At the highest point of Newburgh village green stands Newburgh Cross. The cross itself is modern, but its socket base and steps are much older. Some sources have suggested a 17th-18th century date but others go as far as suggesting the base is 14th century from when a market was first established here.
Newburgh means ‘New Borough’ and dates from the time when in 1304 Edward I granted a charter for a market to Robert de Lathom. Robert held the manor of Lathom and it is thought that he wanted to set up a market at Newburgh, perhaps as a rival one to nearby Ormskirk. The market occurred every Tuesday and the charter also included provision for an annual fair. This was centred around St Barnabas day, and was a three day festival on the 10th, 11th and 12th of June. The hope of Newburgh becoming an important town never happened, but the annual fair had become renowned for its cattle by the late 1700s. Both market and fair continued up to the start of the 20th century. Recently the fair has been revived to become once more an annual event.
The market place is marked by the cross and would have extended under the buildings to the north of the green. In 1899 a survey of the cross published in the Transactions of Lancashire and Cheshire Historical Society reported “two tiers of stone with a large square stone probably the wrong side up, and may be the socket of the shaft. A few isolated stones were scattered around the green”. By 1957 a report revealed it to now have a modern shaft in an old socket, sitting on two steps. The surveyor noted that there were no signs of scattered isolated stones anymore.
The cross is located within the Newburgh conservation area designated because of its historic and architectural features. Some of the larger houses are old farmhouses and inns. The current Post Office was formerly the Horse and Jockey pub. The village has over 40 listed buildings, 20 of which lie within the conservation area.
Visitors to the site today will see a modern cross sitting inside a medieval sandstone socket. This rests on two weathered sets of steps held together by iron staples. The triangular green also features a flagstone wall bearing the conservation area badge. Nearby is a large quarry stone with a plaque stating: This Roand O Quarry Stone is to mark the end of quarrying in Newburgh and to commemorate the new Millenium. Newburgh Parish Council 1999/2000.
There is also a Grade II listed telephone box of the K6 type, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, which may make readers realise that their own recent past is now becoming classed as history !
The village green is open access and the cross can be viewed during daylight hours. Park on the road that rises up and forks off from the main road through the village. Have a look at Newburgh Village website for more on its history and fair here
Newburgh Conservation Area : Conservation Area Appraisal (July 2004) Caron Newman Egerton Lea Consultancy for West Lancashire District Council
Historic England Pastscape website page on Newburgh Cross (http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?a=0&hob_id=40370)
Newburgh Village website conservation area page http://www.newburghlancs.co.uk/code/consarea.htm