A wide choice of topics covered from the dawn of history right up to present days . Many of these have a wider relevance than purely within the context of Strathearn . The author's viewpoint often is at variance with the accepted opinions espoused elsewhere eg The Jacobite Uprisings and The Reformation .
Some Important Buildings of Strathearn
Strathearn's Hidden Architectural Beauty
And A Few Stories !
Braco Castle ( above ) : A tall and very extensive
building covering four periods. The original fortalice has been a square tower
or keep, with a projecting stair-tower, of probably 16th century construction,
though possibly earlier. To it was added, towards the middle of the 17th
century, an extension to the south, engulfing the stair-tower. Then a large
L-shaped extension, of the same height and general style was added to the east,
during the reign of George III, to form three sides of a square. Finally, in the Victorian era, the square was filled in with a slightly lower 'castellated'
central portion and sham turrets.
Williamston House : Near Madderty ,
Williamston dates back to the 16th century and belonged to the Oliphant family of Gask .
Alterations were carried out by Laurence
Oliphant who had purchased the house from Sir William Blair of Kinfauns.
Historical rumour says that Bonnie
Prince Charlie rested over on his way to a fateful Culloden in 1746 . The
Oliphants were of course a well known
Jacobite supporting family whose famous poetess Carolina Oliphant – Lady Nairne
wrote countless well remembered songs and poems including “Will Ye No Come Back
Again ?” . Called Carolina after the
Bonnie Prince , she penned numerous odes about
Gask and the Strath including one called
“ To The Banks of the Earn “ .
Flow on sweet Earn , row
on sweet Earn
Joy to a’ thy bonny braes
Spring’s sweet buds aye first do blow
Where the winding waters
Through thy banks which
wild flowers border
Freely wind and proudly
Where Wallace wight fought for the right
And gallant Grahams are
Aberuchil Castle :In 1596 the lands of
Aberuchill were granted to Colin Campbell (died 1618), son of Sir John Campbell
of Lawers. The earliest part of the tower house is dated 1602. In 1642 Aberuchill
was acquired by Sir James Drummond,and was retained by his descendants until
1858. The gothic east wing was added to the tower house by the Drummonds, and
the interiors remodelled, in the early 19th century.
house was purchased by Sir David Dundas of Dunira in 1858, who sold it on to
Sir George Dewhurst in 1864. Between 1869 and 1874 the west wing and further
additions were made, possibly to the designs of David Bryce. The estate was
sold by the Dewhursts in the 1980s, and remains in private ownership. In 2005
it was reported that Russian steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin had purchased the
castle and its 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) estate for £6.8 million.
Lawers House : Located east of Comrie, Lawers
was built in 1724 -1726 to the design of William Adam for General Sir James
Campbell, 3rd son of the Earl of Loudon and linked to the Breadalbane Campbells of Taymouth
Castle . Campbell died at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 in the War of the
Austrian Succession . The house as we
see it not the medium sized
country house of Adam but is
somewhat overwhelmed by the 19th
century alterations and subsequent enlargements . Magnificent interiors and
plasterwork with a splendid ballroom which was originally the saloon. Attractive walled garden and rustic bridge .The house was an agricultural school after
WW2 before returning o private ownership .
Strathallan Castle : Currently in the news as
it is the proposed location of “ T in the Park “- Scotland’s largest music festival in 2015 . The Castle
is really much younger than most people assume . Built in 1817/1818 to the
design of Robert Smirke remodelling the earlier
work of Robert Adam and the home of Viscount Strathallan who was
originally Ja mes Drummond MP . Symmetrical with battlements and turrets and
a variety of towers .
Abbey ( House ) :On
12th September 1842 Queen Victoria got down from her carriage 'for a moment' to
visit Abercairny (sometimes Abercairney), an enormous Gothic-style mansion house
in the process of being built. Not one given to passing compliments one is
unsure whether the young Queen uttered the classic phrase “ We are impressed “
! It was perhaps symptomatic of the attitude at the time of Scotland’s landed
classes that position and status were dictated to by the size and grandeur of
their real estate !
Situated in parkland which was landscaped in the
late 18th century, to the south of the A85 and 4 miles (6 km) east of Crieff in
the parish of Fowlis Wester in Perth and Kinross, Abercairny stood on an estate
which had been held by the Moray family since the end of the 13th Century.
However the mansion was demolished in 1960 and replaced with a rather more
modest Neo-Gothic house. The fine parkland and the Tudor-Gothic stable-court
(of 1841) remain.
A number of years ago I purchased a small booklet on Glen Artney in the book shop
that existed for some years in Drummond Street Comrie. The
author was the late Gordon Booth FSA , a superb researcher and accomplished
author . He was not a local man since moving to the village from I believe the Island of Islay in the
Inner Hebrides. Since arriving in the area, he had
read and assimilated much of the history and folk lore of this part of
the Strath .I recall the late Tom Weir (
of the woolly hat ) doing a programme in his Weir’s Way series on Glen Artney
an d featuring Gordon Booth . Regrettably
all seven of his little books are out of print although they may be
available to borrow through Perth and Kinross Library Service. I have
incorporated partial excerpts from his writings
in this blog on the Glen which I duly acknowledge as a fitting tribute to his
Glen Artney is some eight or so miles in length from the former
prisoner of war camp at Cultybraggan
There has been
considerablediscussionrecently regarding thestate of decrepitude ofmany of the olderand betterknownbuildingsin Crieff . The Drummond Arms , the old
Parish Church in Church Street ( aka the Community Hall ) , the George or Strathearn
Hotel and the old Crown Hotel in East High Street . Onedoesnotto travel too far back in
timeto recallthefate ofmany other fine buildings
in Crieff and indeed in Strathearn on a wider basis . Although I devoteda small spacesomemonthsback to Ferntower HouseI finditso fascinating that I
havedecided I am going to elaborate furtherandincludemore informationabout it andits mostcelebrated occupant
General SirDavid Bairdwhose monument dominates so much of the
Strath . It was a building not renownedforany great architectural
meritbut rather for its part in the
overalltapestry oflife in the Strath over two centuries . Once the home of the Preston family in the 15th
century the lands of Ferntower were forfeited to the Crown .These
landsseemed separate …
An Account Of One Of The Most Bloody Political/Religious Battles Fought In This Part Of Scotland The Battle of Tibbermore /Tibbermure
Victory by the Back Door The surge in the amount of violence and mayhem in the Middle
East and in targeted European (including British) locations has caused much grief and sadness to innocent families
and individuals . Atrocities carried out
in the name of religion are not something
that has suddenly occurred .They
have been part of society for longer than we might imagine .
The period of the 1640s in Scotland was one of violent confrontation between the
Royalists faction supporting the Stewart monarch Charles 1 and the fiercely
Presbyterian adherents known as Covenanters . Despite the efforts of James VI
to introduce Bishops into the Kirk , the Covenanters with their
power base in the south and south
west of Scotland were vociferous and militant in pursuit of their cause . In
1644 they marched south into
England to lend support to the Engl…