Visit Peebles - The Royal Burgh

The Mercat Cross

Found on the traffic island at the junction of the Eastgate, the Northgate and the High Street

The symbolic centre of a Scottish market town, the Mercat (market) Cross of Peebles is situated in the Eastgate (formerly Cross Gate). It confirms the towns' former trading status. Here the public market was held, the Town Drummer announced royal and other proclamations to the people of the Burgh and criminals were punished. This tradition is carried on in the Beltane Festival.

The Cross of Peebles is an unusual design. The capital of the octagonal stone column has rich carvings of the Three Fishes and of strawberries (taken from the family crest of the Frasers of Neidpath). In 1662 the four-faced stone sundial and metal wind vane were added to mark the restoration to the throne of Charles II.

The Mercat Cross has had several sites in its 500 years history. In 1807, the Cross was in such a ruinous condition that the council ordered its removal but the town's people were opposed to the decision. In 1858 it was placed in the quadrangle of the Chambers Institution. The Mercat Cross was re-erected on its former site at the junction of Eastgate, Northgate and High street in 1895 and was moved slightly to the east in 1965.

Historical content : taken from the Town Walk