Market Cross

A monument from Alyth’s ancient trading history.

The erection of a Market Cross or ‘Mercat Cross’ in Scotland served as a symbolic representation of the right to hold a regular market or fair. This right was granted to settlements awarded burgh status directly by the monarch, or indirectly through major local landholders, tenants-in-chief of the Crown, who levied a duty on goods sold and was an indication of a town’s relative prosperity.

Whilst this later Market Cross was erected in 1670 by James, 2nd Earl of Airlie and he and his wife’s initials can be seen, Alyth was given the right to hold weekly markets from 1488 when it was given the status of a Burgh of Barony by charter granted by James III of Scotland, establishing both the right and the opportunity to become a centre for retailing and commercial enterprise.

This charter was given in favour of local landowner Alexander Lindsay, Master of Crawford, son of the 5th Earl of Crawford, who met an untimely end, suffocated in his bed by his family in nearby Inverqueich Castle in 1489 because of quarrels with his brother John.

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