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Forfar Market Cross

Forfar Market Cross
Forfar Market Cross

In 1684 Forfar Town Council commissioned Alexander Adam to go to Glamis to get stone to make a new market cross. He miscarved some of the heraldic devices which ran around the top of the tower and was compelled by the Town Council to correct his mistakes. He carved Forfar’s badge of a castle and the thistle for Charles II on the upper part of the Cross.

Alexander Adam came from a family of stonemasons. It is believed that he was the uncle or great uncle of William Adam the celebrated Scottish architect .

The Cross was originally situated in front of the old tolbooth and was the centre of burgh life. This was located where the High Street and Castle Street now intersect. Here the markets took place, proclamations were made, deaths were pronounced, armies mustered for war and criminals punished. When the new Town House was built in 1785 the Cross was considered to be a nuisance to traffic and was removed to a site on top of the Castle Hill. The Hill was the old motte of Forfar’s medieval royal castle which was destroyed by Robert Bruce. The Cross was considered to be a piece of "elegant antiquity " and worth preserving. The tower section was moved but the pillar was probably reused in another building.

weathered emblems
weathered emblems

The Cross has weathered very badly and much of the detail has disappeared. It is the only surviving market cross in Angus. It can be visited and provides a glorious panoramic view of Forfar and the Strathmore Valley. The key for the gates is available from Adamson’s Newsagents on Castle Street.

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