The Fine Lady Statue

Although Banbury had several crosses in the past, the present Banbury Cross, now the centrepiece of the roundabout, was erected by the people of Banbury in 1859 to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.

One explanation of the “cock horse” is the children’s hobby horse and Banbury holds a Hobby Horse Festival in the first weekend of July each year, with a parade of Hobby Horse “beasts” through the town and Hobby Horse races held in People’s Park.

This statue was funded and erected by the people of Banbury to commemorate the nursery rhyme which has made Banbury famous throughout the English speaking world:

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.

This rhyme contains three essential elements: Banbury Cross, the “Cock Horse” and a Fine Lady on a White Horse. 
  • The statue of the Fine Lady on a White Horse now brings the rhyme to life all year round. The statue was designed by Artcycle Ltd, cast in bronze and mounted on a plinth of local Hornton stone. 
  • The horse, which was sculpted by Denise Dutton for Artcycle is modelled on a Welsh Cob. 
  • The Fine Lady is depicted as the “Queen of the May” and incorporates many symbols of spring:
  • Spring Flowers: The Fine Lady wears a crown of thirteen (the ancient months of the year) spring flowers, alternating daffodils and wild roses. Hidden among the flowers you can spot two butterflies and a moth.
  • The bells on her feet are interpreted as both musical bells and by seven bluebells, (representing the days of the week) on her toes and she drops petals from her raised left hand. 
  • The raised left arm not only balances the raised right leg of the horse, it represents the creative side of the brain while the right arm holds the reins showing motor control.
  • The frog represents metamorphosis, the cycle of nature and community.
  • The other symbol to look for is the Sun, which has been a symbol of Banbury since the sixteenth century.
Further information regarding the history of Banbury can be found at the Banbury Museum and Tourist Information Centre in Castle Quay Shopping Centre.  


Fine Lady Statue