Ancient Monuments

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Preston Market Cross, 35m ESE of 1 Preston Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8087 / 55°48'31"N

Longitude: -2.3307 / 2°19'50"W

OS Eastings: 379372

OS Northings: 657320

OS Grid: NT793573

Mapcode National: GBR D158.6L

Mapcode Global: WH8X2.58F9

Entry Name: Preston Market Cross, 35m ESE of 1 Preston Cottages

Scheduled Date: 26 February 1955

Last Amended: 23 September 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM391

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: market cross

Location: Bunkle and Preston

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises the remains of a market cross thought to date to the early 17th century. It survives as a stone shaft set on a base and pedestal and is located immediately to the north of the public highway (beyond the metalled pavement and within a walled recess) towards the E end of Preston village. The monument was first scheduled in 1955 but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The cross is designed on a concentrically square plan and includes four stepped components: a surface of stone flags set flush with the current ground level; a base course of dressed stone; a stone pedestal three courses high and, finally, a vertical stone pillar set into the pedestal. The ashlar blockwork elevates the central stone pillar to a height of almost 2m and the stone base is 1.5m wide and broad. The pillar's top surface is skewed off the horizontal plane and has a sufficiently rougher finish when compared to its other surfaces to suggest that a carved top piece may once have completed the cross. This simple architectural form is not embellished with decorative carving and, apart from the signs of modern conservation treatments and what appears as modern graffiti, the monument remains relatively untouched.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular on plan, centred on the monument, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. It extends up to but does not include the surrounding stone wall.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a relatively well-preserved, stylistically simple and uncluttered market cross that researchers think could be an early example rather than more decorative and ornate later versions. It is likely that the cross is still in situ. It therefore has the potential to help us understand the early form, development and use of these monuments and the skill of those craftsmen carving them. It is likely that because of its early form it was in active use over a relatively long period and so the apparent lack of embellishment or modification adds to our interest here.

Contextual characteristics

This is one of at least 150 crosses that were erected in the emerging burghs of Scotland from the 12th century onwards in order to mark the rights for trading and traders, to act as a focal point for public gathering, proclamation, the burgh's events and even the administering of justice and punishment. Their distribution is therefore that of the trading burghs themselves and this is broadly confined to the central belt, eastern Scotland and the more populated coastal fringes. Their position is often at prominent, open and nodal points, or on or adjacent to the main access routes, or at junctions (not always the geographical centre) so as to focus the gathering of people and commercial activity.

Unlike the more elaborate, larger market crosses that characterise later versions, this simple base and vertical pillar suggests it is part of an early sub-group of simple but significant post-medieval monuments. It therefore has great potential to tell us more about the early development of formalised commerce, the network of local markets across Scotland and the development of burghs as centres for trade and exchange. Such crosses are particularly rare and, since this one appears in situ, its setting within the village layout is all the more important.

Associative characteristics

Preston was a medieval parish centre. It became a Burgh of Barony, erected for the Earl of Angus, in 1602 (although this was not sustained) and this would provide a context for the creation of the market cross. The cross remains an important and distinctive landmark for the village and villagers of Preston.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular the symbolic and functional use of carved stone monuments to recognise the legal trading status given to a village or town. This well-preserved, early and simple example survives in situ. It loss would impede our ability to understand the nature, scale and development of commercial activity in Scotland from the 12th century onwards, as well as the evolution of important medieval villages in the Scottish Borders.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT75NE 8 and Scottish Borders SMR as 103009.


Cruft K Dunbar J and Fawcett R 2006, THE BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND, Borders, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Drummond J 1861, SCOTTISH MARKET-CROSSES, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.



Thomson L J 2000, SCOTTISH MARKET CROSSES: THE DEVELOPMENT OF A RISK ASSESSMENT MODEL, unpubl PhD thesis: The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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