Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Our Shame Over Inchaffray Abbey

Inchaffray Abbey ( NN 954 223 )

“Fiercely gleams the old monk’s home
To other lands thy now must roam
Their Abbey grey is clothed in fire
From lowest stone to topmost spire .“

Inchaffray is located in the Parish of Madderty , and was one of the largest Abbeys in Scotland containing upwards of 200 monks . One of the Abbots , Maurice by name , carried the arm of St Fillan , and performed Mass before the Scottish Army , on the field of Bannockburn , where Scotland’s independence was fought and won . With such a pedigree one would have imagined Inchaffray would be the jewel in Strathearn’s crown !
Sadly modern planning incompetence has allowed a modern dwelling to be erected beside the old Abbey . Access is awkward and ,once again , totally unsigned – an absolute disgrace bearing in mind the significance of a building which was old when its Charter was granted in 1199 !

Go and pay a visit – it is not a private site ! From Crieff travel towards Perth on the A85 turning off right after Gilmerton ( sign posted Madderty ). Follow the narrow road for about 2 miles and you will espy Inchaffray ( the Isle of Masses ) surrounded on a raised hillock covered with trees . Parking ? On the right hand side before the gate way to the modern intruder !

Monday, 27 February 2012

Ferntower House

Ferntower House

Another beaut that lasted until the early sixties when it succumbed to dry rot and decrepitude. Its ignominious end saw it blown up by the army leaving only the stable and servants’ block remaining . Ferntower was the home of Sir David Baird and his wife Lady Preston and was located below the Knock on the upper part of what is now Crieff Golf Course . in the 1900s it employed 8 gardeners to prune the hedges and cut the grass !

Gone ! Gone ! Gone!

They All Have Gone !!

It’s quite amazing how many of our fine old properties have disappeared over the last few decades . Below are some that once graced our Strathearn landscape but alas have fallen victim perhaps to the vagaries of inflation combined with one too many repair bills . In some cases a sort of occupational redundancy combined with soaring labour costs put paid to the grandeur of yester year . Below are just some that are no longer with us – gone but I hope not forgotten !


Once the home of the Graeme’s of Inchbrakie , a scion of the Duke of Montrose , it fell victim to the whims of its new owner when sold by the family in 1878 and was demolished . Located north of the entrance to Dollerie House on the Crieff to Perth back road it had splendid gardens and even the ruins of the old castle to gaze out upon !


A splendid mansion once visited by no less than Queen Victoria on her visit to Strathearn with her beloved Albert . Its short life was indicative of the rapidly changing pattern of life thereafter .

Ferntower House

The Lost Castle of Fowlis !

NN 938 239

Fowlis Castle is a most neglected part of our local, heritage Bereft of any signage explaining to the curious visitor its importance and significance in years gone by , it is somewhat off the beaten track but quite accessible . Heading towards Perth on the A85 , look for the Newbigging Farm sign on the left hand side about a mile and a half after New Fowlis Turn up and at the farm turn sharp left on the road to Blairmore Farm . The castle mound is about half mile on the left hand side . Barbed wire to keep the sheep in or out so watch your breeks ! This was the home of Malise , Seventh Earl of Strathearn , who had a verbal dust up with Robert the Bruce . Bruce arrived on his doorstep complete with his army . On demanding his homage, Malise’s answer was that to give it would be to break faith with the King of England. Sir John Boyd stepped forward and said to Bruce “ Give me his lands, and put him to death as you have done to others who refused to pay homage to you “. Not surprisingly Malise did a quick about turn and homage was duly paid !

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Colin's Books on Perthshire - Crieff & Strathearn

Colin has now written and published four books on Crieff & Strathearn over the last few years . These can be purchased directly from him and will be dispatched immediately on receipt of payment .

* Payment by PayPal and dispatched that day .Please note that this is a secure method and purchasers do not need to have a separate PayPal account .

* The price of the book is listed below .

* Postage and package within the UK is £1.50 per book.

* Postage and package to Europe is £3.80 per book

* Postage and package to rest of the world ( US , Canada, Australia etc ) is £6.50 per book .

* E mail Colin on caledonc@gmail.com giving details of your order , your name and address .
Sorry  - now out of print !

Published by Amberley Publishing , Crieff & Strathearn Through Time is a fascinating new concept containing some 180 photographs old and new covering not only Crieff but also Muthill , Comrie, St Fillans , Gilmerton , Lochearnhead , Methven , Amulree ,Braco and Blackford . It compares the original scene with a contemporary view . Many never seen pics highlight this fascinating read - a must for those with an interest in our beautiful part of Perthshire .

Some of the nice things that have been said

"I love this new book! At first I thought it was overloaded with pics but when I read how you joined past and present together and how it was filled with nostalgia and the modern view of Strathearn I just loved it. Didn't lose any of your inimitable style; better I'd say, well done and congratulations."
Jess Smith , author and raconteur

" Fascinating and beautifully thought out and presented - many congratulations "
Crieff resident

"If you like comparing up-to-date views of buildings or streets with how they were in times past then this is the book for you. Each page has scenes from yesteryear matched with recently-taken photographs. There are also anecdotes or a brief description accompanying the pictures. I know Strathearn quite well and enjoyed Colin Mayall's latest work enormously. "

N Sharp North Yorkshire , Amazon Review Page



£8.00 + p & p

As a follow up to last years successful " Crieff and Strathearn Through Time ", Colin is pleased to announce that his latest book More Tales of Crieff & Strathearn is now available .

Somewhat different to his last two pictorial accounts of the Strath , it has over 100 pictures old and new to add , nicely blended to add a little spice to the meat of the written word . The book is divided into three specific sections - people , places and anedcdotes . Perhaps the benefit of this format is that it allows you to pick up and put down without losing the thread of a plot ! The people included perhaps surprise you as to their connection with Strathearn - Jim Bowie associate of Davie Crocket and David Jack who lent his name to that American delicacy Monterey Jack . Some like Ewan McGregor are house hold names in places other than Crieff . Did you know that it was a Crieff man who in all probability wrote Rule Brittania or that the English Football Association was founded by a man from Braco ?



£8.00 + p & p

This was Colin's first book and has established itself has something special .
The Story of Stathearn is not just a history but a collection of intriguing tales , both serious and amusing of this fascinating area of Perthshire once the ancient Pictish Kingdom of Fortren . Here was the oldest Roman frontier in Eurpe and in later times the base of the Earls of Strathearn and their violent confrontation with Robert the Bruce .



Sorry now out of print !

Printed by Tempus and reprinted by The Historic Press , this pictorial study of the Strath is currently out of stock . Please allow 10 days for dispatch .


Welcome !

College Buildings Crieff about 1840

Hi there ! I am Colin Mayall and I live in Crieff. I am a genealogist ( big word for someone who spends half their life digging up family roots ! ) and an author . Check out my "Blog" for full details about my activities and interest . http://caledonianconnectionsgenealogy.blogspot.co.uk/

I want to bring to you some of the fascinating and oft forgotten tit bits of local history that I trust will be of interest to you albeit you may be local or a visitor to the Strath !