THE REPORTS OF THE ANNEXED ESTATES
As our chronology flows it seemed a good idea to include segments from the reports of the Commissioners for the Annexed Estates which was transcribed by the Scottish Record Office in 1973. They provide a description of our area at this time and are invaluable. The following are extracts from the report.
of the Part of the Estate of Perth in
the Parishes of Comrie and Strowan
The estate of Perth in the parish of Comrie and a small part thereof which is in the parish of Strowan but annexed quoad sacra to the parish of Comrie lyes in the shire of Perth and is so interspersed with other people’s properties that it is not easy making out regular account of its extent.
That part of it which lyes upon the north side of the Loch and Water of Earn extends from east to west about seven miles and about two miles south to north, where the hills of it march with Breadalbane.
That part of it upon the south side of Loch & Water extends about five miles from east to west and about two miles from south to north, where hills divide it from Glenartney.
The lands of Glenartney ly upon both sides of the water of Ruchill and are about four miles from east to west, where it marches with the barony of Callendar, and as much from south to north, including the Forrest, and in this compass of ground is comprehended that part of it which lyes in the parish of Strowan, being three farms, Findoglen, Culnacarry & Achnashelloch, which branch out in a little glen by themselves southwards.
The parish church is situated very near the east end of the parish, so that the westmost part of the estate of Perth lyes full eight miles distant from it.
Mr. Robert Menzies, minister of Comrie, is past fourty years of age, preaches one half of the day in English and the other half in the Irish language. The stipend paid him out of the estate of Perth is £24. 6.72/12 sterling.
The parochial school is at Comrie. Mr. John Blair, schoolmaster, aged about 36.
There are two charity schools within the estate of Perth in this parish, one in Glenartney and the other at the east end of Lochearn.
Mr. James Porteous is minister of Strowan parish, preaches wholly in the English language. The stipend paid to him out of that part of the estate of Perth in the parish of Strowan is £3.8.4 sterling of money and 2 b.(bushels) 2 p. (pecks) meal. He is about 50 years of age.
The nearest seat of a Sheriff-Substitute is at Perth, from whence he comes monthly to Crieff and holds courts. Killin is rather nearer to it than Perth, but it belongs to the district of Crieff. There is likewise a prison at Crieff, but very insufficient.
There are no Justices of the Peace residing within the parish. Mr. Campbell of Edinchip is the nearest Justice of the Peace at the west end, at the distance of three miles, & Mr. Campbell of Achallader, at the distance of six miles. Towards the east end there are several Justices of the Peace who live within four or five miles of it: Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre, Mr. Campbell of Monzie, Mr. Campbell of Barcaldine, Captain Drummond of Pitkellony & Captain John Menzies att Fearntown.
The laws prohibiting the Highland dress & wearing of arms have taken effectual place in this part of the country.
No depradations or thefts have been committed on these lands of late years. They were wont in former years to be in a miserable state and were almost ruined by having their effects stollen from them, and particularly so in the interim betwixt the end of the late Rebellion and a factor’s being put upon the estate, and for some short time after that these depradations were continued. The two farms called Ardveichs, which are the westmost belonging to the estate of Perth in this parish, suffered greatly. The factor, after a great deal of trouble, recovered some part of the effects stollen from them and had one of the thieves banished. The other parts of these effects have not, nor ever will be, recovered.
No thieves residing upon this part of the estate of Perth. There are indeed two that are under bad characters, but nothing could be made out against them. One of them is now very old and not able to do any mischief, though’ he were willing, but by his council. However, the factor took his lands from him and gave it to one of his sons whose character is very well established as ane honest man. The other is called a gentleman and head of a small tribe. He had a considerable possession which he subsett at some advantage to himself. The factor could get nothing made out against him, although everybody suspected him, but in order to disgrace him he took his possession from him and sett it to his own subtenants at the rents payable by them to him, and for which the factor now accounts. The factor, upon his promising unexceptionable behaviour, gave him a fourth part of his own farm in cowise with his own subtenants, since which time he has heard no complaints against him.
There are several leases upon this part of the estate for 19 years from different periods, as 1740, 1744 & 1745.
James Drummond in Ardrostowns has a lease thereof and of a small farm called Kenmore, adjoining to Ardrostowns, for 19 years after Whitsunday 1740, and resides thereon.
Peter Mcllchonnell has a lease of the fourth of Meikleport for 19 years from Whitsunday 1742, and resides thereon
James Stewart, now at west end of Lochearn, has a lease of the town & lands of Little Port, commencing on Whitsunday 1745 and is on for 16 years, which he has wholly subsett to John McIllchonnell, who lives thereon.
Hugh Campbell has a lease of Easter Dundurn, commencing on Whitsunday 1740, and lives thereon.
John Drummond in Maillermore has a lease thereof and of Dalness, adjoining to it, and also of Doniera, commencing at Whitsunday 1740. He lives upon the farm at Maillermore.
John McGrouther, as heir to Alexander McGrouther, deceased, has a lease of Dalchrune, commencing at Whitsunday 1744, and lives upon the farm.
Charles Farqueharson, who is a Roman Catholic, has a lease of a fourth of Dalchlatick, commencing at Whitsunday 1745. He has left the possession and subsett the whole to Donald McLaren.
Patrick Drummond of Drummonerinoch has a liferent lease of the lands of Dalchonzie and lives upon the farm.
Donald McFarlane has a minute of tack of a fourth of Dalchlatick in Glenartney and lives there, commencing on Whitsunday 1745 & Alexander McNiven has a minute of tack of the Mill of Dalchlatick & milllands, commencing at Whitsunday 1745, and lives upon his possession.
There is no limestone burn’t for laying upon land in this part of the estate of Perth as yet. There is a limestone rock in Ardveich, the westmost farm in this parish belonging to the estate of Perth, but it lies a good way up into the hills and firing is not very convenient to it. This is all the limestone as yet discovered in this part of the estate.
They sow bear and oats & linseed, of which there is a good deal raised, and they now plant potatoes.
There are no grass seeds sow’n here, but the tenants make all the hay they can from ley ground & from small spots of meadow ground.
James Drummond of Ardrostowns has inclosed a part of his farm and Mr. Drummond of Drummonerinoch has put a very good stone dike about the lower part of his farm of Dalchonzie, and these are all the inclosures upon this part of the estate.
The black cattle & horses over most part of this parish are bad, except in Glenartney, where they are tolerably good and may sell, as markets go at present, from 40 to 45 shillings.
The tenants of this parish consume most of the produce of their milk in their own families, except in Glenartney, where they make a good deal of butter and cheese and send to market. Their cheese is remarkably good.
There are four milns in this parish, one in Glentarken, one in Dundurn, one at Dalchonzie and one at Dalchlatick, which are fully sufficient to answer the purposes of this part of the estate.
The woods of the estate of Perth in the parish of Comrie are very considerable. One parcel was sold to one William Drummond in 1744 at 26,600 merks scots, and there was lately another parcel sold to James Drummond of Croftnappock, son to the said William Drummond, by order of the Right Honourable the Barons of Exchequer, at £1800 sterling. Ten years was the time allowed for cutting each of these parcels and a proportional share of the price to be paid yearly.
