butchers displayed their produce. Fresh dairy products were laid out on the circular stepped bases of the Buttercross to tempt you. For the thirst, there were three pubs nearby. Built around 1570, the Buttercross was originally located where an estate agent now stands. It gradually developed into the six pillar, roofed structure you see today. When the Shambles burned down in 1856, the Buttercross survived. But In 1889 it was sold for £6 to Mr E C Lowndes owner of the Manor House in Castle Combe, where it was used as a gazebo in his kitchen garden! One hundred years later the Chippenham Civic Society bought the building for £300 and so began a six-year campaign to return the building to a prominent position in the Town Centre, near to its original home. Today it is the centrepiece of the pedestrianised town centre and markets are held every Friday and Saturday.