Perthshire ~ Buildings of Interest


Forteviot “A Pictish and Scottish Royal Centre. The Royal centre of Forteviot in Strathearn, Perthshire is one of the famous early medieval sites in Scotland, traditionally regarded as a Royal capital.” See Forteviot by Nick Aitchison, Tempus Publications Ltd.

Methven and Logielamond Parish Church – Church Road, Methven – Built in 1783 this significant two storey rectangular church was commissioned by Mr Smythe of Methven. It had a tower and steeple as well as another aisle added in the 1830s – architect William Mackenzie of Perth. Of note are the Methven Aisle (15th century building) and the ornate Lynedoch Mausoleum – both located in the graveyard. The Mausoleum was designed in 1792-93 by James Playfair as a dedication to Catherine Graham (wife of Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch).

Dalcrue Farm – By Pitcairgreen – Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch purchased the Lydenoch Estate in 1787. The farmhouse at Dalcrue is in fact designed by an architect (W H Playfair), who also designed the 8o foot span bridge that leads up to the farm. To the north another bridge (The Dry Arch) carries a road up to Graham’s own residence. very little of this property still remains. Of note is the picturesque Italianate design of the farmhouse interior with large eaves overhanging.

St Serf’s Parish Church – Dunning – It is around this ancient ecclesiastical site that Dunning is built. The square 75 foot Romanesque tower of St Serf’s (topped with crowstepped saddleback roof) dates from the 13th Century – the rest of the church dates from 1808 when remodeling took place. Of note is the 13th century date within which stands the Dupplin Cross – magnificent Pictish monument. The village of Dunning itself is worth a visit – begin at the fountain in the Tron Square.

Aberdalgie Church and Oliphant Slab – Aberdalgie – This T shaped church was built in 1773. It was altered in 1929 by Lorimer with the addition of a bellcote and a refit to the interior (Austrian Oak). Of note is the Venetian windows and the funerary monument to William Oliphant (died 1329). This monument was recently conserved and consists of Tournai marble carved in the image of William Oliphant at rest. Originally covering the vault of William Oliphant the Franco-Flemish incised slab was moved in 1780 from the north east corner of the graveyard to avoid further weathering.

Strathallan School – Forgandenny – The school was created in 1919 as a result of the expansion of Harry Riley’s Bridge of Allan School’s need for expansion. It is housed within an original property that itself had been remodeled in the 1820s (Freeland House) under the direction of Edward Blore and William Burn.

Abernethy Round Tower – Abernethy – Only two buildings associated with the Irish Celtic Church survive in Scotland. One of which is the 11th century Abernethy Round Tower. Made of coursed red sandstone the 72 foot tower has wall three and a half feet thick. Its original use was that of a belfry from which monks called the local populace to prayer by the ringing of hand bells. Of note are the spectacular views of the Tay Estuary.

Errol Brickworks – Errol – The last remaining 19th century brickworks in Scotland were founded in 1855. With the brickworks at Pitfour, Errol Brickworks supplied the red brick so common in this area of Perthshire.

Museum of Abernethy – School Wynd, Abernethy – The village of Abernethy is an ancient one with settlement dating back to the Picts. Dedicated to this past the Museum of Abernethy (opened by Magnus Magusson in May 2000) houses a collection of artifacts, photographs and oral histories. The museum itself is in an 18th century building that has been preserved to keep some of its original features. Of note is the 3000 year old thirty foot log boat recently excavated from the Carpow Bank on the Tay Estuary – August 2006.

All Saints Episcopal Church – Glencarse – Consecrated in 1878 this church comprises a half-timbered structure with tiled roof. The impetus for the building came from Reverend Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin and some of the funding came from George, 9th Baron of Kinnaird. The land itself was bequeathed by T W Greig of Glencarse House. Of note are the Stained Glass windows – The Good ShepherdThe Sermon on the Mount – by Meyer of Munich.

Tullibole Castle – Crook of Devon – A fine 16th century tower house, Tullibole Castle sits in ground adjacent to Tullibole Cemetery. The tower was built to be free standing . Of note is the 1608 lower eastern range which houses the kitchen and great hall with a large fireplace supported by a stone lintel in excess of eleven feet.

Balvaird Castle – Crook of Devon, Milnathort – This fully conserved L-shaped 15th century tower house underwent substantial development in the following century. With the addition of decorative fittings, courtyard buildings, a pleasure garden and flushing latrines the house became a courtyard palace. The original owners were the Murrays of Balvaird (later the Earls of Mansfield) prior to their move to Scone in 1658. Of note is the L-shaped tower house with an angled spiral staircase – designed to increase space. Having fallen into disrepair the castle was taken over by the predecessor to Historic Scotland in 1974.

