Methven is a Parish and a village lying due west of the City of Perth . The name is derived from the Gaelic word Meodhan, signifying "middle “ . Perhaps because of its location and proximity to Perth , it has featured in numerous tales concerning our ancient heritage . Let me start off this Blog with reference to my namesake , Culen who was crowned King of Scots at Scone in 972 AD. Culen was a bit of a high liver and not exactly the most moral of individuals . To quote the words of Victorian author and cleric , William Marshall : “ He abandoned himself to the grossest of licentiousness and in a few years was such an abhorrence to the Nation that a Parliament was summoned to meet at Scone for the purpose of disposing him “ . Culen was on his way there when he was ambushed ,attacked and killed by the Thane of Methven . The Thane had saught revenge for the alleged abuse of his daughter by the monarch . A scribe of the period recorded : “ Culen , not knowing wherefore this Councell was was called, as he was going thitherwards , at Methven Castle , being almost in the mid waie of his journey , was murdered by one Cadhard , the Thane of that place , whose daughter he had ravished before time among divers others . This end had Culen together with all his filthie sensualities . But this reproachful infamie thereof remaineth in memory with his posteritie, and is not like to be forgotten whilst the whole World goeth about . He was thus dispatched in the fifth year of his reign , the nobles and great peers of the realm , rejoicing at his death , though they allowed not the manner of his death “
Just over two hundred years after the demise of Culen , Methven once again featured in another incident . This one featured Scotland’s great hero , William Wallace . Wallace had taken refuge in Methven Wood on a spying mission to ascertain the strength of the English garrison in the Fair City of Perth . Having succeeded in finding out the relevant information , he proceeded to attack the English force on their way to Kinclaven Castle to strengthen its garrison
Shortly after this , Methven Wood again featured in an important chapter in the Wars of Independence . The English under their King Edward 1 or “ Edward Longshanks “ had invaded and controlled most of Scotland including Perth . The “ Fair City “ was governed by Aymer de Valence , the Earl of Pembroke . His power was substantial as the King had appointed him “ Guardian of Scotland “ .
Robert the Bruce
It was here in 1306, that Robert Bruce , a Scottish nobleman of Norman descent , commenced the fight back against the occupation . At the head a of a comparatively small army, Bruce headed to Perth and in a bold assertion of his standing , challenged Pembroke to fight him in the open field . The English noble replied that he would accept this challenge on the following day . Bruce on hearing this retired with his men to Methven Wood .In an age when chivalry and honour were rated highly , Bruce and his men settled down in their sylvan retreat .Their body armour was taken off and fires were lit and cooking of their meals commenced . Suddenly ,out of the darkness appeared the soldiers of Pembroke . Scarce was the time to raise the alarm as the foe lunched a fierce attack on the unprepared Scots . It was a desperate resistance but the odds were heavily stacked against them . A rout was inevitable . Bruce launched an attack directly at Pembroke and killed his horse under him . The result was inevitable . Particular attention was paid by the English attackers to down Bruce . His horse was targeted and he was thrice unsaddled . Sir Philip de Mowbray , one of the English officers , shouted loudly that he had the new – made King! Bruce’s brother in law , Sir Christopher Seton , responded immediately and with a mighty blow of his battle axe felled Mowbray to the ground and rescued the Bruce . The English sword drank that night , the blood of many of our ancestors . Besides the slain that Bruce had to mourn, he was faced with many of his men now being held captive . Sir Hugh de la Haye , Sir David Inchmartin , Sir John de Somerville , Randolph and others of his bravest adherents .Longshanks on hearing the tidings of his victory , ordered the prisoners to be immediately executed .
Pembroke ventured to deviate slightly from the letter of the bloody order . Randolph was pardoned , a few were ransomed but the majority were hanged and quartered in a spirit of merciless revenge .
There have been a number of Methven Castles and the present structure was built in the late 17th century . What is interesting however is not the structure but the owners and occupants of the seat. The first of these upon record was the Mowbrays ( mentioned above ) . Their common ancestor was Roger Mowbray , a Norman who came to England with Norman the Conqueror . His descendant , Sir Philip de Mowbray arrived in Scotland some 100 years later and married the daughter of the Earl of Dunbar . The family had extensive lands and the Methven part became the property of Robert de Mowbray , a brother of Philip . In the Wars of Independence the Mowbrays generally sided with the English . In 1314 when the Bruce gained Scottish Independence after Bannockburn , a Mowbray was Governor of Stirling Castle and duly surrendered it to Bruce . As a result the lands of the Mowbrays were confiscated and Methven fell to Walter , Lord High Steward of Scotland who was the husband of Bruce’s daughter Marjory . Their son became Robert the Second and he was the progenitor of the Stewart dynasty .