Mercat Cross

Historic Buildings, Monuments & Statues, Monuments & Statues
Situated in Eastgate (formerly Cross Gate), the Mercat Cross of Peebles confirms the town's former trading status

About Mercat Cross

Around the Cross, public markets would be held, proclamations made to the people of the Burgh and criminals punished. In 1406, Sir Richard Umfraville. Vice- Admiral of England, attacked the town on market-day and stole the goods on sale. In an account of the event, it was reported that he “made great spoil of the wares there collected, causing his men measure the cloth with their bows and spears". In 1524, James Tweedie and his accomplices “appeared in their shirts, to make confession of andcrave forgiveness for the barbarous murder of John, Lord Fleming" but we do not know if they received any other punishment.
The traditional Peebles market day was a Tuesday and by the 1560s, there were five annual fairs held in the town and by 1770, there were seven.
The Cross of Peebles is an unusual design. The shaft is octagonal with a capital decorated with rich carvings depicting fish and strawberries These are taken from the Arms of Peebles and the Fraser of Neidpath family respectively. A four-faced sundial and a wind-vane were added to the top of the Cross to celebrate the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660.
In 1807, the Mercat Cross was in such a ruinous condition that the council ordered its removal. Luckily it was not disposed of, as the town‘s people were opposed to it being removed at all. In 1858 it was returned to the council and placed in the quadrangle of the Chambers Institution. It was re-erected on its former site at the junction of High Street. Northgate and Eastgate in 1895 and was moved slightly to the east in 1965. Today the Cross may have lost its meaning as a trading centre but the people of Peebles are still proud of the landmark.

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