Burleigh Castle – Milnathort – The ancient seat of the Balfours is here at Burleigh castle; a 15th/16th century tower house. The keep and gatehouse are 15th century and possess “angle-turrets, vaulted cellar and turnpike stair rising to the hall and top floors.” “The south west round tower has skew-putts inscribed with I.B./M.B. 1582 and the red rose of the Balfours.”

Kinross House and Gardens – Kinross – Built between 1679 and 1693 by Sir William Bruce, Kinross House was described by Daniel Defoe as “the most beautiful and regular piece of architecture in Scotland.” Of note within the formal garden which stretches down to Loch Leven are the loggia, statues, fountain and the Fish Gate. From the garden Lochleven Castle in which Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned (1567-68) can be seen.

St Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church – Although the church was built in 1874 much of its present decorative state came after as a result of the work of the Montgomery family whose family life is portrayed through memorials, plaques and stained glass windows.

Kinross Parish Church – Kinross – Designed by George Angus of Edinburgh in the perpendicular gothic style the church was constructed in 1832. The turret finials on the tower are replicas of those at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge. Similar churches to this one were designed by George Angus for Kincardine and Kingskettle in Fife. In 1902 a small suite of rooms were added to the building and the clock was installed in 1930. Significant refurbishment of the interior took place in 2005.

Tullibardine Chapel – Tullibardine – This rural parish church was founded by the Earls and Dukes of Atholl as St Mary’s Chapel in the mid-15th century for their own use. It is in good order and much of the original features are intact.

Michael Bruce Museum – The Cobbles, Kinnesswood – The ‘Gentle Poet of Lochleven’, Michael Bruce (1746-67) was born in this weaver’s cottage in March 1746. The museum itself houses exhibits relating to the weaving industry of the past and the writings of Michael Bruce. It is maintained by the Michael Bruce Memorial Trust.

Castle Huntly – Longforgan – Located above the Carse of Gowrie on a steep rocky outcrop this L-shaped tower dates from the 15th century. Over the following two hundred years it was worked on and developed – major changes were made in 1776 by George Paterson such as crenellation, the addition of two Georgian Regency style wings and changes to the roof to include a round tower and capped corner turrets. Of note are the gardens, doocot, ice house, terraced gardens, avenues, statues and spiky North Gates. Today it is a prison.

St Cuthbert’s Old Kirk – Weem – St Cuthbert, the Bishop of Lindisfarne is commemorated in this 17th century church located at the foot of Weem Hill. St. Cuthbert is rumoured to have lived in a nearby cave below Chapel Rock. It was built in 1609 and became a Mausoleum for the Menzies family in 1839. Of note is the carved Menzies Tomb (c1616), colourful funeral shields and ancient stone cross and tombstones.

Castle Menzies – Weem – The old Palace of Weem that was built in 1488 is part of Castle Menzies although much of it was lost by fire as a result of a clan feud in 1502, and rebuilt as a Z-plan tower with numerous turrets. In 1577 carved dormer windows were added. The castle has been occupied by the Duke of Cumberland and also Prince Charles Edward during the Jacobite uprising. In 1839 the west drawing-room wing was designed by William Burn. Since 1957 it has been the property of the Menzies Clan Society.

House of Menzies – Weem – Originally the home farm of Castle Menzies this 1840s farmstead was converted to a wine-tasting centre, art gallery and restaurant.

Fortingall Kirk – Fortingall – This site has been of religious significance for more than a millennium. In the 7th century the first church was established by the ancient yew tree. The long low sandstone Arts and Craft building at Fortingall that stands today was designed by Dunn and Watson in 1902 in a Scots country style. Of note is the barrel-vaulted roof and fragments of four Pictish cross slabs found nearby. The village of Fortingall itself was remodeled by James M McLaren in the early part of the 20th century with thatched roofs, crowsteps, hooded dormer windows, brick chimneys and harled exteriors. Next to Fortingall Kirk is the Molteno Memorial Hall built circa 1936.

Scottish Crannog Centre – Kenmore – Here can be found a reconstruction of a 2500 year old defended homestead – a crannog – based on the underwater excavation of Oakbank Crannog at Loch Tay. It was built by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology in 1997. The centre is a museum that house many artifacts from the dig.

Crieff Parish Church (St. Michael’s) and St. Andrew’s Hall – Strathearn Terrace, Crieff – Built in 1882 this church has several exceptional stained glass windows by Stephen Adam, Alfred Webster, Marjorie Kemp, William Wilson and others. Of note are the font, pulpit, memorial plaques from the former parish church and war memorials. The hall was constructed in 1884 as Crieff North United Presbyterian Church and has since been refurbished for community use. St Andrew’s Hall has stained glass windows by Walter Pritchard and Gordon Webster.

