Sections


Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
The '45
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Thomas Pennant (1769)
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Comrie (1895)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
Ghoulie Tales
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Fencibles
Deacon Reid
Amazing Grace
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Another Debate
Bosom Pals
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
Temperance
The Convert
The Debate
The Schism
The Levitation
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window

18th & 19th Century

A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown - 1823

Drummond Castle, for many generations the favourite abode of the noble family of Perth, now that of Lord and Lady Gwydyr. Rob Roy, on a certain occasion, made the towers and battlements ring with a wild Pibroch of “Cockadh na snign,” or “war or peace.” He had come for redress for an alleged wrong on the part of one of his clan. He stayed for breakfast with the Earl.

At the termination of the ‘45, in which, James the late Duke of Perth acted a conspicuous part, the government erected here, (the spot now covered by a lake) a kind of fortified village, which was occupied for some time after by the Royal troops, as an army of observation. No vestige now remains of this encampment. Bennybeg and Bogton Bog.

The bridge at Crieff was built out of the vacant stipend of the Parish in the interval between the suppression of Episcopacy in 1690 and the readmission of a presbyterian minister in 1699.

Crieff’s James Square was known as King’ Square and the inn Drummond of Perth’s Arms Inn, Tavern and Hotel (Mr. Robertson).

Burrel Place is so-called in compliment to Lord Gwydyr. Population of Crieff in 1823 was upwards of 4000 but there was only one church of the establishment. Proposed to build another.

Monzievaird. “The schoolmaster’s rural cottage, with its class-rooms, gardens, etc, adjoining display so much correct tastes in the choice of situation as well as erection, and evince such attention to cleanliness and cultivation on the part of the tenant, as is very creditable to himself and patrons.”

BURN-HOUSE-- (Malcolm McGregor) “where, if needed, refreshments may always be had.”

Tomachastall (or Chaisteal) castle was residence to the Earls of Strathearn, the last of whom was an Englishman, who married the heiress of the earldom; but having supported the claim of Baliol, and the Bruce having in the end turned out victorious, the earldom was forfeited to the crown.

Lawers.

The House of Lawers has lately undergone an external change the most complete. So many new wings, turrets, columns, and other architectural ornaments, have been added, that it is assumed quite a modern appearance; and indeed, except the centre part of the old building, which has been allowed to remain, but is almost concealed, it is in effect, and to every purpose, an entire new mansion. Several of the old laurel hedges, which in size and shape, resembled many rows of houses, and which were esteemed unequalled, in this part of the country, for beauty and richness of foliage, have also been rooted out. Perhaps the actual improvements made, or in contemplation, rendered such a sweeping clearance absolutely necessary; yet a painful feeling of regret arises in the mind, upon a recollection of the former simple, yet fascinating scene, that no other mode could be devised to produce the present happy effect, save the utter destruction of these living, fragrant ornaments of ancient days. With respect to the house itself, as it appeared a few years ago, it was certainly unworthy of the beautiful situation it occupied, or the estate of which it formed a part. It is now rendered a fit residence for the spirited British senator who makes it his occasional country residence, Lord Balgray.

Tomperran was for many years the residence of the land-stewards or factors of Lawers, who wielded a rod of terror (and at times of actual castigation) over the juvenile wild-fruit depredators of the adjoining village, and rigorously exacted the stipulated rent, kain, and harvest-service of the elder vassals. It has of late been let in short leases to gentlemen-farmers.

COMRIE is a considerable village, but comparatively of recent erection, very tastefully situate on the north bank of the Earn. It consists of one fine street, built, for the most part, on both sides, and is about two-thirds of a mile in length.

The water of Lednick. Substantial stone bridge built twenty-four years ago (1799). Immediately on passing this bridge, the Woollen Manufactory and Distillery on the right, give an air of business and activity to this part of the town. The Parish Church terminates a straight, broad, well-built street called Lednick Street, of about a furlong in length. At this date (1823) the steeple lacked a clock and according to the writer, “this must reflect not a little upon the languishing public spirit of the wealthy proprietors and heritors of the parish.” The want of a clock in its steeple, is the only DULL thing about Comrie.

