Axbridge Town seal


Back

The Square

Axbridge Square


The Axbridge Town Trust owns The Square, though Somerset Highways are responsible for maintaining it's surface and the thoroughfares surrounding it.  When the current surface was laid it was agreed that no yellow or white markings would be used to manage the routing of traffic through the Square.  Instead, natural obstacles (planters, seats, marked parking bays) have been used.


History

Before 1756 a Market Cross and Shambles dominated The Square, along with a row of five houses.

The Market CrossThe Cross was replaced in 1756 by a “Butter Cross,” which was removed, along with the row of houses and the Shambles, around 1830, when the Town Hall was erected. The original position of the Market Cross has been picked out with different coloured blocks in its original position in front of the Oak House Hotel. A persistent rumour suggests that, when it was dismantled, the Market Cross was removed to Cheddar. There has been a Market Cross in Cheddar since the medieval period, so this is not a likely tale, but extensive repairs took place on the Cheddar Cross in the early 19th century, so maybe some of the material from the dismantled Axbridge Cross could have been used at that time.

The town stocks were situated on the steps of the Market Cross and a pillory was on the other side of the Shambles. Somewhere near the Church Steps were a prison and a cage (a lock-up). Today the stocks can still be seen, in the Museum.

The Square remains a major focal point for numerous activities. A monthly Farmer’s Market (first Saturday); a yearly Blackberry Fair and Carnival (September); Somerset Showcase (late in April), displaying arts and crafts from across Somerset; and a visit from Father Christmas (the Saturday before Christmas), who gives a present to every child in Axbridge aged 9 years or less, followed by a pig roast and Christmas festivities.

Back