Preston Mercat Cross
Preston Mercat Cross
The name might be confusing, but Preston Cross (or Preston Mercat Cross after the old term for 'market') is the name commonly given to this marvellous old early 17th century market cross near the southern edge of Prestonpans. Unusually, the cross still stands in its original location, something of a rarity among similar crosses.
To call it a cross may be slightly misleading; Preston Cross is more of a monument with a cross as its centrepoint. The base is an odd circular structure, 14 feet in diameter, looking a bit like a fanciful urn. This outer container bounds a tall, slender shaft of oval section. On top of the shaft is the figure of a unicorn holding an heraldic cartouche with a lion design.

The cross was probably put up by the Hamilton family of Preston, who were granted the right to hold a fair here in 1617. Such a fair could be a real money-spinner for a town or village, and the right to hold a fair was highly prized.