Parish of St Martins

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: St Martins
1834-45: St Martins

St Martins, a parish in the Strathmore district of Perthshire, containing Guildtown village, 6 miles N by E of Perth, under which it has a post office. Since the close of the 17th century it has comprised the ancient parish of Cambusmichael; and it is bounded N by Cargill, NE by Collace and the Bandirran section of Kettins in Forfarshire (detached), SE by Kilspindie and the Balbeggie section of Kinnoull, S by Scone, W by Redgorton, and NW by Auchtergaven. Its utmost length, from W by N to E by S, is 5¾ miles; its utmost breadth is 33/8 miles; and its area is 6565 acres. The Tay, here a splendid salmon river, curves 2¾ miles south-south-westward along all the Auchtergaven and Redgorton boundary, and past the village of Stanley. Beside it the surface declines to less than 200 feet above sea-level; and thence it rises to 239 feet near Guildtown, 453 near Newlands, 413 near Cairnbeddie, 397 near Rosemount, and 424 near East Melginch. Thus, although neither flat nor hilly, it rises considerably above the Tay, and is much diversified by depressions and rising grounds. Plantations are extensive enough to give a warm appearance to the interior; and copsewoods fringe the margin of the river. The soil in general is a black mould, incumbent on till, and much improved by art; whilst towards the river it is naturally good and fertile. Freestone abounds, and has been largely quarried. Limestone and rock-marl also occur. One still may trace a Roman road leading north-north-eastward from the ancient Bertha towards the parish of Cargill. There are vestiges of several stone-circles; and one most interesting antiquity bas been noticed in our article Cairnbeddie. The church of St Martins anciently lay within the diocese of Dunkeld, and was a mensal church of the abbey of Holyrood. The church of Cambusmichael-still indicated by its ruins beside the Tay, on a low plain of the class which Gaelic calls cambus-was included in the diocese of St Andrews, and belonged to the abbacy of Scone. The principal mansion, St Martins Abbey, 5 miles NNE of Perth, is the seat of the chief proprietor, William Macdonald Macdonald, Esq. (b. 1822; suc. his cousin, 1841), the only son of Gen. Farquharson, who holds 22,600 acres in Perthshire and 2801 in Forfarshire, valued at £9192 and £5617 per annum, and who claims the chieftainship of the Colquhouns. The estate, originally called the Kirklands, was purchased by Wm. Macdonald, W.S., of Ranachan (1732-1814), a founder of the Highland and Agricultural Society; and by him the mansion was erected towards the close of last century. A massive and commodious building, it has been greatly enlarged and adorned by the present proprietor; and its beautiful grounds and policies were planned and laid out about 1858 by Mr Craiggie-Halket, the celebrated landscape gardener. In Sept. 1884 Mr Gladstone visited Sir Andrew Clark, Bart., M.D., at St Martins Abbey. (See chap. xlii. of T. Hunter's Woods and Estates of Perthshire, Perth, 1883.) St Martins is in the presbytery of Perth and the synod of Perth and Stirling; the living is worth £259. The parish church is a handsome and commodious edifice of 1842. Guildtown public school, with accommodation for 125 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 62, and a grant of £42, 18s. 7d. Valuation (1860) £7296, 5s. 3d., (1885) £8754, 13s. 5d. Pop. (1801) 1136, (1831) 1135, (1861) 904, (1871) 735, (1881) 741.—Ord. Sur., sh. 48, 1868.

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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