Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Mercat Cross (Dickson)

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

THE MERCAT CROSS (S3x32) 3C set John Bowie Dickson Dunedin 3

1- 8 1s+3s set; petronella turn into centre and dance ½ reel of 4 in centre of dance
9-16 1M+3L (centre couple) dance LH across with 2s while 1L+3M chase clockwise ½ way; 1s+3s dance ½ reel of 4 in centre of dance
17-24 1M+3L (centre couple) dance LH across with 2s as 1L+3M chase clockwise ½ way; 1s+3s turn RH 1¼ times ending with 1s facing down
25-32 1s+2s dance the Rondel but on bars 29/32 3s set advancing to make an arch and dance up to 2nd place as 1s dance under to 3rd place. 231

(MINICRIB, Dance Crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


The Mercat Cross (Dickson)
John Bowie Dickson   Dunedin Book 3
Strathspey   3 x 32 bars   3 Couple Repeat   3 Couple Set   Lengthwise Set

  1-2       1s 3s set;

  3-4       1s 3s petronella turn to the centre line, finishing 1M3L back to back facing partners;

  5-8       1L1M3L3M half reel of 4 up and down, finishing with 1M below 2s, 3L above;

  9-12     3M 1L chase clockwise halfway WHILE 3L2s1M left hands across, 1M finishing facing down, 3L up;

13-16     1L3L1M3M half reel of 4 up and down, finishing with 1M above 2s, 3L below;

17-20     3M 1L chase clockwise halfway WHILE 1M2s3L left hands across, 1s 3s finishing facing partners;

21-24     1s 3s turn partners by the right 1¼ times, finishing 3s in original places, 1s on the centre line, retaining hold and facing down;

25-32     3-couple rondel, finishing 2s3s1s:

    25-26 1s cross down under arch made by 2s dancing up, 2s finishing half a place above 1st place, 1s half a place below 2nd place, all on opposite sides facing out;

    27-27 2s cast to 1st place WHILE 1s cast up to 2nd place, finishing 2s1s on opposite sides;

    28-29 2L1L cross under arch made by 2M1M dancing across, all finishing in original places, 1s facing up, 2s down;

    30-30 1s dance up, in and down WHILE 2s dance down, in and up WHILE 3s advance (left foot step) and face up, finishing 1s facing down, 2s 3s up, all with nearer hands joined;

    31-32 1s lead down under arches made by 2s 3s, all finishing 2s3s1s.

(MAXICRIB, Scottish country dancing instructions compiled by Reuben Freemantle)

Dance Notes

25-32     These instructions for the rondel are phrased and worded differently from the RSCDS form but would be interpreted in the same way.

28-30     These instructions for the 3-couple rondel differ from the devisers' but avoid any risk of collision between 2L and 3L on bar 29.

30-30     To be ready for their part in the rondel, 3s dance in (left foot step) and face up, nearer hands joined.


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Instruction Videos

The Mercat Cross (Dickson) - YouTube Scottish Country Dancing Instruction Video

Dance Information

Also see the dance Mercat Cross (Attwood) by Jean Attwood.
Also see the dance Mercat Cross (Priddey) by Barry Priddey.
Also see the dance Mercat Cross (Skelton) by Barry Skelton.

A mercat cross is a market cross found in Scottish cities and towns where trade and commerce was a part of economic life. It was originally a place where merchants would gather, and later became the focal point of many town events such as executions, announcements and proclamations. To this day several important announcements and proclamations are still ceremonially made at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, including the calling of general elections and the succession of new monarchs.

Despite the name, the typical mercat cross is not actually cruciform - variations range from a short pole stuck in the ground to the grand pillar rising out of the "cross house" in Edinburgh.

The Mercat Cross
One Of The Finest Examples Of A Mercat Cross Is In Inverkeithing In Fife


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original Mercat Cross article on Wikipedia.
Image Copyright Kilnburn.

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