The finest Early Renaissance municipal building is the picturesque guild hall at Exeter, with its richly ornamented front projecting over the pavement and carried on arches. The market-house at Rothwell is a beautifully designed building erected by Sir Thomas Tresham in 1577. Being a Recusant, he was much persecuted for his religion, and never succeeded in finishing the work. We give an illustration of the quaint little market-house at Wymondham, with its open space beneath, and the upper storey supported by stout posts and brackets. It is entirely built of timber and plaster. Stout posts support the upper floor, beneath which is a covered market. The upper chamber is reached by a quaint rude wooden staircase. Chipping Campden can boast of a handsome oblong market-house, built of stone, having five arches with three gables on the long sides, and two arches with gables over each on the short sides. There are mullioned windows under each gable.
[Illustration: Guild Mark and Date on doorway, Burford, Oxon]
The city of Salisbury could at one time boast of several halls of the old guilds which flourished there. There was a charming island of old houses near the cattle-market, which have all disappeared. They were most picturesque and interesting buildings, and we regret to have to record that new half-timbered structures have been erected in their place with sham beams, and boards nailed on to the walls to represent beams, one of the monstrosities of modern architectural art. The old Joiners’ Hall has happily been saved by the National Trust. It has a very attractive sixteenth-century facade, though the interior has been much altered. Until the early years of the nineteenth century it was the hall of the guild or company of the joiners of the city of New Sarum.
Such are some of the old municipal buildings of England. There are many others which might have been mentioned. It is a sad pity that so many have disappeared and been replaced by modern and uninteresting structures. If a new town hall be required in order to keep pace with the increasing dignity of an important borough, the Corporation can at least preserve their ancient municipal hall which has so long watched over the fortunes of the town and shared in its joys and sorrows, and seek a fresh site for their new home without destroying the old.
A careful study of the ordnance maps of certain counties of England reveals the extraordinary number of ancient crosses which are scattered over the length and breadth of the district. Local names often suggest the existence of an ancient cross, such as Blackrod, or Black-rood, Oakenrod, Crosby, Cross Hall, Cross Hillock. But if the student sally forth to seek this sacred symbol of the Christian faith, he will often be disappointed. The cross has vanished, and even the recollection of its existence has completely passed away. Happily not all have disappeared, and in our travels we shall be able to discover many of these interesting specimens of ancient art, but not a tithe of those that once existed are now to be discovered.