The new cutt woods have been extremely well kept and are in a thriving condition. They are almost altogether oak and are cutt for the sake of the bark always when they are 26 or 27 years old, which is looked upon in this country as the most profitable method of selling woods, because of the difficulty of carrying timber to market upon account of the great distance from any port.
There is likewise a small wood in Glenartney upon the farm of Maillermore & Dalness, which may be worth about £40 or £50 sterling.
When the woods cutt since the 1748 were enclosing, the factor caused take in within the enclosure considerable peices of ground which were never inclosed for wood before and upon which a stool of oak appeared, which is now in a thriving condition and will make a good addition to the woods at the next cutting. It’s to be observed these peices of ground were good for nothing else and would not have yielded any thing near so much in any other way.
There is no sort of commerce or any manufactures carried on in this part of the estate other than the spinning of linen yarn, of which they sell large quantities in the town of Crieff, and is the staple commodity they have for making money.
The men are generally employed here in looking after their cattle, labouring their farms and assisting their women to dress their lint. There are several of them that have begun now to slaughter some sheep and beeves and carry them to every Thursday, which is the weekly market day there, to sell. This continues with them from the end of June to about Candlemass.
There are a great many maltmakers & distillers of acquavitae in the parish of Comrie, but very few of them on the estate of Perth. There are two or three bad changehouses that are not worth the mentioning.
The prevailing names in this are MacLarens, Carmichaels, Fergusons, McGregor-Drummonds & McNivens.
The English language has made great progress in this parish and the people in general are quiet & honest.
The roads upon the side of Lochearn were hitherto extremely bad and almost impassable. The parishes of Comrie & Ballquhidder have been set to work upon them these two or three years bygone and they have now made a tolerable good road along the side of the loch that will admitt of wheel carriages, and if the government would give 25 or 30 of the military for one season, they, with the assistance of the country, would make it a very good road.
There are three or four very rough rapid waters upon this road that have no bridges on them. One arch would be sufficient for each of them and two of them would require but small arches.
There is a great conveniency of stone for building of them and plenty of lime to be had in the neighbourhood upon Mr. Campbell of Fonnab’s estate. These waters are impassable in time of the least speat.
The road in to Glenartney is at present very bad and is inaccessible to any sort of carriages, but is not difficult to be repaired. There are two or three bridges very much wanted in this part of the country, particularily at Achinner, where they are hemmed in betwixt two waters, and it has been known that dead corpses have been kept for some days without burial when there was a speat in these waters and they could not get over them to the place of interment. These waters, beside the inconveniencies and interruptions to trading and commerce, are very dangerous, and the parish minister says he has been frequently in danger of being drowned on them when he has been going about examining his parishioners.
This part of the estate is generally ill served in firing.
The only place on this parish for planting a village in is Meikleport and the east end of Lochearn. It is nine or ten miles from Crieff. There is a considerable quantity of plain, arable ground in it, which would admitt of many divisions to accomodate the supernumerary hands on the rest of the lands.
And many people think there should be a new erection of a church here, and a minister, for the benefit of the inhabitants on both side of Lochearn and other parts of the parish of Comrie that ly at a distance from the parish church, and for the east end of the parish of Ballquhidder, and that the minister should preach every third Sunday at the west end of Lochearn, which is in the parish of Ballquhidder but lyes at some distance from the parish church.
There is plenty of stone for buildings of all kinds, lime & timber very convenient to it, and a slate quarry very near.
Lochearn would likewise be of some advantage to a village here because of the water carriage for transporting of the lime and timber, and likewise for the great quantity of fishes that are in it. The only inconveniency is the distance of the firing, but even in this respect it is in the same situation with most other parts of the highlands of Perthshire, and their peats, tho’ at a distance, are very good.
All the carriages of bark in this parish should be reserved and if the tenants are to be exeemed from all other carriages, the ark carriages should be augmented.
The soil in this part of the country is gravelly, but when duely manured yields very good oats & barley.
And what occurs with respect to improvements here, as in all Highland, is that the most substantial and will soonest take effect is inclosing what is valuable of the farms with stone dikes, as mentioned for Ballquhidder parish, and to encourage the raising of more flax, and causing them to plant potatoes in their outfields, by which means these outfields would soon come to yield as good crops as their infield and croft grounds. They draw water on their lands generally at present, where water is to be had, and from it they have their best crops, especially lint.
The hills of this part of the estate are extremely barren, except in Glenartney, where the hills produce pretty good grass, especially Auchnashelloch, Dalchlatick, Achinner & the Forrest. But these hills ly so high that there is little good got of them, except for four months in the year, so that there is no great improvement can be made upon them but to make the most of them during the time the cattle can stand on them.
There might be some improvement made on that part of the Forrest called the Hollow of Airkney by building a dike at each end of it, which would make it much easier kept, the whole of that part of the Forrest being at present liable to a great expence for meat & wages to herds to keep the grass.
That part of the Forrest which is kept under the deer is of no great value, being the tops of the hills, and of no great extent. This serves them all summer long and when the storms come on they fall down to the lower parts of the Forrest, from where, long before that time, the black cattle are carried off, and there they make a shift to live all winter, being a hardy breed, tho’ no other kind of cattle could stand there.
The expence of the forresters, as lately circumscribed by the factor, is little more than what other common servants would expect and they [have] other ways of good service beside taking care of the deer. There are two of them and both firmly attached to the government, and both have ventured their lives before now in his Majesty’s service.
Their business is to be constantly traveling over all the hills of these countries and their residence is in the centre betwixt the parishes of Comrie, Ballquhidder & Callendar. Forresters are generally as careful & fond of preserving deer as nurses would their children and cannot bear to see any body carrying fire arms. and the inhabitants of the countries all around them are so sensible in this that they never carry any.
By both the ends of Lochearn and through the Forrest of Glenartney used to be the common road for thieves & disorderly people to come from the Highlands into the skirts of the low country to steal, and it may be asserted that the character these two men have got for activity & diligence has done great service to stop this course.
The houses on this part of the estate are generally built with dry stone and are tolerably good.
Of that Part of the Estate of Perth
in the Parish of Muthill
The lands of the estate of Perth ly in the parish of Muthill in the country of Strathearn & shire of Perth and are of a pretty large extent, being from east to west full six miles and from south to north four miles.
The parish church of Muthill lyes much about the center of these lands. Mr. James Scott, minister there, is past fourty years of age and preaches wholly in the English language. The stipend paid him out of this part of the estate of Perth in the parish is £36.15.2 sterling of money and 8b.(bolls) 2f. (firlots) 1p. (peck) meall and 4b. 3 firlots of bear.
The parochial school is at Muthill. Mr. Alexander Coldstream, schoolmaster there, is about 30 years of age.
There are three schools in this parish beside the parochial school, one of them at the Bridge of Ardoch and two of them upon the estate of Perth, at Auchtermuthill and Craigneich. The one at Auchtermuthill is a charity school and the other two are private schools without any publick encouragement.
The estate of Perth in this parish is within the district of the Sherriff-Substitute of Crieff, who comes once a month from Perth to hold courts att Crieff. The furthest part of the parish from Crieff is about six miles.
