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Methven

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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Methven, a village and parish of Perthshire. The village, standing 300 feet above sea-level, has a station on the Almond Valley section (1858) of the Caledonian, 1¼ mile N by W of Methven Junction, this being 6½ miles WNW of Perth and 11¼ ENE of Crieff. A pleasant, neatly built place, it consists of houses held partly on feus, partly on long leases from the lordship of Methven, and has a post office under Perth, with money order, savings' bank, and railway telegraph departments, a local savings' bank (1815), a gas company, a subscription library (1790), curling and bowling clubs, and a jute and linen factory. In 1433 a collegiate church, for a provost and five prebendaries, was founded at Methven by Walter Stewart, Earl of Athole, who four years later was tortured to death at Edinburgh for the murder of his nephew, James I. An extant aisle, now the buryingplace of the Smythes of Methven, is thought to have been added in the early part of the succeeding century, by Margaret, queen-dowager of James IV., as one of its stones is sculptured with the royal lion of Scotland, surmounted by a crown. The present parish church is a plain building of 1783, enlarged in 1825, and containing 1000 sittings. In the churchyard is the tomb of General Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch (1750-1843), the hero of Barossa, who was born at Balgowan. There are also Free and U.P. churches. Pop. of village (1861) 950, (1871) 867, (1881) 751.

