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Huntingtower Castle


(Ruthven Castle)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2016.

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Huntingtower, a village and an ancient castle in Tibbermore parish, Perthshire. The village stands near Almondbank station on the Perth, Methven, and Crieff section of the Caledonian, 3 miles WNW of Perth, under which it has a post office. It adjoins the village of Ruthvenfield, and since 1774 has been the seat of an extensive bleachfield. The works are supplied with water through an artificial canal of such antiquity as to rank amongst the earliest extant appliances of industry in the kingdom. The canal is mentioned in a charter of Alexander II. as his mill-lead; and in 1244 a pipe's supply from it was granted to the Blackfriars' monastery in Perth. Opening from the river Almond, and approaching Huntingtower through a meadow, it measures 3 feet in depth, nearly 18 feet in breadth, and 4½ miles in length. Pop. of the conjoint villages of Huntingtower and Ruthvenfield (1871) 446, (1881) 458.

In the reign of William the Lyon (1165-1214) the manors of Ruthven and Tibbermore were possessed by one Swan, whose descendant, Sir William de Ruthven, was raised to the peerage as Lord Ruthven in 1488. Patrick, the grim third Lord (1520-66), was the principal actor in Rizzio's murder; his second son and successor, William, in 1581 was created Earl of Gowrie. At Ruthven Castle, exactly a twelvemonth later, he kidnapped the boy-king, James VI. -an affair that, famous as the ' Raid of Ruthven,' brought his head to the block in 1584. The Gowrie Conspiracy (1600), whose story belongs to Perth, cost the life of his son, the third Earl; and from his forfeiture down to early in the present century the castle and barony belonged to successively the Tullibardine and the Athole Murrays. Their present proprietor, William Lindsay Mercer, Esq. (b. 1858; suc. 1871), owns 465 acres in the shire, valued at £1360 per annum. Ruthven or Huntingtower Castle consists still of two strong, heavy, square towers, battlemented and turreted, which, built at different times, and originally 91/3 feet distant from one another, were afterwards united by a somewhat lower range of intermediate building. The space between the towers, from battlement to battlement, at a height of 60 feet from the ground, is known as the Maiden's Leap, it having, according to Pennant, been leapt one night by the first Earl's youngest daughter, whose mother had all but surprised her with her lover.—Ord. Sur., sh. 48, 1868. See Perthshire Illustrated (1844).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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