Morrison’s Academy – Hill Street, Crieff – This baronial styled school was built in 1860 by architects Peddie and Kinnear. It was funded by the bequest of Thomas Morrison of Muthill who in 1826 died and left his fortune of £26,000 to found an educational institution in Crieff. Today Morrison’s Academy is a private school. Of note is the grand Baronial Memorial Hall remodelled by Scott Morton and Company in 1920.

Glenalmond College – Glenalmond – The College of the Holy Trinity and Undivided Trinity was founded in 1847 as a college for those training for the ministry of the Scottish Episcopal Church as well as to provide education to the children of that churches faith. The building was designed by John Henderson, who employed a gothic style and modelled the Quadrangle on the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge University. Additions to the college have been designed by Gilbert Scott (Great Hall, 1861), Andrew G Heiton (Gym and Library, 1889-1904) and Basil Spence (Music School, 1960s). Today it is a private school.

Drummond Gardens – Just outside Crieff – Described as one of the finest formal gardens in Europe “Drummond Gardens were first laid out in the early 17th century by John Drummond, the 2nd Earl of Perth. They were enlarged and redesigned in the 19th century. The gardens you see today were replanted after the Second World War, preserving features such as the old yew hedges and the copper beech trees planted by Queen Victoria to commemorate her visit in 1842.” Today the gardens are run as a for profit enterprise. Of note are the beech-lined avenues; the sundial by John Mylne (1630); and the box hedge parterre of the main garden segmented to resemble the cross of St Andrew.

Innerpeffry Library – 5 miles from Crieff off the B8062 – One of the earliest lending libraries in Scotland is located just outside Crieff. It has operated since 1650 although books are no longer available on loan. Nevertheless, the library is well worth a visit. Of note in the collection of 3800 books (many antiquarian) is The History of Scotland by Raphael Holinshed, several books on Marquis of Montrose, the Atlas Novus of 1638, The History of Foure Footed Beasts by Edward Topsell from 1607 as well as the miniature bible that belonged to James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose. The library itself was founded by David Drummond, 3rd Lord Madertie who lived nearby at Innerpeffray Castle – a ruin today. The present library building was erected in 1762 under the guidance of Robert Hay Drummond, Archbishop of York. The library has been described as “a haven of tranquility nestling beside the River Earn.” next to the library is the ancient Collegiate Chapel of St Mary built in 1508 and run by Historic Scotland. Of note are the painted ceiling and the graveyard. The views from the library and chapel are magnificent.The old school house set in the grounds are also worth viewing. The library is open to the public and charges a small fee for visitors.

Tibbermore Church“Tibbermore parish church dates from 1632 when the heritors (the local lairds) substantially rebuilt the structure on the medieval east-west alignment – a church dedicated to St. mary existed during the late middle ages. On ceasing to be the parish church in 1996 it passed into the care of the Tibbermore Charitable Trust. It was acquired by the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust in 2001. In 1789 James Stobie, architect and surveyor, simplified the building slab by removing an aisle at the east end and stretching the church 10 feet eastwards. Big infilled arches marking the position of the demolished aisle were found on the south wall when the war memorial was erected in 1920. Other changes in 1789 included marking south windows symmetrical and a new door and porch on the west gable. new galleries at each end gave extra seating, and the pews were rearranged to face the pulpit, which now occupied the traditional; Scottish presbyterian position between the central windows. The north aisle (1810) transformed the church into a late T-plan, capable of seating 600. It was built privately to accommodate the cloth-printing workers in the Ruthven Printfield Company, which had set up in 1792. Its raked stone flooring and simple wooden pews are distinctive and unusual survivors.In 1874 the present pulpit and the horseshoe seating in a muscular style with recessed Celtic crosses were installed. the seats in the galleries and the aisle were left alone. the stenciled decoration around the pulpit possible dates from this period also, a rare survival in a Scottish county parish church. In addition to the marble First World War I memorial, stained glass designed by Oscar Paterson to commemorate women who served in the war was inserted in the two central windows in 1920. the earliest monument in the church is a large stone tablet set into the aisle wall, erected in 1631 by James Murray of Tibbermore to his family. The church is of red-brown sandstone with fawn dressed stones, and is presently harled. The pitched roofs are slated. Look for the dates 1632 and 1808 on the bellcote, and note the crowstepped gable giving access to it. The session house adjoins the porch and the west gable. The walled churchyard boasts a fine range of tombstones and mural monuments, mainly dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One of the masonry piers of the east gateway in the churchyard bears the date 1731.” – sourced from Scottish Redundant Church Trust leaflet. Tibbermore Church features in the Battle of Tippermuir which took place nearby. Several hundred Covenanters are said to be buried in the graveyard – there is no marking.

