High Street, Crieff, PH7 4AB
For hundreds of years markets stood at the heart of civic life in Scotland. The Burgh Cross, Drummond Cross and Crieff Stocks described here each stood at some time in the Crieff market place. The market was a public space where people could gather, goods and livestock could be exchanged and justice could be administered. Together, the monuments span more than 1000 years of history and chart the evolution of society, trade and law in Crieff and its surrounding area.
Located in the basement of the Crieff Old Town Hall, you can explore the fascinating historic monuments of Crieff. More information about the monuments and their history can be found in this document [2.86 MB].
The Drummond Cross
The Drummond Cross was installed as Crieff’s market cross in the late 17th century. At this time Crieff was made a ‘Burgh of Regality’, a town under the authority of the Drummond family. James Drummond was Chancellor to King James VII of Scotland and II of England.
At the top of the cross is carved a shield displaying the Drummond coat-of-arms. It is an impressive symbol of the family’s power that would have towered overhead in the 17th century market. While there is no record of the cross existing before this, the design of the monument suggests it may have been carved earlier, probably between 1400 and 1600.
As a market cross, the carved stone signposted the local market place; announcements would have been made from it and meetings held around it. Like the Burgh Cross displayed alongside, the Drummond Cross has iron fixings where punishment collars, known as ‘jougs’, would have been attached.
The Burgh Cross
The Burgh Cross stood in Crieff for over 200 years but was probably first made in the 9th century. It would likely have been commissioned by a wealthy Pictish patron and at the time would have been a profound symbol of Christian authority.
The cross originally stood near the hamlet of Strowan, to the west of Crieff, close to a chapel and holy well dedicated to St Ronan. It is thought the cross may have been associated with the pilgrimage cult of the saint.
Whatever its original purpose, the monument became Strowan’s market cross and served as such from the 12th to 18th centuries. After Strowan’s market was relocated to Crieff, the Burgh Cross was also moved and replaced the Drummond Cross in the centre of Crieff’s market place.
The Crieff Stocks
When the Crieff Tolbooth was demolished in the 1840s, these stocks were discovered lying in an underground cell. Their exact date of origin is unknown, but stocks had been used as a form of punishment in Europe from at least the 800s. In 1574 the Scottish Parliament passed an Act requiring all burghs to provide their own prisons, stocks and irons.
The Crieff stocks are made from thick and heavy wrought iron bars. The section on display was made to hold two pairs of legs, and would originally have had a second bar along the top to hold a further two people. This example is unique in its design; few other examples of stocks survive in Scotland.
People convicted of petty crimes like illegal begging could be put in the stocks for hours or perhaps even days. Placed in the centre of the market place, the convicted person was left to withstand the elements and suffer the ridicule of townsfolk.