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Preston, Preston Cross

A Category A Listed Building in Prestonpans, East Lothian

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9556 / 55°57'20"N

Longitude: -2.976 / 2°58'33"W

OS Eastings: 339156

OS Northings: 674045

OS Grid: NT391740

Mapcode National: GBR 2J.XWXH

Mapcode Global: WH7TV.8K3R

Entry Name: Preston, Preston Cross

Listing Date: 5 February 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 351490

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB17533

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Prestonpans

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Preston, Seton and Gosford

Parish: Prestonpans

Traditional County: East Lothian

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Description

Early 17th century. Yellow sandstone mercat cross, comprising round drum base surmounted by shaft. Base course. Pilastraded drum divided into 8 panels, 6 comprising round-arched, scallop-headed niches with stone seats; string course at impost level; round-arched opening with vertically-boarded studded timber door and square-headed platform stair opening with iron yett, to remaining panels. Corbelled out at moulded entablature, with decorative spiral waterspouts and Doric guttae aligned above pilasters, surmounted in turn by panelled pilasters to parapet, each with flagstaff socket above. Parapet encloses platform with oval-section shaft rising from central plinth, with decorative capital surmounted by painted finial of seated unicorn, crowned at throat, holding cartouche with rampant lion motif.

Statement of Interest

Property in Care. Scheduled Ancient Monument No 90242. Called 'the most handsome mercat cross in Scotland', it was built soon after the 1617 charter enabling Preston to hold a weekly market and the annual St Jerome's Fair, held on the second Thursday of October. Preston Cross is unique amongst Scottish mercat crosses of the period in that it has never been moved. Howard notes a possible rivalry with Edinburgh in celebrating James VI's visit to Scotland in 1617. The timber door leads to a central domed chamber that was probably used as a prison, the pit-prison of nearby Preston Tower (see separate listing) being abandoned after the building of the cross. The Renaissance carving is contemporary to that of nearby Winton House (see separate listing).

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