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Nairn, Horloge Stone

Sundial (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Nairn, Horloge Stone

Classification Sundial (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 15127

Site Number NH85NE 4

NGR NH 8828 5642

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Nairn
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Nairn
  • Former County Nairn

Archaeology Notes

NH85NE 4 8828 5642.

The Horloge Stone, probably the old sundial on top of the present cross (NH85NE 1), appears to have stood at the corner of Leopold Street.

NH 8841 5655 (old position of cross)

G Bain 1893.

No further information about the Horloge Stone was obtained. The stone which stands on the top of the cross is a rectangular stone about 12 inches by 8 inches and has a pyramidal top. The faces of the stone are smooth and have no markings.

The corner of Leopold Street and the High Street is at NH 8828 5642.

Visited by OS (E G C) 30 November 1961.


Publication Account (1999)

The market cross was at the heart of burghal life. It was a symbol of the trading privileges granted to a burgh; and it was here that royal proclamations, legal decisions and general news were announced to the population. Nairn's market cross figure 1 O & 22.B can still be seen: a red sandstone pillar which stands outside the County Buildings. This cross, dated to 1757, is a comparatively recent version of a much older structure which would have existed within the town from medieval times. Local tradition asserts that the present market cross may be, in part, the Horloge Stone which stood for years at the junction of the High Street and Pole Road (now Leopold Street). The Horloge Stone was of great importance within the burgh as it was not only a marker used in the administration of justice, but also the town sundial. At some point, a ball finial was attached to the top of the market cross but is now sadly missing (as is much of the decoration of the cross, with only a small trace of moulding on the cornice remaining). In its heyday, the total structure was reputed to stand over two metres in height. The market cross has known several sites-it has stood in its present position only since 1968. Prior to that, it stood outside Royal Hotel figure 18 in the middle of the High Street- the logical place for town gatherings. Where exactly the cross was positioned in the medieval and early modern period is uncertain, but it was probably outside the tolbooth. It is possible that, at some time, a market cross may also have existed at the junction of King Street and Gordon Street, the site of the Shambles cattle market.

Information from - ‘Historic Nairn: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1999).


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