Thursday, 18 March 2010

Ca Steean, Kendal

The Ca Steean

The Ca Steen, often referred to as the Cauld Stone (Calling Stone), the Cold Stean or the Coall Stone, is embedded in the West face of Kendal Town Hall. This huge grey, rounded piece of stone is probably all that remains of Kendal's huge market cross. I would imagine that the stone is now upside down, and, if exposed again, would have a socket on its underside, into which the cross would have been placed.

It is buried beneath the foundation stone laid in 1893 when the Town Hall was being built. The market cross was originally in the centre of Strickland Gate at the head of the Market Place. It was moved from this location, possibly in 1765, to enable the free flow of traffic up and down the streets, the cross disappearing, and the base finding its home here.

The stone has traditionally been the focal point for local and national announcements. Famously, it was from here that, in 1715, as Brigadier Mackintosh and his Highland soldiers rode into Kendal in the pouring rain, that the Jacobites proclaimed James III king. These days, it doesn't seem to get any attention from passers by at all.

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