Annual wash and brush up for Butter Cross

Press Release: 12/09/2006

On Wednesday 20 September the Butter Cross or City Cross in High Street, one of Winchester's most prominent and popular landmarks, will undergo its annual wash and brush up.

The City Council organises this yearly cleaning operation to remove dirt that inevitably accumulates, to maintain the appearance and to prolong the life of this important ancient monument. At the same time as the cleaning takes place, specialist stonemasons will replace one or two of the delicate finials at the very top of the monument.

The cleaning and repairs are expected to only take one day and will require The Cross to be clad in scaffolding to allow contractors safe access to the upper levels.

Dick Whinney, Principal Heritage Services Officer said "The Butter Cross, in the centre of a busy city, inevitably suffers a bit as a result of normal everyday activities. We therefore need to undertake this annual maintenance to keep the monument in good shape."

Cllr Patricia Stallard, portfolio holder for Culture Heritage and Sport added "Although there may be some slight local disruption caused by these works, it is a small price to pay for the on-going maintenance of the Cross. As the owner of the monument, the Council is committed to its overall preservation and protection, so that all may continue to enjoy and appreciate it."

There has been a City Cross on or very close to the site for at least 700 years. The earliest parts of the surviving monument, including one of the carved figures (St John the Evangelist), date from the 15th century. The City Council first undertook the maintenance of the Cross in the 16th century. Much of the present structure dates from a restoration by the architect Gilbert Scott, carried out in 1865.

The four figures on the Cross are traditionally said to represent William of Wykeham, King Alfred, St John the Evangelist, and Lawrence de Anne, a prominent merchant and Mayor of Winchester in the late 13th -early 14th  centuries.