There are several Justices of the Peace in the neighbourhood of this parish and Captain Drummond of Pitkellony lives hard by Muthill.
The laws prohibiting the Highland dress and wearing of arms have taken a full effect in this parish.
The people in the lower part of this parish speak the English language and in the upper part of it they speak both the English & the Irish languages.
No depradations or thefts have been committed of late on the lands in this parish and there are no thieves or harbourers of thieves reside thereon. There are little pickeries committed sometimes.
There are no wadsetts on these lands.
They burn no lime, nor is there any limestone discovered in this parish, nor any mines.
They sow no grass seeds, but they make hay with great care on their ley grounds, or wherever it may be had.
There are considerable quantities of flax raised every year in this parish, which they spin into linen yarn and bring the yarn to market, and is the principal commodity for making money to pay their rents. Of late years they plant a good deal of potatoes.
There were several inclosures made about Drummond Castle, but very insufficiently executed and upon no regular plan. Even the stone dikes are bad and what was intended for ditching & hedging was quite destroyed in the years 1745, 1746 & 1747.
There was a large peice of muir ground inclosed at a place called Culticheldich with a stone dike. This place was intended for a new farm and was to have been improved by burning and paring and so bringing it to bear corn. Some part of it was pared and burnt and is said to have produced pretty good cropts for a year or two, but afterwards by mismanagement it turned to no account and it is now sett to the tenants of the neighbouring farms, who pay rent for it.
There is a considerable quantity of improveable ground within this park and it might be laid out for the accomodation of such subtenants & cottars as cannot get themselves otherways provided.
The village of Muthill, where the parochial church & school is, as formerly observed, lyes pretty much in the centre of this parish. Part of this village belongs to Captain Drummond of Pitkellony and both ends thereof and the grounds adjacent thereto are parts of the estate of Perth. This village might be inlarged to both lands and pendicles laid out for behoof of the subtenants & cottars before mentioned.
There is not a great deal of milkness in this parish, except in the highland parts of it, where they make some small quantity of butter & cheese for sale. The cattle here are generally bad.
There are several mills belonging to the estate of Perth in this parish, one at Craigneich, one called the Miln of Drummond, one at Struthill, one at Ballach, one at Templemiln, one at Strathgeth, and one at Milness.
There are nine or ten people upon this part of the estate and make malt and distill aquavitae. There are several very bad, small changehouses, where they sometimes keep ale & aquavitae and sometimes have none. There is not one good one among the whole.
There is not any commerce or manufacture carried on in this parish other than spinning of linen yarn, which they bring to Crieff to market.
The people are generally honest enough, but cannot be commended for their industry in any one thing but watering their grounds and spinning of linen yarn, and they are generally very poor.
The prevailing names amongst the inhabitants cannot easily be ascertained as there is such a diversity. There are several McInnes’s, McLeish’s, McAnshes, Baynes, Dows, McNiven’s, Carmichaels and Sharps.
There are several leases on the lands of this parish, which may be seen in the abstract of the judicial rental. Among these there is a lease of the town and lands of Innerclair or Wester Craigneich by the late James Drummond of Perth to Alexander McGrouther of Miggor, now deceased, and his heirs, and is now wholly subsett to William McGrouther, who lives upon the possession. It will appear odd that so small a tack duty as one merk scots should be put upon it. The reasons given for it are that Mr. McGrouther & his predecessors had been in great friendship with the family of Perth and enjoyed several beneficial leases under them and that the late James Drummond of Perth, having entered upon a scheme of augmenting the rents of the estate in several parts, and particularily in these parts where Mr. McGrouther had these beneficial leases, and that in order to make him give up these pleasantly he preferred him to this lease at Innerclair. It is likewise said for a certainty that Mr. McGrouther gave him a considerable purse of gold in compliment. All the others that have leases in this parish reside upon their farms.
The woods and planting upon the estate of Perth in this parish are valuable. The woods of Drummond & Ballach when last sold gave above £2000 sterling and they will be ready for cutting again in seven or eight years. There is a small wood called Knockmawhinner, which, including the planting there is about it, may be reckoned worth near £100 sterling.
The firr and other planting about Drummond may be worth about £700 sterling and the planting about the tenants gardens will be of considerable service in repairing the tenants’ houses and thereby save other timber.
The carriages which the tenants in this parish are bound to perform are the carriage of bark, coal, lime & some peats or turf. All these carriages should be reserved and may afterwards be exacted or not, as the Commissioners shall see cause. The lime carriages might be very usefully employed for the benefit of the tenants and several other purposes within the estate.
There are no bridges wanted in this part of the estate, except two small ones, at Glenlichorn & at Miln of Struthill.
The publick road from Stirling to Inverness comes through the middle of the parish and the cross roads are tolerably good.
The soil in this parish is in some places very good and in other parts as bad, but the whole is very capable of being improved for grass and tillage.
The grain they sow generally is barley, oats & some pease, & here & there a little rye.
The face of the country is pretty smooth and free from rock or bog. There are a good many stone quarries to be had in it in different places, but it points mostly at the fences being made by ditching & hedging, and as the country is cold & ill sheltred, it must consequently receive great benefit from hedging & planting.
There is a great conveniency of water for watering their lands, which is at present the general practice and from which they reap great benefit.
There is likewise great plenty of stone marle, tho’ they make use of none of it for their grounds. Yet, as the benefit of that sort of manure is so well known, there is no doubt but the tenants may be brought to make trials of it.
There is plenty of clay fit for burning, which they would find the benefit of, but never will be attempted by them untill they are bound to do it.
But above all they should be obliged to ditch & hedge their grounds, and that part of the rents which the Commissioners have in their power to give an abatement of employed for this purpose & other improvements. This ought to be done according to a regular plan and a gardiner who understands surveying settled in a centrical part of the estate, who could assist and direct the tenants in executing the plan laid down in their different farms.
This gardiner ought likewise to be employed in rearing of nurseries for hedges and hedgerows, and likewise a few fruit trees for planting out in the tenant’s gardens.
It would be right that this gardiner should have a few garden seeds, such as turneep, carrot, parsneep, onion & leek, to be distributed amongst the tenants, and also some clover and other grass seeds.
And it would be of service if there were some small premiums distributed for certain peices of industry, such as:
A premium to the tenant who had his hedges in best order & repair.
A premium to him who brought the best horse or bullock of his own rearing to be sold att Crieff Fair, and so on to the best turneep, best cabbage &c.&c.
The highland parts of this parish are capable of very considerable improvements, as they are for the most part tracts of smooth ground, either plain or sloping gently upon the sides of the hills.
There were trials made by the late James Drummond of Perth for improving several peices of these grounds, but as those employed by him (who were the projectors of these improvements) abused him in it, they all ended unsuccessfully. He furnished the money for incloseing and was at the expence of paring and burning the grounds, all which money he put into his projectors’ hands, and they had in view only to make a jobb of it, they made the fences slight and good for nothing and had, moreover, the first two crops of the grounds after the paring and the burning for their trouble in giving directions about it. And when these grounds came to be ploughed for a third crop without any further manure than the first burning and paring, the returns from them were very poor that it put an end to the project.