The bell of the church is “of a loud tone and singularly melodious.”

In the immediate vicinity of the Church, is a row of handsome houses, called CHURCH STREET, commencing with the Post-office (Mr. McFarlane) and continued westwards, terminating with the NEW INN (Mr. J.Comrie). There is on the west side of the square adjoining, named Melville Square, of which the office already mentioned forms a part, a decent and commodious business-hall and ball-room, lately built by Mr. Peter Stewart, and connected with his inn-establishment on the north side.

There is no receiving or public reading-room but several of the inn-keepers and others, regularly receive some metropolitan and provincial newspapers which strangers are very frankly accommodated with, by expressing a wish to that effect.

A Subscription library was instituted here a few years ago, and is under a few plain and beneficial regulations. It owes its origin and present prosperous state, chiefly to the zeal and mutual cooperation of the established and secession clergymen of the parish. The selection of books, moral and religious, is tasteful and judicious, though, perhaps, rather restricted as to variety. An establishment of this kind is deserving of more patronage and active encouragement, on the part of other wealthy members of the community, than has been extended to it.

THE PAROCHIAL SCHOOL of Comrie (Mr.Drummond) has always been numerously attended, and deservedly acquired and long maintained an excellent reputation. In this respectable seminary, are taught the English, Gaelic, Latin, Greek, and French languages, with other useful and ornamental branches of education. The population of the village and district, having of late increased so rapidly, a separate or private school has been opened in the village and has hitherto merited and met with considerable success and encouragement.

Comrie is the seat of a savings-bank, and a branch of the Perthshire Bible Society; and both have contributed not a little, the latter especially, to promote the benevolent and disinterested purposes of the national establishments.

COTTON WEAVING is the only staple trade carried on in Comrie; and those who follow it, form no small part of the population of the place. Many years ago, they formed themselves into an incorporation, or benefit society, and paraded publicly to bands of music, upon occasion of a fair held about the middle of the summer.

A union or lodge of free-masons, consisting of some hundreds has as yet no foundation stone. Dalginross Bridge was built in 1770. Consists of six large and two small arches but is so narrow that two empty carts or other horse vehicles cannot pass each other upon it without difficulty or danger. The turn-pike road to Stirling runs directly south for 1/2 mile through the village, hamlets and beautiful plain of Dalginross.

The late Rev. Mr. McDiarmid of Comrie in Sketches in MS. writes “An old translator of Rapin’s History of England says in his notes that the battle (Mons Graupius) was fought within a mile of the church of Comrie. Mr. Alexander Gordon in 1726 attempted to prove this.”

A few hundred yards east of the camps, surrounded by clumps of trees, and adjoining the high-road, a single stone monument of large size, and nearly erect, marking the spot where, according to the tradition of the place, some illustrious individual, Roman or Caledonian fell and lies interred.

N.B. “Single stone.” Might it be that the others were dragged here during the later land improvements?

COMRIE HOUSE, long time the domicile of a branch of the ancient House of Drummond.

“Hail, Comrie woods! to fancy ever dear;

Hail scenes that start fond recollection’s tear!

Welcome again your soft imposing gloom,

Your wild-wood dells, and lawns of verdant bloom!

Oft have I sat in your impervious shade,

By hazels, oaks, and weeping branches made:

Oft, well pleased, wander’d o’er your daisied green

Where brownies, elves, and fairies oft are seen,

Frisking their gambols, in aerial mood,

In mystic dances through the shady wood:

The bold, projecting, rugged cliffs ascend,

Whose shaggy sides the living rocks defend.”

Lines written by “a young friend, a native of the district.”

The celebrated cascade in the vicinity of Dunmore, or the “Hummel Bummel”, as some term it. There was apparently a scheme approved by the proprietors on either side to erect a bridge above or below the Cauldron, expected to be complete in the summer of 1823.

