Longforgan landmark Mercat Cross brought down amid safety concerns

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A landmark which has stood tall at the heart of a Tayside village for centuries is to be brought down amid concerns over falling debris.

The Mercat Cross in Longforgan is to be taken down by conservationists following the discovery of a number of faults in the structure.

The cross was built in the late 17th Century and is believed to have been erected by Patrick Lyon, the first Earl of Strathmore.

The statue was moved to Longforgan Primary School in 1989, having lived in the grounds of Huntly Castle since the 18th Century.

The cross was set to be removed and put into storage because of a number of faults found in the structure.

Conservationists hope to be able to repair the figurepoint, before it becomes damaged further.

Alasdair Bailey

Carse of Gowrie councillor Alasdair Bailey said the structure had “deteriorated” to a level where it needed to be removed.

He said: “Work has just commenced at Longforgan Primary School over the Easter holidays.

“Longforgan Community Council was looking to make the Mercat Cross more of a feature of the village.

“There were initial ideas about putting in a support structure around it to secure it during the nearby school works.

“Upon inspecting the site there was a concern that further deterioration might result in bits falling off.”

A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The Longforgan Mercat Cross is being removed from the village this week to allow for a fuller examination of the condition of the stonework.

“An initial visual survey of the cross has shown that much of the stonework is in a poor condition with the risk of further damage and loss of pieces of stonework if it remains in place.

“Until the full examination has been completed it is not possible to say what can be done to conserve the structure.

“However, it is expected that the monument will be removed for at least one year.”

Mr Bailey said he was keen to make sure the Mercat Cross would see the “light of day again”.