Dingwall Mercat Cross

01 September 2019

News Type:
Find of the Month

Mercat, or market, crosses were erected in Scottish towns marking where the rights to hold a market were granted by the monarch, bishop or baron. The date of the much worn Dingwall mercat cross is unknown, but perhaps is 16th or 17th century. It is a chamfered stone shaft, with a square base, and a decorated octagonal top, with star decoration still just visible. It has probably been altered over the years; the HER notes that it was restored in 1900 by Sir Robert Finlay.

Cross in 2001, Photo HER

Despite being a monumental and heavy object, it has travelled over the years. The 1821 town plan by John Wood shows it just outside the tolbooth, a little to the left of the door. The 1st edition OS map seems to show it in the same position. By 1900 it was situated in the angle of tolbooth/town hall, and pictures on Canmore from the 1970s show it still tucked in this position beside the 18th century yett (gate of iron bars). By 1985 the stone had been moved into the High Street, with an elaborate pebble base. Then in 2003 the stone was moved into Dingwall Museum (see the series of photos on the HER showing the process), where it is currently visible. The yett is now also in the museum.

Further Information:

Highland HER MHG9048

Canmore 12803

Listed Building Report LB24507 

Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
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