Among the wonderful “iuskals” or tales, which are told concerning this famous spot is the following:

The Deil’s Cauldron, or Slocha’n Donish (Daona Shigh means “men of peace” or fairies) was the favourite haunt of a different species of spirits from fairies. These were named, “Urischidh”, importing a Brownie, Elf, Will o’ the Wisp or Jack wi’ the Lantern. He was of a mischievous nature and made prey on whatever creature, animal or human who came his way. When he had caught his prey he would cry in a voice of thunder to his kindred spirit who dwelt at the upper end of the glen at Spout Rolla, “Urischidh ess Rolleigh, euir Ghaighidh mo choira, ‘gus am bruich mi an scollar so h’aair mi” meaning “Spirit of Rolla, send home my caldron, that I may dress this prey I have taken” when, accordingly the unlucky captive’s fate was soon decided in some mysterious way. A young assistant sprite, having wandered far from home, the weather being cold, entered a house he came to. The old woman, the only inmate, instantly recognised him for what he was and to be rid of him sit by the fire. Which done, the crafty old woman in pretext of stoking the fire through the cinders over his naked legs and he was so dreadfully burned that he ran off howling and moaning so piteously that the rocks echoed. Since which time they have not been seen or heard of.

Melville Monument--solid obelisk, 72 feet high, cost upwards of £1400.

Aberuchill Castle--built 1602

James Drummond built a wing with its main front towards the east, or principal approach. Trees at Aberuchill of stupendous girth and height as to demonstrate their age as at least coeval with the castle. Note that at Rossie, Monzie, Drummond Castle, Lawers, Edinample, etc., there is timber of equal and of even greater age and magnitude than that of Aberuchill. If we make allowance for the growth of fifty years, surely the illiberal strictures of Dr. Johnson, “founded in ignorance, dictated by prejudice, and written with gall”, must surprise the English tourist to report differently.

Tullybannocher possessed by Mr. Miller

Dalchonzie Bridge.

1823. New Bridge, which in its present state, is just sufficiently broad for one sober pedestrian at a time, and before night!

Dunira House built by Lord Melville about 1790. (Where is the beautiful casket (jewel) belonging to Tippoo Sahib and taken as the spoils of war by Sir David Baird at the taking of Seringapatam and given by him to Lord Melville. The fittings are of gold?)

At Woodend or House of Heath about 1800 were dug up a number of human skeletons by men making alterations to the road. In 1589, John Drummond of Drummondearnoch was murdered by the McGregors in Glenartney. Later Major James Stewart of Ardvorlich surprised twelve of the Gregorich and carried them east to Meovie, once a small village near to where the skeletons were found, now in ruins, and hanged them upon an oak near the road. Metal buttons and rags of cloth, with the thigh and leg bones lying across and above one another were found in the pit, as if the bodies had been thrown in without order or respect:- which circumstances it is highly probable that these were the remains of the gibbeted McGregors.

Easter Dundurn--Mr. Duncan McIntyre known throughout the Highlands as “Benmore” which honorary epithets are associated with the ideas of an extensive, skilful, and liberal-minded Highland Drover. He had farmed “Benmore” in Breadalbane for many years and was known to the English border.

Wester Dundurn--Mr. Donald McIntyre

WESTER and EASTER DUNDURN were in the estate of Perth.

Little Port--For some generations in the family of Mr. Thomas McWhannel, called everywhere in these parts as Baron McWhannel.

A few yards east from the gate leading to the Baron’s house there is an opening, beneath the footpath, to an ancient tomb, of considerable depth, discovered about 1810. It contained, in addition to the usual remains of burnt bones, etc., a curiously formed pike or spear, in excellent preservation, and is supposed to have belonged to some warrior of the time of Wallace and Bruce. The iron only remained but that it was in its original beautiful polish. Relic in possession of gentleman antiquarian in Edinburgh.

St.Fillans--a neatly-planned and well-built village. Only a few years ago a few wretched hovels. Portmore.

Lime kiln under the superintendence of Mr. John Wilson. Lime quarry belonging to Lord Breadalbane under lease to John McRorie and Co. They give daily employment to the company of a large boat, built for the carrying of the stones to the east end of the loch from which station those who need them must drive them on carts at times to the distance of twenty miles, since the scheme of cutting a canal through the strath was given up.