Cleaven Dyke – Perthshire – This sacred ritual site belongs to the Neolithic Period and is dated from around 3500 BC. Comprising a bank with ditches 1.5 miles long, the dyke was probably constructed over a period as both a burial site and (more prominently) a ceremonial site. “Cleaven Dyke was thought to be a Roman defensive structure until excavation revealed that it was in fact a Neolithic Cursus (a ceremonial earthwork), which must have been one of the largest – and most labour intensive – monuments in Scotland at the time of its completion. The dyke runs for one and a half miles through an area that is now planted by coniferous forestry, and is around two metres high and ten metres wide in the best-preserved sections. The dyke also incorporates a central mound. The purpose of cursuses is open to debate, but they can be seen as ritual monuments – perhaps processional route ways – with deep significance to their builders. There have been several outlandish theories put forward over the years – one antiquarian thought that they were race courses, and during the UFO fervour in the 50’s and 60’s it was proposed that they were landing strips for alien craft, which is to denude the achievements of our ancestors. Cursuses are more associated with Southern England than with Scotland on the whole, but it now seems that may have been more widely dispersed than was thought before. Cleaven Dyke dates back to at least 3500 BC, these structures must have been a huge undertaking and may date through several generations, the tradition continuing over the years. This does say something for the strength of the beliefs held by these early farmers. Map ref: NO 155 409 Directions: The dyke cuts across the A93 between Perth and Blairgowrie.”

St Matthew’s Church – Tay Street – This Tay Street was finished in 1871. It is in the Gothic style and was designed by John Honeyman. Of note is the 212 foot steeple. The congregation of the church came from an amalgamation in 1964 of four Perth city centre churches. The stained glass windows of the Wilson United Presbyterian church (demolished) and the Middle Free Church (converted) are now housed at St Matthews.

Perth Congregational Church – Mill Street – A Congregational church has existed in Perth since 1794. The present building of red sandstone dates from 1899. The exterior and interior (pine) was designed and realised by Messrs Steele and Balfour of Glasgow. Of note is the concentric seating arrangement (700) which allows view of the speaker from every part of the seating area.

Blair Adam House – Blair Adam – This is the house of the Adam family of architects. It was constructed by William Adam in the 1730s, but was extended by later generations. As such it now is a bit uncoordinated and a collection of buildings around a central courtyard. In 1859 a dining room with large cast iron fire place, an entrance hall and a principal room (the Corridor) was added by David Bryce during renovation works.

Stanley Parish Church – King Street, Stanley – Stanley itself is a designed mill village and this Gothic Church with a three staged tower is part of that project. It was built in 1828 by the mill-owners Denniston and Buchan at a cost of £4000. Of note is the clock (made at the 1851 Great Exhibition by Richard Roberts of Manchester) added to the church in 1860.

