Situated on the Cotherstone to Bowes road.
The Butter Stone is an ugly little amorphous solitary stone situated on a bland sedge moor about 5 metres from a none descript moorland road. Opposite the stone is a yard with a couple of Nissin Huts and a few JCBs.
The thing that gives this stone some charm, and this will piss off the purists amongst you, is someone has glued a 1950's Scottish shilling into a single cup mark on the top of the stone.
I normally disapprove of such behaviour but I will make an exception in the case of this sad little stone (with a lovely name).
The Butterstone on Cotherston Moor. --
[..] It was during the great plague of 1636, which desolated the whole of the North of England, that the Butterstone received its name. The fairs and markets of Barnard CAstle and the neighbouring towns were "cried down," to prevent the spread of the infection, and the country-people had to devise methods for the exchange of their products.
Tradition has handed down that a large brazen vessel, constantly kept full of water, stood upon the Butterstone. The farmers brought their butter and eggs and placed them on the stone, and then retired; upon which the inhabitnats of the towns assembled, and putting money in the basin, took away the articles left.
The sale of wheat and cattle was effected in the same manner. Sacks of wheat were brought to the spot, and the purchaser, on his arrival, carted them away, leaving what he considered to be their value in money: cattle were secured by ropes, and the bargain was similarly concluded - the value being confided to the judgment or honesty of the buyer.
The Butterstone is situated in the parish of Romaldkirk, which was almost depopulated by the pestilence.
"On the Moor above the village (Cotherstone) is a stone called the Butterstone, whereat a market was held once during a time of plague, and near it is a farmstead, once a school whereat Richard Cobden was at one time a pupil. It is said of this village that once upon a time the folk were so irreverent and Godless as to0 christen calves in open contempt of the sacrament of baptism, and that hence sprang up a derisive saying - "Cotherstone, where they christen calves, hopple loups and kneeband spiders." "To hopple a loup" means to tie the legs of a flea together; "To kneeband a spider" is not so easy of explanation"
The Enchanting North by J.S. Fletcher.