Devizes Market Cross – Devizes, England - Atlas Obscura

Devizes Market Cross

Devizes Market

The plaques around this 19th-century structure recall some rather strange tales. 


Designed by James Wyatt and erected in 1814 to replace an earlier monument, the Devizes Market Cross is not quite as old or ornate as the market crosses in other local towns. But despite its relatively young age, it does have some intriguing features.

The structure’s Gothic architecture is the first thing you’ll notice. Because of its distinct style, makes it a noteworthy landmark and a good photo opportunity.

But its appearance isn’t the market cross’s most interesting feature. Look closely, and you’ll see plaques detailing strange stories from the structure’s past.

One story recalls the fate of Ruth Pierce of Potterne. She went to the market on January 25, 1753 to buy wheat. There was a bit of a payment issue, and Pierce insisted that she had paid for her fair share, saying she’d drop dead if she had not. 

Tragically, Pierce did indeed drop dead. A subsequent inquest into her death found no indication of violence or foul play, and ruled that she died from “the Visitation of the Great and Almighty God.”

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