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South Inch

A low-lying area of parkland which forms part of the flood-plain of the River Tay immediately to the south of the centre of Perth, the South Inch is divided by the Edinburgh Road. The North and South Inches was granted to the Royal Burgh of Perth in 1374 by King Robert II (1316-90). Lying outside the boundary of the Mediaeval burgh, where trade and industry were strictly limited, the South Inch became a busy place, used as a bleachfield, for public cattle grazing, and horse racing was first recorded here in 1613. Cattle markets were moved here in 1785.

The Perth Show and Perth Highland Games both take place annually on the eastern section, between Edinburgh Road and Shore Road, while other facilities include a boating pond, pair of bowling greens, skate park and a children's play area. The South Inch has been lowered in such a manner as to sacrifice it to the Tay as part of Perth's flood defences. A henge-like structure covers a culvert which allows floodwater to enter the area and then retreat.

Oliver Cromwell's army built a Citadel in the northeast corner of the South Inch after they captured Perth in 1651. The structure was 244m (266 yards) square, enclosed by a curtain wall with angled bastions at each corner. Surrounding the citadel was a moat, 100 feet (30m) wide and which still had a depth of around 10 feet (3m) as late as 1780. Thick ramparts were constructed with earth and sand from the moat trenches. These ramparts protected the buildings inside from artillery, while the Citadel's own guns controlled shipping on the Tay and the roads approaching Perth from the south and east. In 1661, after the restoration of King Charles II, the Citadel was given to the city and parts were demolished. During the Risings of 1715 and 1745 the citadel was incorporated into the Jacobite defences of the town, and thereafter a cavalry barracks was built on the site. However, parts of the moat remained extant into the 19th century. Excavations in the 1990s, prior to the building of a car park, revealed the foundations of the two southern bastions, together with revetment walls, the site of the moat and the internal roads.


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