The Water of Earn does great damnage to several farms on this part of the estate that ly on the side of it, and which, if not timeously taken care of, will occasion a very great expence afterwards.
The house on this part of the estate is tolerably good and built with stone & mortar.
Firing is pretty convenient for the tenants here, from the mosses in the Muir of Orchill, and now that they have better access to the coals, by the made roads, tho’ they ly at a considerable distance, yet they make use of a good deal therof, which they carry home upon their own horses in the summertime when their work is not throng at home.
ON THE BARONY OF MILNAB
The barony of Milnab lyes in the parish of Crieff and shire of Perth. The town of Crieff lyes almost in the center of it. This barony extends from east to west about a mile and from south to north neat two miles.
The parish church is at Crieff and lyes very centrical for the barony. Mr. Thomas Stewart, minister there, is lately settled. He is about 27 years of age, preaches only in the English language. the yearly stipend payable to him out of this barony is £11.7.66/12 sterling of money, 7 bolls, 2 pecks meall & 2 bolls, 2 firlots bear.
The parochial school is att Crieff. Mr. John Dugal, schoolmaster there, is aged about 36 or thereby.
There is a prison att Crieff, but a very insufficient one. One of the Sherriff-Substitutes att Perth, as formerly mentioned, comes once every month to Crieff to hold courts. Perth is 12 miles computed distant from Crieff.
Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre, Mr. Campbell of Monzie, Mr. Campbell of Balcardine, Captain John Menzies of Fearntown & Captain Drummond of Pitkellony are Justices of the Peace.
The laws prohibiting the Highland dress and carrying of arms have taken full effect in this barony.
No depradations or thefts have been committed here of late. No thieves live in this barony, but there are a great many vagrants or loose people that haunt about the town of Crieff and find lodging from the small fewars there.
No wadsetts in this barony. No leases but one, which is of the farm of Culteranich, sett to Lord John Drummond for 19 years after Whitsunday 1740 and thereafter during his lifetime, assigned to Mr. Campbell of Monzie and possessed by Captain John Menzies.
No limestone or lime burnt in this barony. No mines or any appearance of them.
The lands of Cultcrieff in this barony were sometime ago inclosed with a stone dike, but very insufficiently. The divisions or cross dikes are in the same way.
The grounds on this part of the estate produce barley, oats & pease. No other sorts of grain are sow’n here. No grass seeds of any account sowen here. There is no hay ground, only two small meadows immediately adjacent to the town of Crieff.
The black cattle & horses in this barony are but few and not very good, nor fitt for the market. No milkness worth the mentioning.
The only milns in this barony are the Milns of Milnab, which are sufficient for the inhabitants.
All the wood on this part of the estate is some bushes of allars upon the land of Milnab & Cultcrieff, which may give about £15 sterling at a cutting and may be ready for sale about 10 or 12 years.
The firing here is at a distance. The inhabitants are sometimes supplied with coals, partly carried home by themselves and partly bought of others who carry them at a dear rate. In general they are very ill served of firing. The inhabitants of the town of Crieff were formerly obliged to make use of green wood, broom & turf.
There is very little malt made in this barony or in the town of Crieff, except what is made by David Thomson, writer there.
The tenants of this barony are liable in bark carriages, which ought to be reserved in giving the leases.
The method of improving the farm grounds here the same as formerly mentioned for the parish of Muthill.
OF THE TOWN OF CRIEFF
The town of Crieff lyes in the above mentioned barony of Milnab & shire of Perth, pleasantly situated near to the Water of Earn upon the north side thereof, upon a sloping bank exposed to the south. The ground upon which it stands is light and channelly and very dry. It is reckoned a wholesome situation and that the air is very good. It is well supplied with water, which is conveyed in to the middle of the town in pipes from a spring that rises at the foot of the hill on the north side of the town, and it is thought by everybody to be a fit place for carrying on of manufactures in.
It is situated in the head of the open part of the country of Strathearn, in the mouth or entry in to the Highlands, both to the north & west. The great road from Stirling to Inverness & Fort Augustus goes through it to the north and the road from Perth to the Western Highlands goes through it to the west and falls in to the Fort William road at the head of Lochearn
There are a good many people in Crieff that deal in the mercantile way and carry on a trade in linen & woollen cloths, yarn & skins and furnish the country round in merchant goods of all kinds, and also a great many Highland pedlars come down here to buy merchant goods. Severals here deal likewise in the victual trade, with which they furnish people coming from the Highlands for it, and if some further improvements were made upon the road that leads to the Western Highlands from this place by the sode of Lochearn and the necessary bridges built upon the waters on the side of Lochearn, the trade of this place would increase considerably.
People of all trades, such as masons, joiners, house carpenters, wheelwrights, smiths, bakers, butchers, brewers, taylors & barbers are to be found in Crieff.
There are small inns or alehouses in Crieff. There is one very good inn there for accomodation of passengers kept by James Cliphane and another tolerable good one by Alexander Campbell.
The country in the neighbourhood is cheap, plentiful & well inhabited, and might be well served in all the necessaries of life if the farmers had fallen into the method of improvement & a proper industry. The greatest and almost the only inconveniency here is the distance firing is from them and the difficulty they have to procure it upon that account.
There was a plan made sometime ago in order for the improvement & inlargment of this town and feus given to such people as would undertake to settle here and build houses, but the Rebellion coming on soon after put a stop to it and severals who had bargained for their feus and upon the faith thereof had built houses never got their charters, tho’ they were made out & ready for the signing, but which was never done upon account of the late James Drummond of Perth’s having at the time gone in to the Rebellion.
It is believed that people will be got to take more feus here, but this ought to be gone into with great caution and to grant these feus only to people of good characters and of substance and under certain restrictions & regulations, for there are several instances in this place of people who have got feus and built houses upon them, trifling enough, which they lett out to any body that comes in their way, without minding from whence they come or what their characters are. This is of great hurt and prejudice to the place.
The prison here is in great disrepair and is so insufficient that it keeps in nobody who have a mind to go out. It is quite necessary to have a good prison here.
The church here is so decayed that people are afraid to go into it. Beside, it is so small that it does not contain one half of the parishioners, upon which account many of them are obliged to scatter up and down the neighbouring parish churches for want of room in their own church. The increase of the inhabitants of the town of Crieff contributes to this.
The school of this place is likewise in a very poor situation. The schoolmaster has no house provided for him to live in and he is obliged to hire a house to keep his school. He is reckoned a very sufficient man, but he has little or no encouragement, his salary yearly being only £6.13.4 sterling, and not the least fund for an assistant.
This place deserves to have a better school, upon quite a different footing & establishment than at present. If there was a good school house erected here and proper encouragement for a master & two assistants, gentlemen would send their children to school here from all corners of the Highlands, upon account of their having so easy access to hear from them frequently and of sending them what necessaries they would want from time to time.
There are several houses in this place fit to take in boarders and there’s no place where children would more readily learn principles of loyalty, as they would meet with few or none of the inhabitants to encourage them to the contrary.
A good school here would be of great advantage to the inhabitants as it would bring a good deal of money amongst them, and as it is just now there are few other scholars but the children of the inhabitants, who are as many if not more than one man is able to do justice to, but the regulation they have for payment of the schooldues is so extremely small that it gives no encouragement to a schoolmaster to bestow the due pains upon them.
