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Muthill

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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Muthill, a village and a parish of Upper Strathearn, central Perthshire. The village lies 270 feet above sea-level, 3 miles S of Crieff and 15/8 mile W by N of Muthill station on the Crieff and Methven branch (1866) of the Caledonian railway, this being 5 miles NNW of Crieff Junction and 22 NNE of Stirling. A seat of Culdees at the close of the 12th century, it was later the residence of the Deans of Dunblane, and for some time after the Reformation gave name to the present presbytery of Auchterarder. The Highlanders burned it in the '15; and now it is one of the best-built and pleasantest villages in Scotland, having a post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, two hotels, a library, a masonic lodge, two curling clubs, building and horticultural societies, and drainage and water works, constructed in 1872 at a cost of £1600. Engirt by immemorial yew-trees, the Romanesque square, saddle-roofed belfry, 70 feet high, of the ancient church adjoins the ruins of the later nave and aisles, rebuilt by Bishop Michael Ochiltree of Dunblane about the year 1430. The present parish church, erected in 1826-28 at a cost of £6900 from designs by Gillespie Graham, is a handsome Gothic edifice, containing 1600 sittings.Other places of worship are a Free church and St James's Episcopal church. Pop. of the village (184l) 1089, (1861) 1074, (1871) 1024, (1881) 882.

The parish, containing also a small suburb of Crieff, included till 1857 the present parish of Ardoch. It is bounded N by Monzievaird, NE by Crieff and Monzie (detached), SE by Trinity-Gask and Blackford, S by Ardoch and Dunblane, and W by Comrie and two detached sections of Monzievaird. Its utmost length, from E to W, is 9¼ miles; its utmost breadth, from N to S, is 53/8 miles; and its area is 34½ square miles or 22,0951/3 acres, of which 179½ are water. The Earn winds 55/8 miles south-eastward along all the north-eastern border; and Machany Water, from a point ½ mile below its source, flows 8½ miles eastward across the middle of the parish, then 1 mile along the Blackford boundary, till it passes off near Muthill station into Blackford, 3¼ miles above its influx to the Earn. Three sheets of water are the quiet little Loch of Balloch (1½ x 1 furl.); the splendid artificial Pond of Drummond (5 x 2½ furl.), curtained with wood, and flanked to the N by rocky Concraig (273 feet); and, immediately E of it, Benniebeg Pond (4 x 1/3 furl.). The surface sinks along the Earn to 95 feet above sea-level, thence rising to 1291 feet at conical pine-clad Torlum on the northern border, 1089 at *Corryaur, 969 at Dunruchan Hill, 876 near Culloch, 1129 at Little Hill, 1748 at Ben Clach, and 1653 at *Slymaback, where asterisks mark two summits that culminate on the southern boundary. The western half of the parish, lying within the Highlands, is bleak, barren, and wildly pastoral; the eastern luxuriates in the picturesqueness and fertility of strath and glen, of pleasant slopes and diversified surface. The NE corner, consisting of a large tract, is one of the most delightful parts of Strathearn. Along the margin of its level and hanging grounds sweeps a hilly ridge, green and cultivated, terminating westward in the most conspicuous object in the parish, the hill of Torlum. To the S of the ridge which ends in this fine hill, lies a narrow vale, the basin of the Machany; and, screening that vale along the other side, runs a naked and chilly upland range, akin in character to the Highland heights of the W, and abruptly losing itself among their huddled mass. This range, commencing on the E, in what is called the Muir of Orchill, bears the name of Corryaur, and forms the watershed between the tributaries of the Forth and those of the Earn. Seen from a height on its southern border, the eastern part of Muthill appears 'an extensive plain, richly wooded, and studded with noblemen's and gentlemen's seats-to the left the grounds of Drummond Castle, backed by Torlum and lofty Ben Vorlich -in the foreground, the village of Muthill, embosomed in wood, with Crieff and Crieff Knock beyond, overtopped by the Grampian range-a landscape of singular beauty, variety, and grandeur.'

The predominant rocks are sandstone and trap; and the former has been quarried for building material, the latter for road-metal. The soil along the Earn is alluvial; and that on the ascent thence to the watershed is, first, a light irretentive soil on a free bottom; next, a strong sandy soil, with a mixture of gravel, on a wet retentive bottom; and next, a poor moorish soil, naturally covered with heath and whins. About three-sevenths of the entire area are in tillage; one-tenth is under wood; and the rest is either pastoral or waste. Commanding a view eastward for 40 or 50 miles is a small rock close by Drummond Castle, called Eagle's Craig, and, by the country people, Beacon Hill, whose top is flat and covered to a considerable depth with ashes. A Roman road ran north -north-eastward from Ardoch to the Roman redoubt of Kaims Castle at the southern boundary and Strageath Camp (95 x 80 paces) on the left bank of the Earn. Blairinroar, in the W of the parish, by Gordon was supposed to be the scene of the Battle of the Grampians; and two wells here, Straid and St Patrick's, were long regarded with superstitious awe, the former being deemed good for hoopingcough; whilst at a third, the Well of Struthill, lunatics would be left bound over-night, as by the Tomb of St Fillan. Near the Mill of Steps, 1¼ mile S by W of Muthill village, was born, about the middle of last century, a blacksmith's daughter, Gloag by name, of exceeding beauty, who, on the outward voyage to America, was captured by an African corsair, and, being sold to the Emperor of Morocco, was admitted into his harem, and at length was raised to the dignity of Empress. Mansions, noticed separately, are Drummond Castle and Culdees Castle; and the Baroness Willoughby de Eresby is much the largest proprietor, 5 others holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 to £500, 2 of from £50 to £100, and 10 of from £20 to £50. Taking in the Innerpeffray section of Monzie, and giving off a portion to Comrie, Muthill is in the presbytery of Auchterarder and the synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £377. Blairinroar public, Drummond Street public, Innerpeffray Episcopal, and Muthill Episcopal schools, with respective accommodation for 40, 189, 56, and 90 children, had (1883) an average attendance of 8, 135, 17, and 62, and grants of £23, £137, 17s. 6d., £30, 1s. 6d., and £45, 3s. Valuation (1860) £20, 491, (1884) £22, 513, 6s. Pop. of civil parish (1861) 2001, (1871) 1916, (1881) 1702; of ecclesiastical parish (1881) 1729.—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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