Showing posts from April, 2012

The MacRosty Bandstand -Crieff's Edwardian Gem

1920s pic looking from bamdstand towards the old Tea Room

Sketch by June McEwan local artist of Crieff

As a young schoolboy in the distant past I used to spend much of my summer holidays with family friends in a little cottage called Barnshaw in a narrow lane off Comrie Road . Ideal of course for an escape to the wonders of nearby MacRosty Park . In those immediate pre war years life was slowly returning to a semblance of normality . My main attraction in those days was that smooth stretch of water above the Weir where the laid starts and tumbles its way through the Park heading for the mighty Earn . Many a naval encounter was fought a s I propelled a large inflated inner tube about the pool in an attempt to sink the Bismarck !The old Mill was still standing where now the somewhat inappropriately named “ Park Manor “ dominates the landscape . Tucked away amongst the tall pines and looking somewhat forlorn was the old Bandstand . The Park gifted to the …

The Breadalbane Campbells , The Campbell Brothers of Crieff and The American Civil War Part Two

Mary Ann McOwan , niece of the brothers born at The Cross Crieff

The Breadalbane Campbells , the Campbell Brothers of Crieff and the American Civil War


In Part One we followed John and Clementina from Kenmore at the eastern end of Loch Tay . We know from information obtained from census returns that prior to coming to Crieff , the Campbells set up home in the Parish of Kilmadock which lies between Dunblane and Callander . It is supposition but John may have worked as a mason either on Lanrick Castle which underwent alterations in the 19th century or perhaps but less probable, repairs to the older Doune Castle . On the 30th January 1824, their first child arrived . John Campbell was , in Scottish family tradition named after his paternal grand father John Campbell . Their first daughter ,Janet McLaren Campbell was born in Kilmadock on the 30th March 1827 followed by Mary on the 25th January 1829 and then Peter on the 2nd January 1831 . After this the fami…

The Breadalbane Campbells, The Campbell Brothers of Crieff and the American Civil War

Taymouth Castle

The Clearance Cairn Glen Quaich

The Breadalbane Campbells ,the Campbell Brothers of Crieff and the American Civil War


Considerable interest has arisen over the incredible tale of the two Campbell brothers from Crieff . Alexander or Sandy as he was better known and his older brother James who fought on opposite sides in the American Civil War away back in the mid 19th century .

I first became aware of this fascinating true tale of the two Crieff lads some years back when I was contacted by a descendant, Tim Campbell Naylor who lives in Baltimore Maryland .Tim , it transpired , is a two times great grand nephew of the two brothers . The purpose of this blog is two fold . I want firstly to look at the back ground to the scenario that saw them ending up fighting at the Battle of Secessionville in 1862 on different sides and secondly how the family came to Crieff in the first place .

John Campbell , the father of Sandy and James was bor…

Tom a Chastel - The Royal Castle of Strathearn

Tom a Chastel

The Royal Castle of Strathearn

Fully a mile south of the old kirk of Monzievaird lies Trowan or Trewin . Today it is dominated by Baird’s monument sitting atop Tom a Chastel or the round hill of the castle Once it was the site of the Royal Castle of Earn ., In by gone times it was at the north east edge of the Glen Artney deer forest . From its summit beacon fires would proclaim the Earl’s rule over the whole of Strathearn . In 1329 John de Warrens , Earl of Surrey and his wife Joanna , Countess of Strathearn were condemned to imprisonment for life in the castle for complicity with various other lords against King Robert Bruce . The judgement was given by the Parliament at Scone . Joanna was the daughter of Malise , then seventh Earl of Strathearn . Tradition states that castle was burned down in the later part of the 14th century and some noble ladies confined therein were consumed by the flames . About 1790 most of the old stones of the castle were removed to be used…



The creation of the Earl and Countess of Strathearn with the marriage of Wills and Kate created considerable interest and publicity both here in the Strath and indeed in Scotland as a whole . Unfortunately it has now become clear that this historic title dating back some 1 000 years is very much secondary to the chosen alternative of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge . The latter was first granted in 1664, when James Stuart, son of the Duke of York by his first wife, was granted the title. James, Duke of Cambridge died young and without heirs, and the title became extinct.

The purpose of this Blog is to look at how the title first came into use and the tales of intrigue and subterfuge which are closely woven into the fabric of the titles .

After the Battle of Lumphanan in 1057 when Malcolm Canmore defeated Macbeth , the emergent nation of Scotland was predominantly Irish / Celtic. It had a tribal structure wi…

Intrigue In Pictish Strathearn



After the defeat at Mons Graupius in AD 82 , the Caledonian tribes ( the emerging Picts ) in all probability co existed with the Roman occupiers of Strathearn . Archaeological opinion and the lack of evidence of any confrontation between the two clearly indicates that Strathearn or Fortren was more or less at peace . Remember that after Mons Graupius , Roman presence existed , off and on up until about 380 AD . At its peak Roman armed strength was considerable possibly reaching some 20 000 armed soldiers in or about the Gask Ridge . This is some three times the number of inhabitants of Crieff in the early part of the 21st Century ! The logistics of providing the ordinance for these troops must have been considerable and would have provided adequate opportunity for the entrepreneurial Picts ! The arrival of the 5th century in Strathearn saw the Pictish inhabitants going from strength to strength as the d…

Strathearn's Pictish Trail

Strathearn’s Pictish Trail

Strathearn the ancient Pictish Kingdom of Fortren or Fortriu still retains much of its mysterious Pictish past . A past which may not be instantly discernible to the visitor or indeed the resident of our beautiful part of Perthshire.


A first clue to the former locations of our Pictish ancestors lies in place names
Picts spoke “ P- Gaelic “ unlike the Scots Gaelic spoken today. It was more akin to Welsh , Breton and Cornish. It used the OGHAM alphabet as seen on many of the inscribed standing stones around the Strath . Place names indicating a Pictish presence mostly start with “ Pit “or “ Pett “. This means a parcel of land and is not generally found south of Antonine’s Wall which bisects Scotland from the Clyde to the Forth .

In Strathearn these names still abound Names such as Pittentian, Pittacher, Pett Farm at Muthill , Pitkellony all indicate an earlier Pictish presence ! Other prefixes which again show an early Pictish settle…