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The Butter Stone

Standing Stone / Menhir


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.
So plausibly put you could even believe it, in 'The Gentleman's Magazine' v202 p224 (1857).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd April 2008ce

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