The parish, containing also the villages of Almondbank and Scroggiehill, is bounded N by Monzie (detached), NE by Moneydie and Redgorton, SE by Tibbermore, S by Tibbermore, Gask, and Madderty, and W by Fowlis-Wester. Its utmost length, from E by N to W by S, is 61/8 miles; its breadth varies between 1 mile and 37/8 miles; and its area is 12, 983¾ acres, of which 72½ are water, and 2823¼ belong to the Tullybeagles or detached section (41/8 x 1¾ miles), which, lying 6 miles N of Methven village and 3 W of Bankfoot, is bounded NW by Little Dunkeld, and on all other sides by Auchtergaven. The Almond winds 3¾ miles eastward along all the northern boundary, next 17/8 mile east-south-eastward across a north-eastern wing (the Lynedoch property), and lastly 25/8 miles south-eastward along the Redgorton border- Its rapid course between bold, rocky banks, here bare, there wooded, offers many beautiful views- Pow Water rises in two head-streams which unite at the SW corner of the main body, and pass away towards the Earn; whilst another stream, rising near the sources of the Pow, meanders 4½ miles eastward through the interior past Methven village, and then goes 3 miles east-north-eastward along the southern boundary to the Almond- Methven Loch (1¾ x ¾ furl.) lies to the W of Almondbank village- The surface of the main body of the parish is agreeably diversified with hollows and wooded slopes, sinking in the extreme E to close on 100 feet above sea-level, and rising thence west-north-westward to 431 feet near Drumcairn, 483 near Wester Carsehill, and 653 near Monabuie. The hilly detached district, which by Ordie and Garry Burns is drained to the river Tay, has likewise a west-north-westward ascent, from 290 feet above sea-level to 1263 at Craig Gibbon and 1399 at Creag Liath. Trap and Old Red sandstone are the predominant rocks. A greenstone variety of the trap, well suited for road metal, and a finegrained pale grey variety of the sandstone, adapted for building, have both been quarried- The soil of the lower grounds, for the most part argillaceous, is elsewhere either loam or gravel; that on some of the high grounds of the main body, and on those of the detached district, is moorish. About four-fifths of the entire area are regularly or occasionally in tillage; nearly one-sixth is under wood; and the rest is either pastoral or waste- Of many fine old trees the 'Pepperwell Oak' in front of Methven Castle is the finest, its height being 82 feet, and its girth 23 at 1 foot from the ground. Prior to 1323, the lands of Methven belonged to the Mowbrays, whose ancestor, Roger Mowbray, a Norman, accompanied William the Conqueror to England. 'A branch of this family,' says the Old Statistical Account, 'afterwards established itself in Scotland, and became very flourishing. To Sir Roger Mowbray belonged the baronies of Kelly, Eckford, Dalmeny, and Methven, lying in the shires of Forfar, Roxburgh, Linlithgow, and Perth; but, for adhering to the Baliol and English interest, his lands were confiscated by Robert I., who bestowed Eckford, Kelly, and Methven on his son-in-law, Walter, the eighth hereditary lord-high-steward of Scotland, whose son succeeded to the crown in 1371, as Robert II., in right of his mother, Marjory Bruce, daughter of Robert I.- the lordship of Methven was granted by him to Walter Stewart, Earl of Athole, his second son, by Euphemia Ross, his second wife; and after his forfeiture (1437), remained in the Crown a considerable time- It became part of the dowry lands usually appropriated for the maintenance of the queen-dowager of Scotland, to gether with the lordship and castle of Stirling, and the lands of Balquhidder, etc-, all of which were settled on Margaret, queen-dowager of James IV-, who, in the year 1525, having divorced her second husband, Archibald, Earl of Angus, married Henry Stewart, second son of Andrew Lord Evandale, afterward Ochiltree, a descendant of Robert, Duke of Albany, son of King Robert II. Margaret was the eldest daughter of Henry VII- of England, in whose right James VI- of Scotland, her great-grandson, succeeded to that crown on the death of Queen Elizabeth- She procured for her third husband a peerage from her son, James V., under the title of Lord Methven, anno 1528; and, on this occasion, the barony of Methven was dissolved from the Crown, and erected into a lordship, in favour of Henry Stewart and his heirs male, on the Queen's resigning her jointure of the lordship of Stirling. By Lord Methven she had a daughter, who died in infancy, before herself. The queen died at the castle of Methven in 1540, and was buried at Perth, beside the body of James I. Lord Methven afterwards married Janet Stewart, daughter of the Earl of Athole, by whom he had a son, Henry, who married Jean, daughter of Patrick, Lord Ruthven, and was killed at Broughton by a cannon-ball from the castle of Edinburgh, in 1572, leaving a son, Henry, who died without issue, when the lands reverted to the Crown. This third Lord Methven is mentioned on the authority of Stewart's Genealogical Account of the House of Stewart. In 1584 the lordship of Methven and Balquhidder was conferred on Ludowick, Duke of Lennox, in whose illustrious family it continued till it was purchased from the last Duke, in 1664, by Patrick Smythe of Braco.' His great-grandson, David (17461806), assumed the title of Lord Methven on his elevation to the bench; and his son, William (b. 1803; suc. 1847), holds 5128 acres in the shire, valued at £6470 per annum. His seat, Methven Castle, on a bold acclivitous rising-ground, 1¼ mile E of Methven village, is a stately baronial pile of 1680, with extensive modern additions. Not far from the manse, on 19 June 1306, was fought the Battle of Methven, in which a small band, under Robert Bruce, was surprised and scattered by Pembroke, the English regent. Balgowan, Lynedoch, and Dronach Haugh-the last with the grave of 'Bessie Bell and Mary Gray'-are noticed separately. Five proprietors hold each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 3 of between £100 and £500, 3 of from £50 to £100, and 15 of from £20 to £50. Giving off its detached section to Logiealmond quoad sacra parish, but taking in part of Monzie, this parish is in the presbytery of Perth, and the synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £361. Almondbank public, Methven public, and Methven female industrial schools, with respective accommodation for 152, 134, and 119 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 72, 61, and 56, and grants of £69, 4s., £59, 16s., and £41, 16s. Valuation (1860) £12,165, 5s. 2d., (1884) £13, 335, 2s. Pop. of civil parish (1801) 2073, (1831) 2714, (1861) 2347, (1871) 2115, (1881) 1910; of ecclesiastical parish (1881) 2041.—Ord. Sur., shs. 48, 47, 1868-69.

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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