A mystery marker
The Merkland Cross stands 3m high. Its tapered shaft and floriated (flower-shaped) head are carved from a single block of stone.
The sculptural detail suggests the cross was raised in the 1400s. Although it sits on a modern base, there is no reason to believe that the cross has been moved any distance from its original site.
Why this wayside cross was erected beside the ancient Roman road into Annandale from Carlisle is a mystery. It may have been put up to serve as the focus for a market, or a regular meeting place. Perhaps it served as a preaching cross.
Tradition has it that the cross commemorated the site where a member of the Maxwell family met his violent death, although this seems highly implausible.
Its location – a medieval landmark beside the modern A74(M).