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Parish of Monzievaird and Strowan

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.

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1791-99: Monivaird and Strowan
1791-99: Monzie
1834-45: Monivaird and Strowan
1834-45: Monzie

Monzievaird and Strowan, a parish of Upper Strathearn, central Perthshire, whose church, ½ mile from the Earn's N bank, is 33/8 miles ENE of Comrie and 3¾ WNW of the post-town, Crieff. It comprises the ancient parishes of Monzievaird and Strowan, united prior to 1662, and consists of a main body and three detached sections, the area of the whole being 26, 4932/3 acres, of which 5988 belong to those sections, and 400½ are water. The main body is bounded N by Monzie (detached), NE and E by Crieff, S by Muthill, and W by Comrie. Its utmost length, from N to S, is 77/8 miles; its utmost width, from E to W, is 55/8 miles; and its area is 20, 505½ acres. From Comrie village to near Crieff town the Earn flows 5¾ miles east-by-southward, partly along the Comrie boundary, but mainly across the interior; Turret Burn, rising on the eastern side of Ben Chonzie at an altitude of 2000 feet, runs 8½ miles south-eastward and southward-for the last 2 miles along the Crieff boundary, till, after a descent of 1900 feet, it falls into the Earn at a point ½ mile W of the town of Crieff; and the Lednock, over the last 3 3/8 miles of its course, runs south-south-eastward along the Comrie boundary to the Earn at Comrie village. The largest sheets of water are Lochan Uaine (1 x ½ furl.; 1523 feet) and Loch Turret (1 mile x 2¾ furl.; 1127 feet) towards the head of Glenturret; Ochtertyre Lake (4¼ x 1¼ furl.); and St Serf's Water (1½ x ½ furl.). Along the Earn the surface declines to close on 100 feet above sea-level; and thence it rises southward to wooded *Torlum (1291 feet), northward to Tomachaistel (434), Drumachargan (512), Creag Each (988), Creag Chaisean (1809), Carn Chois (2571), *Auchnafree Hill (2565), and *Ben Chonzie (3048), where asterisks mark those summits that culminate on the confines of the parish.

Of the three detached sections, all lying in Glenartney, the largest, containing Auchnashelloch and Findhuglen farms, 6½ miles SW of Comrie, is bounded NW and N by Comrie, E by Muthill, SE by Dunblane, S by Kilmadock, and SW by Callander. Its utmost length, from NE to SW, is 37/8 miles; its utmost breadth is 3¾ miles; and its area is 4570½ acres. The Water of Ruchill flows 2 miles north-eastward along all the north-western boundary, and Findhu Glen descends to it for 2¾ miles in a north-westerly direction. In the extreme N the surface declines to 600 feet above sea-level, thence rising southward to *Uamh Bheag (2179 feet). The next largest section (1352 acres), containing Meiggars farm, 3 miles S of Comrie, is bounded E by Muthill, and on all other sides by Comrie. The Water of Ruchill flows 5 furlongs along the north-western boundary; and the surface rises from 400 to 1250 feet. The smallest section (642/3 acres), 2¼ miles S by W of Comrie, is bounded or traversed for ½ mile by the Water of Ruchill.

The line of junction between the clay slate and the Old Red sandstone passes north-eastward from Glenartney to Glenturret; and both slate and sandstone have been quarried. The soil of the low grounds is light, gravelly, and fertile; that of the hills is much of it moorish. Barely 3500 acres are in tillage; about 2400 are under wood; and the rest of the parish is pastoral or waste. Much of the woodland is natural forest; and, as an old song tells, the oak is a favourite tree:-

' By Auchertyre there grows the aik.'

The remains of Castle Cluggy, comprising a tower 18 feet square within the walls, stand on a gentle rising-ground, which runs into the middle of Ochtertyre Lake, and must anciently have been an island, or nearly so, accessible only in one place by a drawbridge. Formerly of much greater extent than now, the castle is traditionally said to have belonged to the Red Comyn, the rival of Bruce, who here, about 1306, besieged Malise, Earl of Strathearn. It is called ' an ancient fortalice ' in a charter of the year 1467; and it was inhabited for some time about the middle of the 17th century by Sir William Murray, first baronet of Ochtertyre. Towards the head of the lake is an artificial crannoge. An ancient castle of the Earls of Strathearn stood on the summit of Tomachaistel, a beautiful eminence 3 miles W of Crieff, commanding very romantic prospects, and possessing the greatest capabilities of military defence in days before the invention of gunpowder. The foundations of this castle were still visible in 1832, when they were removed to give place to a monument in memory of General Sir David Baird of Fern-Tower (1757-1829), the hero of Seringapatam. This monument still is a conspicuous feature in the general landscape of Upper Strathearn, though the damage caused by a thunderbolt in 1878 has not yet been restored. It is an obelisk 82 feet high, an exact imitation of Cleopatra's Needle, and is formed of blocks of Aberdeen granite, some of them weighing 5 tons each. In 1511 eight score of the Murrays, with their wives and children, were massacred by a body of Drummonds and Campbells, the former having taken refuge in the heather-thatched church of Monzievaird, while the latter, who were at feud with them, set fire to the church, and prevented their escape from the flames. The mausoleum of the Murrays of Ochtertyre now stands on the site of the church, and is a Gothic building of 1809, with stained-glass windows. On the estate of Ochtertyre are vestiges of two Roman posts of observation, commanding views of the camps at Dalginross and on the Moor of Orchil. Many sepulchral cairns near the Earn have been removed as material for stone fences; but a very large one, called Cairn Chainichin, ' the monumental heap of Kenneth, ' still exists, and is supposed to have been raised to the memory of Kenneth, King of Alban, who was slain at ' Moeghavard ' in 1004. Vestiges of a preReformation chapel exist to the S of Lawers House; and an ancient cross, bearing the sacred initials I. N. R. I., stands a little to the SW of Strowan, on a spot where markets used to be held. Among distinguished natives may be mentioned the two Colonels Campbell of Lawers, who figured in the 16th and 17th centuries; Colonel Alex. Dow (d. 1779), author of a History of Hindostan; Sir Patrick Murray (1771-1837), judge and statesman; and Sir George Murray (1772-1846), quarter-mastergeneral to the British army throughout the Peninsular War, and afterwards statesman and cabinet minister. Mansions, noticed separately, are Clathick, Lawers, Ochtertyre, and Strowan. Giving off portions to Comrie and West Church (Crieff), this parish is in the presbytery of Auchterarder and the synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £265. The old church of Monzievaird (Gael. monadh-a-bhaird, ' the bard's hill,) was dedicated to St Serf, and that of Strowan to St Ronan or Rowan, whence the name Strowan itself. Both were in use on alternate Sundays till 1804, when the present church was built, containing 400 sittings. The public school, with accommodation for 134 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 68, and a grant of £81, 12s. Valuation (1865) £10,502, (1884) £11,613, 1s. 2d. Pop. (1801) 1033, (1831) 926, (1861) 782, (l871) 744, (1881) 700, of whom 547 were in the ecclesiastical parish.—Ord. Sur., shs. 47, 39, 1869.

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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