Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

7. Market cross

Market Cross St James Square Boroughbridge North Yorkshire England UK

The right to hold a market was once a jealously guarded privilege. It was also a key to commercial prosperity, as the fine central market squares in towns and villages across the country testify. These all originally had—or have had re-created—a stone cross that marked the site of the medieval market. Whether on market day or not, these remain an important centrepiece to the town.

‘Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes’

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