There ought to be a spinning school in this place and the direction of it given to some discreet person who would have some interest and weight in the place. There is none here known so fit for it as Helen Caw, wife of David Thomson, writer, and she is reckoned very well qualified for it. There are crowds of little girls here that stroll about the streets playing at hand ball and other such employments & diversions who might be usefully employed in spinning.
There should likewise be some encouragement given to a discreet woman for teaching these girls and young boys, numbers of whom run likewise idling about the streets here, to knit stockings.
There is a house already built, which was originally a factory house for weaving of linen cloth, at the west end of the town of Crieff. This house was a good deal destroyed in the time of the late Rebellion. A small expence would repair it so as to make it very convenient for a spinning and stocking knitting school.
The situation of this place appears to be very calculated for carrying on of manufactures in it, especially of the linen kind, as there are such great quantities of linen yarn brought to market here weekly, and which is brought up and sent in packs to Glasgow, Paisley &c. from this place.
A tannerie would have a good chance of success here as it would ly extremely commodius for bark and there would be people found in the place to make the trial, if they had encouragement, which would at any rate be this for far worth while, that there would be more vent for oak bark and the woods would give the greater price, and it would be an additional branch of business in the place.
There is a weekly market held here every Thursday, tho’ not on the grounds of the estate of Perth. But there are several fairs, particularily a great one att Michaelmas yearly for black cattle, horses & other goods, to which there is a great concourse of people from all corners of the kingdom, and the money left here at that time is one of the best supports the town has at present.
The tenants upon the estate of Perth are generally poor, more especially in those parts thereof where the rents were augmented, which was done without any regular method or judging properly what farms could best bear to be augmented. In these augmentations there was no plan laid down for improvements, nor any sort of encouragement given to the tenants. Leases were indeed proposed, but the tenants for the most part refused to accept of any until they should make a trial of their possessions under these augmentations, and severals of them agreed for one yearly only. And of those who accepted of leases, numbers of them have missive letters & other obligements under the late James Drummond of Perth’s hands, declaring that notwithstanding of their becoming bound by their leases to pay such a certain rent, yet that they were to have an annual deduction of so much out of these rents during their possession.
These things happened from the year 1741 to 1745 and in this state of uncertainty were the tenants when the Rebellion came on. At the judicial rental of the estate of Perth, taken immediately upon the forfeiture thereof by order of the Right Honourable the Barons of Exchequer, was in terms of these augmented rents, of which there was no part concealed, and the tenants have continued ever since to pay in terms of that rental, except in a very few instances occasioned by bankruptcies & giving over of some place as too dear, and whenever anything of that kind happened, the farms & places so given up & left open were sett by the factor to the highest offerers by publick cant or roup.
What contributed greatly to hurt the tenants was that these augmented rents lay in the hands of many of them from the beginning of the Rebellion untill a factor was appointed by the Right Honourable the Barons of Exchequer, in spring 1748, upon the estate. Some of the tenants had never paid these augmented rents, as they had not become due when the Rebellion came on, and they believed that upon the forfeiture of the estate they would only have the old rents to account for and therefore disposed of the money & effects, which should have answered there to other uses. And when they found these rents came to be demanded from them, they had not wherewith to pay, which indeed was the case with most of the tenants who had so many rents lying in their hands, as severals upon the estate of Perth had at that time, and it generally is so with the country people.
The tenants upon the estate of Perth, before the Rebellion and always untill a factor was appointed in the 1748, were heavily oppressed and many of them ruined by the thefts & depredations that were committed yearly upon their cattle & effects, tho’ they paid a certain sum of money yearly, commonly called black maill, out of every plough to some man or other of reputation in that way for protecting them for thieving, and which they paid yearly whether they were capable of paying their rents or not; but this ceased upon the factor’s being appointed for the Crown in the 1748.
These things and their being so harassed during the Rebellion, when they could not look after their affairs until the rebels were beat northward, exceedingly distressed them when all these rents came to be demanded from them, but which great part of them were in no condition to pay, and occasioned several bankruptcies and a poverty which they have not got the better of to this day, as a good part of the rents then paid by them were but borrowed from neighbouring tenants to serve a turn.
From what has been said it will appear that in some places of the estate of Perth the rents are more than what the farms in their present situation can bear, and there they would need to be lessened. But in other places they can bear to be augmented and the tenants upon the whole may be made tolerably easy without lessening the present rent.
There is no nonjuring clergyman that preaches upon the estate of Perth except Mr. William Ersking att Muthill, who has a lease of a house and a peice of land at the town end of Muthill. A few of the tenants of the estate of Perth in the parish of Muthill are still his hearers, but they are turning thinner every day. There are not many on the other parts of the estate but what hear their parish minister or seceding ministers, exept in the parish of Callendar, where there are severals who would chuse to hear a nonjuring clergyman, but these are at such a distance from any established place of worship that they say themselves they are glad to hear any body that comes in their way. It is, therefore, to be wished that a minister were settled in the head of Strathgartney for the benefit of that country in general, and likewise a schoolmaster, who should be a man of sense, sound principles & knowledge.
There should be a minister settled at the east end of Lochearn, who should preach every third Sunday at the west end, and another about the Bridge of Ardoch, half way betwixt Muthill & Dunblane, and these are thought to be all the settlements of that kind necessary in those parts. There should likewise be schools settled at these places.
There are charity schools upon the estate of Perth, one at Auchtermuthill in the parish of Muthill, one at Dundurn & one in Glenartney, both in the parish of Comrie.
Schools wanted are, one at Lix in the parish of Killine, one at Cult, the eastermost farm belonging to the estate of Perth in the barony of Ballquhidder, one upon the the side of Lochearn in the parish of Comrie, one at Glenlichorn or Blairinroar in the head of the parish of Muthill, one at Kinbuck, and one, as formerly observed, in the head of Strathgartney.
There is at present a parochial school at the Kirktoun of Callender. The schoolmaster there is a man of good sense, well affected to His Majesty’s person & government, and every way fit for his business. He has a pretty throng school and manages it better than could well be expected from the endeavours of any one man, and makes very good scholars. His salary is extremely small and no allowance for an assistant. It would be of great advantage to that place and to the whole neighbourhood if he had a better salary and a fund for an assistant. He has no school house, but is obliged to keep his school in the church, summer & winter. There are great complaints of the abuses the boys committ upon the seats. He has an offer of a better place and no doubt will accept unless his salary is bettered where he is.
The usefulness and advantages of having a good school att Crieff has been already set forth in the report on the barony of Milnab.
There are few or no tenants upon the estate of Perth but what are resident upon their possessions. Those who are not have been formerly mentioned and are: Alexander Stewart of Annat, tacksman of Offrans, Coshambie &c. in the barony of Strathgartney; Captain James Campbell of Stronslany, tacksman of Tombea in the barony of Callendar; James Stewart at the head of Lochearn, tacksman of Littleport in the parish of Comrie; William Dow, in Teinamoan, tacksman at Auchnashelloch in the parish of Strowan; Charles Farquharson, tacksman of Dalchlathick in Comrie parish, now grieve or factor to Mr. Drummond of Blair; John McGrouther, residing at Cambushinnie, possessor of Straid in the parish of Muthill; and the drovers and graziers who possess graseings where there are no places of residence for anybody. The heirs of Margaret Stewart, who, as representing her, succeed to her lease of the towns and lands of Greenock in the barony of Callendar, reside at or near Down of Monteith.
