Tyne and Wear HER(230): Newcastle, Newgate Street, White Cross - Details
Newcastle, Newgate Street, White Cross
Religious Ritual and Funerary
A medieval market cross, first mentioned in 1409/10, traditionally sited in the market street (modern Newgate St), near its junction with Low Friar St. It was pulled down 1625 but ordered to be rebuilt in 1687 with steps and other conveniences. In 1701 William Yarnold was given permission to remove the then pillar and dial and erect, on columns, a cistern for the New Water. This was described in 1736 as "lately pulled down", and replaced with a "Pillar of Stonework". The pillar was demolished in 1783, and rebuilt to a design by David Stephenson, architect. This version was "surmounted by a pretty little spire with a clock and ornamented on the four sides with the arms of the mayor, sheriff and magistrates". In 1808 it was taken down and rebuilt, in lengthened form, at the north end of the new butcher market on the site of the future Grey St. It finally disappeared during the construction of Grey St, and may have been used for building material. The White Cross was the site of an infamous duel in 1701. Ferdinando Foster, MP, and John Fenwick of Rock, coal owner, were attending a Grand Jury dinner at the Black Horse Inn, near the crossroads of Clayton Street and Newgate Street. There was great rivalry between the two men and they started to argue. The next morning they accidently met at the White Cross. They resumed their argument and soon a crowd gathered. The mob, anxious to see a fight, encouraged the contenders to use violence, and swords were drawn. The two men were well matched, but Forster slipped and fell. Fenwick killed his opponent and escaped towards Gallowgate. He was caught within a week, tried and executed. Usually hangings took place outside the town walls, but the authorities were afraid that Fenwick's employees at the pit would rescue him, so he was hanged from a white thorn treee growing near to the White Cross. V. Histon, 2000, Nightmare on Grey Street - Newcastle's Darker Side, p 34.
<< HER 230 >> A.M. Oliver, ed. Ancient Deeds, Surtees Society,137, p. H. Bourne, 1736, History of Newcastle, p. 48 J. Brand, 1789, History of Newcastle, Vol. I, p. 199 and note E. Mackenzie, 1827, History of Newcastle, pp. 173-4 M.A. Richardson, Local Historian's Tablebook, Vol. III, pp. 76, 126 R. Welford, History of Newcastle and Gateshead, Vol. III, p. 268 R. Welford, Men of Mark, Vol. III, p. 435 Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 3rd series, Vol. V, pp. 126-9