Ormiston Mercat Cross

Just when you think you don’t have a blog post brewing, a big one suddenly appears out of nowhere!

I hadn’t decided if I was going to do a post for today’s Sepia Saturday when I had to nip out for milk late this afternoon and I just went to the nearest shop, the Co-Op in Ormiston.  As I drove up the Main Street, the sun was shining on the familiar old market cross standing slap-bang in the middle of the street and I thought it looked better than usual in the low sunshine.  I snapped it with my phone and thought no more of it – I just enjoy taking random photos that I like and phones make that a breeze.

Ormiston Mercat Cross

Ormiston Mercat Cross 24 Sep 2011

I lived in Beech Cottage (the little white house you can just see on the left) for a couple of years in the late 90’s, and I’ve had a strong connection with the village of Ormiston throughout my life.  Our local parish Church was the one in Ormiston when I was a child (not that we went very often) – and the village had our nearest swing park which was 2 1/2 miles away from the farm, so the four of us kids had Special Outings with my Porter Grandparents to give Mum peace for an hour – a rare treat for all of us!  These grandparents are on Mum’s side – not the relatively carefree tree-climbing granny you already know from Dad’s side.

Back home (with milk) I thought about Sepia Saturday and went to one of my favourite websites for looking at miscellaneous old Scottish stuff – RCAHMS to see what they had on Ormiston Cross.  A lot of their data can only be accessed in person, however, they do have some interesting things online (have a look if you have any Scottish connections) and I found this photo

Ormiston Cross from West

Item SC 1164189

Caption General view from W.
Notes Scanned from a glass plate.
Category SCANNED IMAGES
Object type Digital image
This is a copy of EL 1779
Copyright © Batsford Ltd London

Person B C Clayton
Role Photographer

The original cobblestones have been uncovered since this photo was taken (shame it’s not dated), and if you look very closely down the at the far end of the Main Street, you can see another monument.  This is dedicated to Robert Moffat (1795 – 1883), the Scottish missionary and explorer (his daughter, Mary, married “Dr Livingston, I Presume”).  My Granny Porter claimed that we were the “great great great great great grandchildren” of Robert Moffat, and we paid homage at the monument on some visits to the swing park.  The monument bears an image of the great man and his even greater beard.

My Granny’s paternal grandmother was a Moffat, and somehow a (dare I say “tenuous”) connection had been made between Robert and her granny, and by the time it reached us it was Law.  Needless to say, in all my years as a genealogist, I have been unable to prove any connection and suspect it is highly unlikely that there is one, beyond sharing the Moffat surname.

However, we did get to have a go on the see-saw and the swings :-)

There’s now a plaque on the East side of the railings giving more info on the Cross

I’m very pleased that I wasn’t subjected to public exposure of malefactors :-)

It’s Sepia Saturday – check out the other contributors’ interesting old photos, and why not have a go at posting one of your own – it doesn’t have to be sepia :-)

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About Jo

Professional Scottish genealogist - this blog is for my own family history and photos
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11 Responses to Ormiston Mercat Cross

  1. Liz Stratton says:

    The swings were definitely worth it – even if there is no connection! There is so often a thread of truth to family lore that you may yet find the link – perhaps a very, very distant one. :)

  2. Fascinating! I’m glad the cross still exists, it could have been easily vandalized or destroyed during all these centuries.

  3. Bob Scotney says:

    This is interesting information about the cross, malefactor or not.. Shame you are unable to prove the Moffat link.

  4. Little Nell says:

    Very interesting…and all because you ran out of milk! It’s nice to see the cobblestones revealed too. I couldn’t get one of the links to work Jo; it may have been just me, but the great man and his beard one took me off somehere else.Thought I’d mention it anyway.

    • Jo says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Little Nell – I’ve uploaded one of my own pics of “the beard” instead :-) Jo

  5. As I was viewing your “cross”, the radio in the background came up with the program, “Back to the Bible”, a message there perhaps?????

    • Jo says:

      Spooky! Robert Moffat translated the Bible (it took him 30 years) into the language of the Kuruman people. Quite an achievement for a humble Scottish gardener :-)

  6. gluepot says:

    I like the Ormiston Cross too, but it’s the Robert Moffat memorial that caught my eye. I had a childhood friend – also named Moffat – who told me that he was a descendant of Robert. However, this I believed, and still do, since we were living in the right part of the world at the time (Rhodesia), and it was probably his great-grandfather who became Prime Minister of the country. I have a CDV of Robert Moffat which I wrote about on Photo-Sleuth a few years ago.

    • Jo says:

      Hi Brett – that’s a cracking picture of Robert and his beard! I think your friend is more likely to be related than I am, given that none of Robert’s sons seemed to have returned to Scotland. I really should investigate his grandsons now :-) Jo

  7. Christine says:

    There’s a tradition that needs to be brought back: the public exposure of malefactors. Although I’m not sure the graffiti painters etc, would care. They might like it.

    • Jo says:

      Yes, there’s “kudos” attached for some malefactors these days, rather than Shame. More’s the pity…

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