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.
Nowadays citizens of Crieff and
indeed the whole country are confronted
by a raft of legislation
concerning the family car ! The punishment for contravening the laws
are extensive and quite draconian
. Private car parks , parking meters , average speed cameras , lines on the road , traffic wardens
(aka blue meenies !! ) and so on and so on ! In days gone by , long before Mr
Daimler had invented the four wheel metal box , crimes
were of a different nature and indeed
a different scale of punishment . I have
had a look through the
archives pertaining to the town in the
18th and 19th centuries and judge for
yourself whether a £60
parking fine is more tolerable than some of the felonies listed below !
In 1770, Andrew Wilson from Aberfoyle
and Janet Graeme his wife were tried at Perth Circuit Court for breaking
into the Waulk Mill at Monzie and stealing there from two pieces of cloth .
They were found guilty and banished to the Plantations ( America ) for life . In…
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
story is one of the sad tales of the Strath. This ancient family once were one
of the dominant influences in Strathearn and their names appeared with frequent
regularity as the centuries unfold. The Graeme family of Inchbrakie are however
still around. There is a most excellent web site http://www.inchbrakie.com/ which provides a
superb source of research and information into not only the family but also
their domicile up until the late 19th century at Inchbrakie . Anthony Graeme ,
a present day descendant and a most charming person , lives in far off Devon
but is a frequent visitor here in Strathearn .Interestingly , there are here in
Crieff, a couple of roads bearing that
illustrious name .One wonders just how many of the inhabitants of houses in
those specific airts know much about the original name ! We are, however , most fortunate that the family history of the
Graemes was painstakingly recorded in a book Orr and Sable – a book of the
Graemes and Gr…