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Record details

ID:MHG11836
Type of record:Monument
Name:Mercat Cross, Dornoch
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Summary

A two metre high sandstone cross shaft which was formerly the focus of a number of annual fairs in the Burgh.

Images

Photo  © Please contact Highland Council for details© Please contact Highland Council for detailsGeneral layout, looking SW (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross area, looking W (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross area, looking S (photo by Pete Higgina)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross area, looking E (photo by Pete Higgin)  © Archaeology NorthWest part of site, looking SW (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthWest part of site, looking SE (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthWest part of site, looking ESE (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthThe Cross being boxed in (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthNorth boundary of site being fenced (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, by gate at west end of site (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 10 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 11 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 12 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 13 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, south side, by gate at west end of site (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 14 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 15 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 16 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 17.  Includes inscribed stone (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north side, east of shot 18 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthInscribed stone in south side of churchyard wall (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSetts 2 and tarmac 3 being removed (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthBollards 7, 8 and 9 being removed (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSeat 5 being broken out (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthChurchyard wall, north face, at building change, 6.7m west of wets edge of gate (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSeat 5 being lifted (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthFirst exposure of 12.  Note incorrect label - 13 should read 14 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthFirst exposure of 12.  Note incorrect label - 13 should read 14 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSeat 5 being lifted (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSurface of part of 12 cleaned; below former location of 5 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSite with 5, 7 and 8 removed (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSlabs 13 around the Cross plinth (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSlabs 13 around the Cross plinth (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthSlabs 13 being lifted (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthEdge of the more southerly of the two north slabs of 13, showing tooling on upper part (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology North14 freshly exposed and cleaned (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthPart of another course of 1 after removel of concrete (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthHistorylinks information board being moved (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthPaving 17 in west of site on first exposure.  Includes threshold stones 21 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthAs shot 39, from NW (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthTarmac 3 being broken out.  Shows 19 with car park paint line (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthThreshold stones 21 showing wear pattern.  Also layer 20. (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthArea of paving 17, cleaned.  Shows 2, 18, 19, 20, 21 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthAs shot 43, but showing 17 in more detail (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthCut 22, with 23, 17, 2, and 18 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthHuman bone from 12.  Smallest square in background = 1mm (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthHuman bone from 12.  Smallest square in background = 1mm (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthTrench in SE, showing 14, 25, 26 (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross, N face after project completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross, N face after project completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross, E face after project completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross, W face after project completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthMercat Cross, S face after project completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthThe site on completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology NorthThe site on completion (photo by Pete Higgins)  © Archaeology North

Reports

Desk-based assessment of Mercat Cross, Dornoch  © Archaeology North Ltd (File size: 463 KB)Fieldwork report  © Archaeology North Ltd (File size: 3451 KB)
Grid Reference:NH 7975 8970
Map Sheet:NH78NE
Civil Parish:DORNOCH
Geographical Area:SUTHERLAND

Monument Types

  • MARKET CROSS (Medieval to 19th Century - 1058 AD to 1900 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 10835: Dornoch Mercat Cross; Listed Building (B) 24646: High Street Mercat Cross

Other References/Statuses

  • Historic Environment Record: MHG11836
  • NMRS NUMLINK Reference: 14636
  • NMRS Record Details: NH78NE4 DORNOCH, HIGH STREET, MERCAT CROSS
  • Old SMR Reference Number: NH78NE0004

Full description

(NH 7975 8970) The market cross of Dornoch, whose character suggests that it dates from the time of Dornoch's erection into a Royal Burgh in 1628, stands on site of its predecessor (mentioned in 1515) N of Cathedral yard, though RCAHMS (1911) say it stands W of Cathedral.
The head of the cross is missing. The shaft is of the common type, square at top and bottom, with chamfered corners, resting on a massive squared base, chamfered on upper edges and placed on a square stone platform.
(An unnamed dot-symbol on OS 25" map, (1900) at NH 7975 8970 is the cross.)
Orig Paroch Scot 1855; J W Small 1900; RCAHMS 1911; C D Bentinck 1926. <1>-<4>

Market cross as described & illustrated. OS (AA) 31 3 1971.

Of considerable antiquity, dating from at least the 17th century. (Dornoch received a royal charter in 1628). Cross arms are missing from a square shaft with chamfered corners set on a square base. Fairs were held in Dornoch as follows:

Callan Fair - 3rd Wednesday of January
Cochran Fair - 1st Wednesday of March
Wemyss Fair - 2nd Wednesday of June
Margaret's Fair - 22nd July if a Wednesday; if not, 1st Wednesday thereafter
Bar's Fair - 22nd October if a Wednesday; if not, 1st Wednesday thereafter
Andrew's Fair - 22nd November if a Wednesday; if not, 1st Wednesday thereafter

The Industrial Archaeology of Sutherland (A Scottish Highland Economy 1700-1900) - Sinclair B Calder, 1974 <5>

Situated immediately N of Cathedral graveyard wall, chained railings around to define as small monument. Photograph. <6>

The Chairman of Dornoch Civic Society comments that this mercat cross, similar to other examples across Scotland, was probably designed simply as a post, contra <5> which suggests arms are missing. <7>

A brief desk-based report on the cross and its immediate surroundings was prepared by Pete Higgins of Archaeology North Ltd in May 2011. The cross is described as a 2 metre high sandstone shaft, square at the base and tapered above, ending in a square top with slightly concave upper surface. It is set on a sandstone base, itself sitting on a plinth and sandstone slabs forming a paved area around the cross. It is noted that most similar examples had some sort of decorative cap and the square top of the column may indicate this was so in this case.
The cross was the focus of several annual markets held in the Burgh which were held in the then unenclosed churchyard, the supports for the booths being driven into the ground. Following the erection of a wall around the churchyard as part of a wide ranging redevelopment of the town in 1812-14, the fairs were moved to the eastern end of the High Street. <8>

A watching brief was carried out by Archaeology North Ltd in 2011 during groundworks landscaping around the Mercat Cross. One human toe bone was recovered from the site as well as sandstone slabs which formed an approach to a pathway across the churchyard dating to 1812-14. <9>


<1> OPS, 1855, Origines parochiales Scotiae: the antiquities ecclesiastical and territorial of the parishes of Scotland, 645 (Text/Publication/Monograph). SHG342.


<2> Small, J W, 1900, Scottish market crosses, pl. 107 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG2814.


<3> RCAHMS, 1911, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland, 50, No. 145 (Text/Report). SHG2657.


<4> Bentinck, C D, 1926, Dornoch: cathedral and parish, 96 (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG1974.


<5> Sinclair B Calder, 1974, The Industrial Archaeology of Sutherland (A Scottish Highland Economy 1700-1900) (Text/Publication/Volume). SHG364.


<6> White, H, Comment by Hilary White, HC Archaeologist (Verbal Communication). SHG23635.


<7> Private individual, 2008-11, Feedback from website visitor, Chris A. Ferne, 26/08/2010 (Text/Correspondence). SHG22709.


<8> Higgins, P, 05/2011, Desk-based assessment of Mercat Cross, Dornoch (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG25419.


<9> Higgins, P, 2011, Mercat Cross, Dornoch: Archaeological watching brief: Report (Text/Report/Fieldwork Report). SHG26170.

Related Monument/Building records

MHG11830Part of: Dornoch Burgh (Monument)

Related Investigations

EHG4024Watching brief - Mercat Cross, High Street, Dornoch (Ref:AN13)

Related documents/files/web pages

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Investigations
Conservation Areas
Listed Buildings
Scheduled Ancient Monuments
Designed Landscapes
Registered Battlefields
Marine Protected Areas