Today the remnants of the old market cross at Maiden Newton, Dorset have been moved from middle of the road to prevent damage by traffic. The following description and history of this listed monument was published by Alfred Pope in 1906.
The village or market cross stood in the middle of the village. It is said to have been one of the finest in the county, with a calvary formed of several tiers of steps, and a grand shaft, finely carved, niched and canopied on the western side. The calvary is said to have been removed when the new coaching road to the west was made by the Turnpike Trust, about the year 1780, as being an obstruction, the socket only, with the remains of the shaft, being re-erected somewhat in the same position, viz., at the cross roads in the centre of the village. There is a tradition existing that the stones of the base, which must have been a goodly pile, were used by the trustees of the Dorchester and Maiden Newton Turnpike in the construction of the two bridges to the west of the village, but I can find no confirmation of this report, and on examining the bridges it will be found that the copings only of the parapets are of Ham Hill stone, of which stone the base of the cross was doubtless built.
The remains of the old cross now consist of a socket of Ham Hill stone three feet three inches square by fifteen inches deep (out of ground) in a much worn and dilapidated condition, showing little or no sign of the usual broaches, chamfers or mouldings. Into the mortise of this socket is fixed with cement, the usual leading not being discernible, the stump of a massive square shaft of a hard close-grained stone, of Ham Hill character, much harder than that from which the socket is formed, measuring four feet in height, nineteen inches square at the base, and fourteen inches square at the top, into the top of which is leaded an iron spike, or dowel, about a foot in length, presumably for securing the upper portion of the shaft. The shaft has deep cut rolls at the angles, and the west face is ornamented with a sculptured figure, standing on a corbel, both of which are now so much defaced that it would be difficult to conjecture what might have been originally represented.
The remaining sides are plain, without carving.
No mention is made of this cross in either edition of Hutchins, but the following extract from John Banger Russell’s notes on “The Cross at Maiden Newton,” written about the year 1780, may be interesting:
In the middle of this parish there was lately a cross. The pyramid was remarkable, being lofty, and adorned with much carved work, that (sic) somewhat defaced. The ascent to it was by several rows of steps, and to do it justice one might say that it was the finest in the county, Stalbridge Cross only excepted. This venerable piece of antiquity has been lately removed by some disorderly and ignorant people, and it has been alleged for an excuse for this shameful action that it would have been an obstruction to the turnpike road. It were to be wished that it had been erected again in a place where no one could be offended with it.