Mercat Cross

Compare the first 2 photos. Spot the difference.

The gas lamp was removed from the top in 1911.


This second image was a postcard by D Connel Printers in the 1920s. The backgrounds are the same in both images.  An early “photoshopped” image!

The above photo shows its position outside the entrance to the church.

It has been claimed that the cross was for a time located in Townhead Street, almost opposite number 78. Certainly, around the middle of the eighteenth century, it appears to have been there.
Dr John Strawhorn speculates that the cross had been moved to the Townhead in 1703, hence the date on the finial. On the roadway there are granite sets forming a Maltese cross-shape in the carriageway, marking the spot.
Before tarmacadam was introduced, the setts on the road hereabouts had a larger square stone which was said to indicate the cross’s location. This part of the town is referred to as Crossrigs, a name that probably came about from the cross itself.
The cross is then thought to have been moved to the north-east corner of the Square, positioned in the roadway in front of what was the Black Bull Hotel. It is shown in this spot on a plan dating from 1769. The Square was originally the churchyard, and it was only opened up as a market place around 1768-9, so the cross must have been moved there fairly soon after the change. When the new Barrhill Road was opened up into the Square it was moved again, to a location directly in front of the Old Church door.
In the 1880s a gas pipe and lamp were affixed to the market cross to aid visibility at night. Old photographs of the cross show this in place. The gas lamp was removed from the cross in 1911.

The cross was listed as an ancient monument by the Commissioner of Works in 1935. Renovation work was done to it in 1944 and 1955.
In 1971 the cross was restored once more, with new stone additions to the shaft, the original being cracked and with a sliver broken off. The work was done by Historic Scotland’s masons at Newbattle, near Edinburgh.

Cumnock Chronicle 5 March 1971

Cumnock Chronicle 1989



Views from Stepends bing

The Congregational church (bottom left) was built 1881-2 so this is no earlier than that. And the manse isn’t yet built and that was 1884. Going to say 1882.

The trees have grown since the previous. No spire of the Crichton West/Trinity church in Ayr road  so this could be no later than 1899 when the church was completed. A better view of Stepends House on the right,

There seems to be less foliage in front of the Congregational church, but it is not taken from exactly the same spot. The manse (1884) is visible.  The spire of Trinity church is also visible so at least 1899.There are now houses built in the Holm. They were there by 1905.

The colour was painted on. From Jim Johnstone’s collection.

About 1905  from

1937 James Valentine. Copyright undetermined. Image courtesy of University of St Andrews Library.

In this one the congregational church is almost completely obscured by trees and there are more houses in The Holm. Estimating  1940.


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