Innerpeffray - an ancient Chapel - the oldest lending Library in Scotland PLUS a Roman Ford and Road !
The original library was "partly in the west end of the chapel of Innerpeffray and partly in that little new house lately built by me at the east end of the kirk yard." Making books available to ordinary people free of charge was unprecedented. Madertie wished the library and school to benefit the community "in time coming" and leaving them with a legacy of 5000 Scottish Merks charged his successors with the responsibility.
In 1739 Robert Hay Drummond inherited the Innerpeffray estate and responsibility for the Library and School. He raised the funds and commissioned architect Charles Freebairn to design and build a new Library building immediately adjacent to the Chapel. This handsome Georgian edifice still houses the library today
By the nineteenth century the school buildings were 'dilapidated' and a new School and Schoolmasters house were completed in 1846. Pupils came from the surrounding farms and settlements and the school was still in operation until 1946.
The Borrowers' Register is perhaps the Library's most valuable book, a handwritten record all the local people to who came to choose a book, and take it home to read. Today, families from all over the world find their ancestors in the Register, often in their own handwriting, and can hold the books they borrowed.
The lands in the area later passed into the hands of the Drummond family. The chapel you see today was built in 1507 by John, 1st Lord Drummond. As well as paying for the chapel, he paid for four chaplains to pray for the wellbeing of their benefactor and his family, both in life and in the afterlife.
By 1542 the chaplains serving the chapel had formed a "college", in effect a small religious community, and the church had become what is known as a "collegiate church". Its role remained very much as before: a place of worship for the lord and his family and retainers, and a place where the college of priests could pray for the souls of the Drummonds. The new status of the church seems to have been part of Lord Drummond's development of Innerpeffray as a home for one of his younger sons. The following year, 1543, saw the building of nearby Innerpeffray Castle, now an inaccessible ruin.
After the Reformation of 1560, the chapel survived by being converted into a family burial vault for the Drummonds. By 1680 the estate was in the hands of David Drummond, 3rd Lord Madertie. He was a renowned scholar who had built up a collection of 400 books in English, Latin and a range of European languages. These he kept in the chapel until they were rehoused in 1762 in a library built immediately to the west of the chapel by his descendent Robert Hay Drummond, who at the time was Archbishop of York. The following year it opened as Scotland's first free public lending library.
The chapel today is a fascinating example of a collegiate church which avoided falling into disuse after the Reformation. Drummond family crests and memorials adorn the walls, while the discreet medieval altar still sits against the east wall.
Today the alcove at the west end is home to one of the most magnificent old gravestones you are likely to find anywhere in Scotland. And also one of the most poignant. This is the Faichney monument. It was carved by John Faichney, a mason, and commemorates his wife Joanna, who died in 1707 and no fewer than ten of their children who had died before her. The couple are carved on the head of the stone, while the columns on either side of the body of the stone carry small figures depicting each child. The stone originally stood in the churchyard, but has been moved into the chapel to protect it from the elements.
The Roman Road