There are no tenants upon the estate of Perth that in consideration of the farms they hold there pay any rent, gratuity, service or prestation of any kind to any person or persons whatever further than what is contained in the judicial rental and excepting what is paid by subtenants, & cottars to the principal tenants & tacksmen themselves.
The tenants of the estate of Perth were formerly liable for a great many services, such as shearing, leading of corn, ploughing & harrowing of ground and several others of that sort tedious to mention which in all the old tacks or leases are brought in in a clause obliging the tenants to “services conform to use and wont.” As all these services were entirely arbitrary and no otherways regulated than at the proprietor’s direction, there is only brought into the rental the carriages of bark, coal and peats, the extent whereof are known and are particularily pactioned & ascertained when the tenant enters to the possession of the farm, all which carriages of bark, coal and peats should be reserved in granting new leases and afterwards made use of or not as the Commissioners should judge proper.
The tenants were likewise in use of carrying lime, which should also be reserved and may be found useful for many purposes that will necessarily occur to the advantage of the estate.
Publick carriages, such as kirks & manses, they are liable to, of course, and the services to milns may be reckoned in that class, as it for their own emolument and advantage. There is another thing a certain number of days ought to be reserved for, and that is when they may be called upon to repair any damnages done by waters by breaking suddenly out upon the adjacent grounds, of which there are many instances upon the Perth estate and which there’s no repairing of without the assistance of a great many hands.
Any man who is factor upon the estate of Perth will find upon trial that Crieff is the most proper place for his residence as factor. The most considerable part of the estate lyes near or at no great distance from Crieff and there is scarce a day but there are people from the more distant parts of the estate, and particularily every Thursday, which is the weekly market day there, by which means the factor has a constant & immediate account of what is transacting, not only in the dufferent parts of the estate of Perth, but in all the neighbouring countries, and as Crieff is a thoroughfare from the Highlands to the low country, he has access very frequently to see people from most corners of the Highlands.
The estate of Perth makes a considerable part of the country about Crieff and the tenants have constant dealings more or less with the rest of the country, and all the bargains made and the payments of these bargains are generally transacted att Crieff, and it is of consequence to the factor to be in the knowledge of many of these transactions, which he would not otherwise come to the knowledge of it if his residence were elsewhere.
The factor has better opportunities here than he can have any where else of settling disputes among the tenants in an amicable manner, that might otherwise turn out expensive law suits.
As Crieff is the only market place in this country, whatever commodities the tenants have to dispose of towards payment of their rents or for other purposes they carry there to market and the money arising therefrom they pay into the factor, as he is immediately at hand to take it from them, which possibly, if they carried home to their own houses, they would apply to other purposes than the payment of their rents. And it is very common that when a tenant comes to pay his rent and wants a small part of it, that he goes out and borrows it from some one or other of the Crieff merchants, to be repaid by him to the lender in linen yarn.
There is likewise a post office at Crieff.
As to the conveniencies & accommodations for the factor’s residing att Crieff,so far as they regard his own private conveniency, they are at present none of the most eligible. He has but a small incommodius house, for which he pays rent, and has no farm for some small discontiguous spots as they fell into his hand by the bankruptcy or giving over of the same by the former possessors as thinking them too dear, and tho’ the whole of them were contiguous, they are not a third part sufficient to serve the necessary occasions of his family. But these inconveniencies may easily be remedied.
The leases upon the estate of Perth above £25 sterling yearly rent are, Alexander Stewart of Annat’s for Offrans &c. in the barony of Strathgartney, Captain James Campbell of Stronlany’s for Tombea on the barony of Callendar & John Drummond’s for Maillermore &c. in the parish of Comrie. Donald McNab’s for Lourgavouie in the parish of Callendar is £25 yearly rent precisely. There are several possessions whereon there are no leases that are above £25 sterling rent yearly.
Parish of Comry
A highland country. Their cattle and sheep not good. They ruin their stocking by summer grasing oxen from the low country. There is a great quantity of ground capable of improvement which now consists of hanging, spouty soill and bears a coarse, blew grass. I should propose to encourage by premium their sewing potatoes in the lazy-bed way and cause them to fill up the ditches with stones and some heath a-top to prevent the earth from mixing with the stones and then plow it.
They water in this barony but injudicially. Their usual way of croping their ground is: infield, 2 years oats, one barley; outfield, 3 years in, 4 out. By a speat last year the bridge of Dalclathick was demolished. The sucken find very great difficulty to get over to the mill, the Water of Ruchill being very rough & stony and in the least speat unpassable. I humbly think it would be necessary either to rebuild the bridge or remove the mill to Culnacary, which would be in the middle of the sucken and better supplied with water. There is none of the sucken belonging to this mill on the same side of the river except Dalclathick, possessed by General Graeme, who has turned his whole farm into grass. He is very willing to part with the mill. I shall point out on the map the situation.
The Burn of Aut & Gask (?) Allt na Gaisge hurts several farms. The late proprietor I understand proposed to divide it in the hill and cause parts of it to run to the Water of Allan. There is a limestone quarry lately discovered as Maillers More. I tried the stone with aqua fortis. It promises well. Some of the tenants propose using it next season. Some of them are beginning to inclose. General Graeme has entirely inclosed Dalclathick and is building a house; will cost some £100. Marches are cleared in this parish. Mailers Four, carrying a march dyke with Mailers Mcnab, want to oblige that farm to build half dyke with them.
I am ordered to report as to the value of this farm, a person having offered to advance the rent. By what I can understand there are many better pennyworths on the estates. If the Board would set up their farms to the best bidders they would get people to offer double value to get possession and then plague the Board for a deduction. The farms in this part of the estate were doubled in the year 1744 and several have given in petitions claiming a deduction of rent. However, as all the farms are to be brought to an adequate rent, I shall be able to answer this more fully after next survey.
There is a petition given craving the Board to be at the expence of carrying in the Burn of Boldachan into the Earn where it would not touch their farm. I examined their proposal on the spot. Shall show the situation on the map and give my reasons pro & con.
John Drummond has built a good house. Can’t inclose, as the marches betwixt his farm and Garichrew are not cleared. The woods upon this farm and Mowzie [Meuvie or Moevie] ready for cutting, but would interfere with Graeme’s bargain.
There is a great deal of fine wood upon the side of this loch. The country is entirely highlands, but their cattle not good, being a smooth-haired kind not proper for the country. Would be proper to encourage bringing bulls from the Isle of Sky. Their utensils of husbandry not good. They make use of currahs and the broad plow. Upon the farm of Ardveich there is a good limestone quarry, wrought in the time of the late proprietor. The quarry is a mile from the loch.
