Perth and Kinross

©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland


A resort town at the southern edge of Highland Perth and Kinross, Crieff lies 12 miles (19 km) west of Perth overlooking the River Earn which is joined here by the River Turret. Formerly the administrative centre of Strathearn, the original settlement was known to the Celtic Earls of Strathearn as Cref.

The later village of Drummond, destroyed by the Jacobites in 1716, was rebuilt after 1731 on a grid plan by James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth who encouraged handloom weaving. Although the Drummond Estates were subsequently forfeited to the Crown following the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, the Forfeited Estates Commissioners encouraged the development of bleaching, tanning, paper-making and other industries.

Between 1672 and 1770, prior to the establishment of the Falkirk Tryst, Crieff was also the centre of Scotland's largest cattle market and the hub of a system of drove roads. During the early 19th Century whisky distilling, malting and woollen manufacture were the chief industries. Later in the century Crieff became one of Scotland's most notable holiday resorts, taking advantage of its sheltered, sunny location on the south-facing slope of the Knock. The railway arrived in 1856, Morrisons Academy was founded in 1859 and the Hydropathic Establishment (Crieff Hydro) opened its doors in 1868.

The town remains an important resort and rural service centre with hotels, visitor centre, factory shop outlets, Highland Tryst Museum, two 18-hole golf courses and the Glenturret Distillery, Scotland's oldest Highland malt whisky distillery (1775). Local crafts include the manufacture of pottery and glassware and there are recreational facilities in the Macrosty Park, which opened in 1902. Crieff Highland Gathering has been held annually since 1870.

Born here were scientists Thomas Thomson (1773 - 1852) and Alexander Murray (1811-85), David Jack (1822 - 1909), who gave his name to 'Monterey Jack' cheese, and actor Ewan McGregor (b. 1971).

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