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 .
The Ancient Church of Strowan Near Crieff
In the 19th
century there were over 940 ecclesiastical parishes in Scotland .These parishes were administered by the established church that is the Kirk or the Presbyterian Church of
Scotland who were after the Reformation the successor to the Catholic Church in Scotland . In the majority of cases these parishes had their origins in pre Reformation days and many of the older parish churches still survive albeit
often in a ruinous
condition . One little gem that remains although in a somewhat ruinous
condition is that of Strowan Church near
Just the walls remain
Baird's Monument close by
The over grown entrance to the Kirk
17th century memorial in the church
Memorial in the interior in Latin dated 1684
The window on the rear wall above where the alter would have been located
Old and new
Strowan was a Parish in its own right until the 1600s when it amalgamated with the adjoining Parish of Monzievaird to become Monzievaird and Strowan .The church that exists was erected on the site of an even earlier structure dating back into the mists of time and was in probability constructed in the early 17th century .It is dedicated to St Rowan or St Ronan and has around it a small grave yard with a variety of stones and memorials many of which are those of the Stirling family , the one time Lairds of Strowan .
Old Strowan Bridge
Strowan House showing Strowan Cross - site of the old market
The Cross located east of Strowan House was the centre point of the annual market and Fair was sheltered by a mature lime tree. The Cross bore the initials JNRN - Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judorum .
One reason why Strowan has survived the vagaries of modernisation is
that after the Second World War the old Strowan Bridge was demolished as being “ unsafe “ A new bridge
and road were constructed some distance
downstream from the original this
physically isolating the old kirk from easy access .
One of the many interesting features one stumbles across at Strowan
It has a beautiful
serenity and views towards the Baird Monument close by to the
east . Access is by means of what is
sign posted as “ Private Access “ being
the approach to Strowan House and is in fact the old public highway . Drive
out of Crieff on the A85 Comrie road and turn left at Monzievaird along the unscheduled road and cross the new
bridge . Park your
car in the lay by on the south
side of the new bridge and walk the 100 yards
to the old church . It is well worth the effort !
A microcosm of the past
historical and religious fascination of theold Church in itssecludedsetting , there are anumber of other interesting talesconcerning the Parish itself . The founder of
the Parish wasoneSt Rowan whowas also its tutelar Saint . He leftbell to it and three acres of land for the support of the bellman . The
early “ bellmen “ were the dewars or keepers of the bell and the name itself is notedin Scottish 20th Centuryannals asthe surname
of one of the founders of there – convened
Scottish Parliament - the late Donald
Other local memorials to the Saint survive . The Pool of St
Rowan is a deep pool in the River Earnabout 100 yards upstream from the old bridge of Strowan .In addition
there is a fine spring of water close by the House known as St Rowan’s Well .
Although the Church ceased to function as such in 1804 when it amalgamated with the parish church of Monzievaird ( pronounced " Monie - vaird " !!! ) its history extends far back into the mists of early Celtic Christianity . The Latin memorial shown above is dated 1684. Archaeological research carried out indicates that the ruined church was rebuilt prior to that date on the same site and in probability goes back as far as the 12th century or even earlier .
This is one of the hidden treasures of Strathearn - easily accessed and close by a host of other " points of interest " including Baird's Monument - the Pictish , Tom a chastel ( the Royal Palace of Strathearn or Forten ) and of course Samson's Stone on the Laggan walk !
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…
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…
The Cursus of Crieff – More of Our Incredible Past !
We have looked at in previous Blogs , the considerable number of known Neolithic or New Stone Age sites around Strathearn and indeed Crieff . The numbers seem to grow by the year and are an increasing part of our heritage . They are relevant not just in a local sense but on the national and indeed international archaeological stage . They date back some 6 000 years and are older than many of the pyramids of Egypt ! Apart from the ancient tomb discovered 150 years ago on the ancient site of the Stayt of Crieff on Broich Road , most recent discoveries include the timber circle at Pittentian and the habitations at Forth Cottage at Fendoch at the entrance to the Sma Glen .
Perhaps however the most incredible was the realisation that we had in our own back yard on the site of the new Strathearn Campus a Neolithic cursus . No , a cursus is not some celestial finger of doom pointing at our fair town an…