Upon Mr. Campbell of Auchlinner’s ground at the west end of the loch there is plenty of fine limestone. Humbly think it would be of great consequence to encourage at first by a premium of so much per boll the importation of limestone to the east end of the loch, which would supply a great part of the estate of Perth with that useful manure. There would be found such a demand that the undertakers would find it their advantage to continue it.
There are few improvements carrying on here. The people of Ardveich have built 6 roods of dykeing. James Drummond in Ardrostans has carried on farming to more advantage than any person on the estate of Perth. He had a lease from James Drummond of Perth of this farm. He inclosed all the low grounds of it, built a handsome house, got a shepherd from the south country, and out of the produce of a farm that does not appear to be the best in the country had bought a very pretty little estate. His tack has now expired.
Parish of Crieff
A small part of this parish belongs to the Crown. There is a limestone quarry lately found by a mason in Crieff at Culcrieff. It seems to be better than any in that country, the quantity small. John Caw in Millnab shows an uncommon spirit for this part of the country. Herewith is given in a note of his improvements. He has been very much at a loss with regard to paying his rent for his mills. There has been a process depending befor the Sherriff with regard to the tenants of Sir William Murray of Auchtertrye, who claim an exemption from thirlage. That process is now lying by, although the Board have been at a considerable expence in carrying it on. During the carrying on of the process in the late proprietor’s time he was allowed a deduction of rent. He he[re]with produces an attestation of its being so. Humbly begs the Board would examine the papers herewith given in and that they would let him know what he is to depend on, as he does not chuse to appear amongst the people given in as being in arrears.
Mrs. Menzies had a lease of this farm during the life of Lady John Drummond. She proposes planting the Knock of Crieff if allowed for it.
Village of Crieff
As the village of Crieff is the principal one upon the estate of Perth and which from its situation is the most capable of improving and of serving as an example to the other villages in that country, I should humbly think that all attention should be given to beautifying and improving of it.
The first thing that naturally occurs is the entrys to the village, which are narrow and made still more so by their keeping their dunghills before their doors. I should propose that the baron baillie should have orders to advert to the police of the place and fine such as do not keep their doors clean &c., and immediately to give orders that all dung found upon the streets should be carried to Bennibeg and put upon the hedges there, which require it much.
If all encumbrances in the streets were removed and the streets graveled, which the inhabitants engage to do if allowed for some time their own statute work, it would add much to the beauty of the village and bee an advantage to the country, as two great roads go through the midst of it, one the great north road and the other that goes from Perth to Lochearn.
A row of trees round the square would be ornamental. Mr. Murray of Abercairney offers the Board to supply them with trees for that purpose.
There is a building which belongs to the Board called the Meal Vennel, which blocks up and destroys one of the principal streets which forms the Perth road. It likeways destroys from the square the view of the town house steeple, which the Board has lately raised and repaired and to which the towns people have been at the expence of adding a clock. The Meal Vennel serves to no other purpose just now except keeping a small quantity of meal, which is levied from the tenants for supplying the gardiners and other servants of the Board that are upon livery meal. The Society of Free Masons, who are building a new lodge in the great square, which will occasionally serve as a ball room and consequently induce the neighbouring gentry to come and spend their money in the village, offer to include in their buiding a space sufficient for holding all the meal necessary, if they will get the materials of the vennel, which is in such a ruinous situation that it will take a considerable sum to repair it.
Nothing would contribute more to the advantage of this village than the encouragement of a sufficient schoolmaster and schoolmistress. As it lyes near the Highlands, numbers of more people would come doun and reside there for the education of their children.
The present grammar school is really in the situation set furth in the schoolmaster’s and boys’ petition. It was made a job of by the builder and is not in the annexed estates part of Crieff, which is the most healthy and best aired part of the town. I herewith give in a petition from the inhabitants and neighbourhood of Crieff for a sewing mistress. They have in view a sober woman of good character, who has been mistress to one of the principal hospitals in Town and, as being a Crieff woman, is willing to give up her employment here on having some encouragement in her own native country.
If the Honourable Board will allow some timber from the Drummond firs to the Masons, they engage to give the ground story of their lodge (which is in the great square) for the use of the sewing mistress as a school room.
As the village is dayly encreasing from the numbers of families settling there for the education of their children, all the ground feued by the family of Perth is built upon. Even severals have built on ground for which their charters were never extended. They beg the Honourable Board to have these extended and many others beg to have the feus of the ground presently possessed by them. I herewith present several petitions on that head.
I humbly think it would be proper to order a plan to be made of the village in its present situation and a proper one to be pitched upon by the Board for carrying the additional streets into execution, which the feuars should be strictly obliged to follow, and that such as get feus on the road side towards the bridge should be obliged not to build nearer than 14 feet from the road. The not adverting to that in the original plan has made the street that leads from the bridge to the square very inconvenient.
As I have in the former parts of my report insisted much upon all possible encouragement being given to the publick houses. I can’t with more justice recommend to the protection of the Board any I have met from the estates I have surveyed than Charles Murray and his wife in Crieff. As there are few of the Honourable Board but have had an opportunity of experienceing their merit in their profession, I shall not particularize it, only shall mention what they humbly petition the Board for to serve as a further accommodation for passengers. They want to have a feu of the ground presently possessed by them as tenants that they may make buildings &c. on it for their better accommodation. They agree that they shall never have power to seperate it from the publick house. They made an application last spring to the Board for timber towards carrying of some offices adjoining to their present house. The order they got was for timber in proportion to the value of their servitude for fale and divot on the estate of Perth, which came to £5. The expence of his attendance &c. on the Board in Town to get that order cost him upwards of seven. They humbly petition the Board for a further allowance of timber, as they can get none for that purpose nearer than Perth, ten computed miles distant.
As to their manufactorys, there are none carried on here but in the common way, that is to say a weaver having a loom for himself and one or two more for his apprentices. It is a good deal out of repair. There is no rent drawn for it by the Board. As there is a great quantities of linen yarn sent annually from Crieff to Glasgow, some of the principal people propose entering into partnership for carrying on the linen manufacture to some extent. They are people of very considerable substance. I herewith present the Board with their proposals.
David Lawson near Crieff has invented a kiln for burning of limestone with whins, broom &c., has made the experiment and fins that it will answer very well, which must certainly be of great advantage to the country, but he wants that the Board should provide him with an iron brander to his kiln for rendering his undertaking more extensive and effectual. The plan of the kiln, with his petition, is herewith presented to the Board.
John McAndrew, stocking weaver, has now removed to Monzie in that neighbourhood. His principal employment is getting yarn from the people in the country, which he manufactures at a certain price. He says he wants a courser frame for enabling him to prosecute such work.
One Patrick Arnot, a merchant in Crieff, and his brother, a mason, have erected, at their own expence, a paper mill near Crieff. A sum is proposed to be allowed by the Board in premiums for the encouragement of manufacturers at Crieff and Callander. There is no manufacturer at Callander except Robert Campbell and none at present in Crieff that merit the bounty except the Arnots, who show a surprising spirit considering their stock. It is an undertaking that has the appearance of deservedly turning out to their advantage and consequently to that of the country, as it will employ a number of hands now idle. I herewith present their petition and samples of their paper, with an attestation from their merchant at Perth as to the quantity made and of the quality received.