Stanley Mills – Bell Mill; East Mill and Mid Mill – Stanley (7 miles north of Perth) – Situated on a bend in the Tay mills have operated at Stanley from about 1729. To harness the water-power and drive a corn mill, a tunnel was created through the peninsula. In 1965 the mills were connected to the National Grid. Bell Mill (1787) was based on a design by Richard Arkwright (Richard Arkwright the youngest of thirteen children was born in Preston in 1732. Richard’s parents were very poor and could not afford to send him to school and instead arranged for him to be taught to read and write by his cousin Ellen. Richard became a barber’s apprentice. However, he was an ambitious young man and had a strong desire to run his own company. In 1762 Arkwright started a wig-making business. This involved him travelling the country collecting people’s discarded hair. While on his travels, Arkwright heard about the attempts being made to produce new machines for the textile industry. Arkwright also met John Kay, a clockmaker from Warrington, who had been busy for some time trying to produce a new spinning-machine with another man, Thomas Highs of Leigh. Kay and Highs had run out of money and had been forced to abandon the project. Arkwright was impressed by Kay and offered to employ him to make this new machine. Arkwright also recruited other local craftsman to help, and it was not long before the team produced the Spinning-Frame. Arkwright’s machine involved three sets of paired rollers that turned at different speeds. While these rollers produced yarn of the correct thickness, a set of spindles twisted the fibres firmly together. The machine was able to produce a thread that was far stronger than that made by the Spinning-Jenny produced by James Hargreaves. In 1769 Arkwright went to Ichabod Wright, a banker from Nottingham, in search of funds to expand his business. Wright introduced Arkwright to Jedediah Strutt and Samuel Need. Strutt and Need were impressed with Arkwright’s water-frame and agreed to form a partnership. Arkwright’s Spinning-Frame was too large to be operated by hand and so the men had to find another method of working the machine. After experimenting with horses, it was decided to employ the power of the water-wheel. In 1771 the three men set up a large factory next to the River Derwent in Cromford, Derbyshire. Arkwright’s machine now became known as the Water-Frame. The invention of the Spinning Jenny and the Spinning Frame caused an increase in demand for cardings and rovings. Lewis Paul had invented a machine for carding in 1748. Richard Arkwright made improvements in this machine and in 1775 took out a patent for a new Carding Engine. In Cromford there were not enough local people to supply Arkwright with the workers he needed. After building a large number of cottages close to the factory, he imported workers from all over Derbyshire. Arkwright preferred weavers with large families. While the women and children worked in his spinning-factory, the weavers worked at home turning the yarn into cloth. When Samuel Need died on 14th April, 1781, Arkwright and Jedediah Strutt decided to dissolve their partnership. Strutt was disturbed by Arkwright’s plans to build mills in Manchester, Winkworth, Matlock Bath and Bakewell. Strutt believed that Arkwright was expanding too fast and without the support of Need, his long-time partner, he was unwilling to take the risk of further investments. Arkwright’s textile factories were very profitable. He now built factories in Lancashire, Staffordshire and Scotland. In these factories he used the new steam-engine that had recently been developed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton. When businessmen heard about Arkwright’s success, they sent spies to find out what was going on in his factories. In exchange for money, some of Arkwright’s employees were willing to explain how the factory was organised. Businessmen then used this information to build their own water-powered textile factories. Richard Arkwright’s employees worked from six in the morning to seven at night. Although some of the factory owners employed children as young as five, Arkwright’s policy was to wait until they reached the age of six. Two-thirds of Arkwright’s 1,900 workers were children. Like most factory owners, Arkwright was unwilling to employ people over the age of forty. Richard Arkwright died in 1792. The Gentleman’s Magazine claimed that on his death, Arkwright was worth over £500,000). It is considered the “finest, most complete surviving example of an 18th-century water-powered spinning mill in Scotland.” East Mill which is six-storey and Mid Mill which is four-storey were built circa 1800. The mills at Stanley were formally closed in 1989. The Hydro Electric plant at Stanley Mills was built in 1921 and produced electricity until the 1970s. Since 2004 the scheme is in use again and converts the energy of the Tay into electricity once more – around 840kW maximum. Of note is the listed powerhouse and the 250m long water supply tunnel.

Stanley House and Inchbervis Castle – Stanley – Originally a laird’s mansion built in the 17th century, Stanley House was altered during the Georgian and Victorian periods. It no longer exists in complete form. Of note are the surviving washhouse and icehouse. Nearby is the ruin of the 16th century Inchbervis tower house.

Murthly Castle – Murthly – Now a private home, Murthly Castle has features that date back to 1450 and as near as 1893. Of note is the walled garden.

Dunsinnan Hillfort – Collace, Perthshire – Associated with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Of note are the prehistoric rock art and the 18th/19th century excavations. From the hill fort spectacular views over Strathmore can be taken.

Pole Hill – Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire – A prehistoric hillfort and a nearby 16th century tower house (now ruined).

Stone Circles of Strathmore – Guildtown, Perthshire.

Castlelaw Hillfort – Abernethy, Perthshire – Stands on a rocky promontory above Abernethy.

Dundurn Hillfort – St Fillans – An iron age fort that occupies a craggy knoll dominating Strathearn. This Pictish stronghold was excavated in the 1970s.

Killin Stone Axe Factory – Creag an Caillich – the only known production site for Neolithic stone axes in Scotland.

Comrie – Perthshire – Known as shaky town this small settlement is located on the Highland Boundary Fault. In the town can be found the Earthquake House and a property by Rennie MacIntosh.

Bunrannoch – Kinloch Rannoch – a deserted medieval village rumoured to have been burned and deserted after the 1745 rebellion.

Dundee Road Tollhouse – Perth – Some recent restoration work undertaken.

Tom Orain – Singing Knoll in Glen Quaich – Iron age homestead.

Pitnacree and Balnaguard – Neolithic Long Barrows.

Croft Moraig – Stone Circle.

Appin of Dull – Major concentration of prehistoric burial and funerary monuments.

Carse Farm – Balhomain – Standing Stones and a series of Barrow Cemeteries.

Upper Strathtay – Concentration of Cup-marked Stones