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Comrie

(Shakey Toun)

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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Comrie, a village and a parish of Strathearn, central Perthshire. The village stands, 200 feet above sea-level, on the left bank of the Earn (here spanned by an old five-arch bridge), immediately below the confluence of the Ruchill and above that of the Lednock. It is 6½ miles W of Crieff, 6½ E by S of St Fillans, 13½ of Lochearnhead Hotel, and with all three communicates by coach. Z-shaped in plan, and sheltered by wooded slopes, it is a pleasant little place, a burgh of barony under the Dundas family; and it has a post office under Crieff, with money order, savings' bank, insurance, and telegraph departments, a branch of the Commercial Bank, 5 insurance agencies, 2 chief inns, a reading-room, a masonic lodge, gas-works, ploughing and horticultural societies, and fairs on the third Wednesday in March, the second in May and July, the last in October, and the first in December. The parish church (1804; 1026 sittings) has a lofty spire, and crowns a gentle eminence beside the Earn. A new Free church (1879-81; 650 sittings) is one of the finest in Scotland, French Gothic in style, with a clock-tower and an adjoining hall; its cost, exceeding £10,000, was defrayed by a bequest of the late Miss M `Farlane of Comrie. A U.P. church, rebuilt in 1866, is also a good Gothic edifice; a minister of its predecessor was father of the well-known George Gilfillan (1813-78), Comrie's most gifted son. The cemetery contains a granite obelisk, 13 feet high, erected in 1880 to the memory of Dr Leith; and another, 72 feet high, was reared in 1815 on Dunmore Hill (841 feet), 1½ mile N by W of the village, to commemorate Viscount Melville's death four years before at Dunira. Nowhere else in Britain are earthquakes so frequent as at Comrie, a frequency due, it would seem, to its geological position, which recent survey has shown to be on the great line of fault that separates the Lowlands and the Highlands. In 1875 an ingenious apparatus was established at the village, to register the force and direction of the shocks, among the most noteworthy of which have been those of 23d Oct. 1839 and 10th Jan. 1876. An infant and female and a public school, with respective accommodation for 84 and 268 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 42 and 168, and grants of £42,5s. and £157,18s. Pop. (1834) 978, (1861) 789, (1871) 746, (1881) 1098.

The parish, containing also the villages of Dalginross, Ross, and St Fillans, comprises the ancient parishes of Comrie and Dundurn, the greater part of Tulliekettle, and portions of Muthill, Monzievaird, and Strowan. It is bounded N by the Ardeonaig section of Killin and by Kenmore, E by Monzievaird-Strowan, SE by Muthill and by two detached portions of Monzievaird-Strowan, SW by Callander, W by Balquhidder, and NW by the Achmore section of Weem. It has an utmost length of 11 miles from E to W, viz., from the Lednock, a little above Comrie, to the Ogle; its breadth from N to S varies between 8 and 12 miles; and its area is 62,932½ acres, of which 23402/3 are water. By Loch Earn and the river Earn the parish is divided into unequal halves, that to the N being somewhat the larger. The loch is 6½ miles long by 5 furlongs wide, and lies 306 feet above sea-level; the river, issuing from it, winds 7 miles east-south-eastward through the interior to the village, and thence 9 furlongs on or close to the Monzievaird boundary, where it sinks to less than 200 feet above the sea. At the village it is joined by the hazel-fringed Water of Ruchill, which, from the SW border hurries 9½ miles north-eastward through 'lone Glenartney;' and by the Lednock, rising between Creag Uigeach and Ruadh Bheul, and running 11 miles south-eastward, down its deep, wooded gorge, where it forms the Deil's Caldron and other less-famed falls. Between it and Loch Earn lies Loch Boltachan (2 x 1½ furl.). To the N of the river and Loch Earn the chief elevations from E to W are Dunmore Hill (841 feet), Crappich Hill (1467), Creag Liath (1636), * Creag Mhor na h-Iolaire (1783), Ben Chonzie (3048), * Creag nan Eun (2990), *Creag Uigeach (2840), Meall nam Fiadh (2000), * Ruadh Bheul (2232), Sron Mhor (2203), and * Meall na Cloiche (2175), of which those marked with asterisks culminate on the boundaries of the parish; to the S rise Ben Halton (2033), Birran or Dundurn (2011), a nameless summit in the Forest of Glenartney (2317), * Meall Odhar (2066), Meall na Fearna (2479), Ben Vorlich (3224), and * Stuc a Chroin (3189). Such are the outlines of Comrie's romantic scenery, here grandly savage, there softly picturesque, to be filled in with greater minuteness in articles on its lochs and rivers, its mountains, and valleys, and mansions. The line of junction between the Old Red sandstone and the slates passes diagonally from Glenartney into the Monzievaird hills; and Upper Strathearn to the NW of this line, i.e. the greater part of this parish, is wholly composed of slate rocks, which present many glacial phenomena, whilst the level strath appears to have been the bed of an ancient lake. Granite boulders are numerous along the Lednaig, whose channel is crossed by a great dyke of greenstone. Slate, trap, and limestone have all been quarried; and lead and iron ores are also found, the latter being at one time largely worked. The soil in some parts of the glens approaches to loam, but is a light, sharp, stony gravel of no great fertility over most of the arable lands. These occupy barely one-ninth of the entire area, and woods and plantations cover some 3000 acres. The chief antiquities are three stone circles and the remains of Agricola's stationary camp at Dalginross. Comrie House, near the Lednock, a little behind the village, is charmingly seated amid surrounding woods; and other mansions are Aberuchill, Ardvoirlich, Dalhonzie, Drumearn, and Dunira, 6 proprietors holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 2 of between £100 and £500,5 of from £50 to £100, and 9 of from £20 to £50. Giving off something to Balquhidder, and taking in something from Monzievaird, Comrie is in the presbytery of Auchterarder and synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £387. Three public schools-Glenartney, Glenlednock, and St Fillans-with respective accommodation for 23, 30, and 40 children, had (1880) an average attendance of 11,8, and 24, and grants of £26, 2s. 6d., £21, 2s., and £36, 5s. Valuation (1881) £16,247, 6s. 8d. Pop. (1801) 2458, (1831) 2622, (1861) 2226, (1871) 1911, (1881) 1726.—Ord. Sur., shs. 47, 46, 39,1869-72. See Beauties of Upper Strathearn (3d ed., Crieff, 1870).

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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