There are several complaints by the inhabitants of Crieff which are contained in a paper signed by a number of the feurs which is given in to the Board.
Barony of Muthill
This barony appears to be further back in farming than any part of the estate of Perth. They are so far from attempting any thing new that even such as had inclosures made them by the late proprietor have allowed them to run to ruin. The back-handrent tempted numbers of them to take farms for which they had not stock, which has ended in the destruction of many of them.
They have generally too great an extent of ground, which from want of proper management rather hurts than betters them from their present method of farming. They must plow it up in the usual rotation, by which means a great part of their ground does not yield the corn they sew. They would require to have some good tenants placed amongst them to show a good example.
The only industry they show is in peeling and destroying their grounds with the flaughter spade. They even take the trouble of tirring their muirs and often don’t carry home the divot, but allow them to rot in heaps.
On several parts of this barony there is plenty of rock marle, which they never use.
There grounds are mostly all divided and some attempts made to inclose at the expence of the Board, but very ineffectual, especially on the road betwixt Crieff and Muthill. As the soil is sand below, the ditches run immediately. It would be proper to face with stone, of which there is plenty all over the upper part of this barony.
Prices of labour the same. At Auchterarder they even give shearers lint sowing in part of wages. In the upper part of the parish they make use of a broad plough.
The stoolls of the wood cut last summer by Mr. Graeme are extremely well kept, altho’ the cutter has the priviledge of eating the grass after the axe until March next. He begs to have the inclosures mended before the ax, as they will not keep in his wood horses.
There are a number of ashes round the inclosures that contain the oak woods which were planted. They are all stinted and will never in their present situation produce good timber. I humbly think they should be cut down, as from the stoolls there is reason to imagine good wood would spring.
The nursery mentioned in my particular instructions should be cut down or rather thined so as to leave all the good trees.
The Dutchess of Atholl just now is making a number of very sufficient walls to inclose and subdivide the farm of Drummond. The hedges & dykes made by the late proprietor were in very bad order. Her Grace rather chuses to build from the foundation than trust to the repairing of the old ones.
The situation pitched upon for the new nursery appears to be very unluckily chosen. The aspect is northeast, the soil a till at bottom and a poor, dead sand on the surface. When trenched it produces nothing except sheap sorrell & yar. It is quite parched in summer and in winter a myre. The appearance of a few old trees on the south side of it might have detered any person from pitching on that spot, these trees being so miserably stinted. The Board have laid out near £300 already upon it. The gardner appears to have done his part, as the nursery appears to be kept clean. At the same time the whole trees, if they make as slow a progress as hitherto, will be many years of returning the sum expended. Some thorns sent over from Edinburgh to nurse already appear as if covered with snow from the fogging.
I should humbly propose to try some parts with lime and to retrench a part to see if the soill turned down by trenching is not better than what is brought up. If that does not answer, it must be abandoned.
There is a large tract of ground inclosed for planting in a mure above Drummond Castle. It is very insufficient just now, being part ditch and all the rest faill dyke except the east end, which is a good stone double dyke. As there is plenty of stone there, before it is planted I humbly think it ought to be compleatly inclosed with a dyke.
Hutton, the overseer, seems more to merit the attention of the Board than any of the colonists I have yet met with. He has carried on with success a brick work, which is of great advantage to the country, and has employed all the industriuos soldiers under his direction. He humbly petitions the Board for six acres of the ground lying round his brick work, that he may work unmolested. It is at present of very little value, being mostly moor. By putting the ashes of his brick kiln upon it he may in time make it very good ground. The Honourable Board will judge whether or not he ought to have it rent free for some years.
Numbers of the colonists have eloped in considerable arrears. As that vacancy will be supplied by industrious tradesmen settling there, it would be of the utmost consequence for the welfare of this village to have the small inclosure presently possessed by John Campbell in Tomaknock, whose farm lyes 3 miles from it. It would serve to summer grase their cows, as at present they are obliged to keep a herd on each possession. It would be proper, if the Board think fit, to grant their petition to have their cattle sound [lege soumed].
The farm is very extensive. A thin, light soill; does not at all answer as a corn farm. Imagine, if inclosed, it would turn out to much greater advantage in grass. The only good haugh ground they have is destroyed by the River Earn. The Board have laid out £170 and the services of three parishes for three years have been employed to command the water. I am afraid it will not answer the expence, as by the bullwork made above the bridge the water appears too much confined. The building another small arch on the south side of the bridge, where just now there is a dead wall, would have better answered the intention.
A petition herewith given in by the tenant beging a deduction of rent and his meal converted at 100 merks per chalder.
This tenant is in arrears owing to parks of Drummond & Lintibbet being for some years in grass, which he alleadges is the best part of his sucken. Herewith is given in a petition from him claiming an allowance on that account.
This tenant is a very ingenious mechanic and builder of the paper mill near Crieff.
A disputed march with Mr. Clow of Pittentian by the shifting of the course of the Water of Earn.
The burn, by being conveyed alongst a rising ground, destroys a great deal of good clay soill. There ought to be a ditch carried thro’ the hollow large enough to contain the burn and that made the division betwixt the South & North Balloch. The rising ground on this part of the estate are poor, dry soill and appear to be high enough rented.
The greatest part of it a dry soill, which would be benefited by water. Want timber to carry a trows over a hollow. The Burn of Balloch, by the course being choaked up, destroys their richest grounds.
The inclosures made there at the expence of the Board will not turn out to any advantage if not faced with stone. There is a very good quarry upon the farm. The farm is divided, but the tenants will not go to live upon their divisions. Some parts of the farm above a mile from their steading.
Captain Drummond of Pitkellony has inclosed all his farm with a sufficient fence. As he says he has layed out above 5 years’ rent, he begs to be allowed a fourty one years’ lease.
Having completed his report Mr. John Campbell of Barcaldine then turned his attention to the other parts of the estate.
Note: The First Statistical Account of Scotland - Parish of Comrie – County of Perth-Presbytery of Auchterarder - Synod of Perth and Stirling, drawn up by the Rev. Mr. Colin Baxter, Minister of Monivard. From materials chiefly collected by the Rev. Mr. Hugh McDiarmed, Minister of Comrie, 1795. Page images © the University of Glasgow - http://www.glasgow.ac.uk">http://www.glasgow.ac.ukand the University of Edinburgh http://www.ed.ac.uk">http://www.ed.ac.ukand http://www.edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/">http://www.edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot
The Second Statistical Account of Scotland - Parish of Comrie – the Presbytery of Auchterarder, Synod of Perth and Kinross. The Rev. William Mackenzie, Minister, 1838. Page images © the University of Glasgow - http://www.glasgow.ac.uk">http://www.glasgow.ac.ukand the University of Edinburgh-http://www.ed.ac.uk">http://www.ed.ac.ukand http://www.edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/">http://www.edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-1756) and Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates of Perth for Western Strathearn (1755-1756). Club: Scottish Record Office Published: Edinburgh, 1973. Details: From the records of the Forfeited Estates preserved in the Scottish Record Office Editor: Edited by Virginia Wills. Contents: Reports by factors, 1755-6, and by Archibald Menzies, the general inspector, 1765-9.