Kenmore


Kenmore
   KENMORE, a parish, in the county of Perth; containing, with the villages of Acharn, Blairmore, Bridgend, and Stronfernan, 2539 inhabitants, of whom 106 are in the village of Kenmore, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from Aberfeldy. This place derives its name, in the Gaelic language signifying "a great headland," from the situation of its church on a headland forming the south bank of the river Tay, near its source, and stretching far into the lake of that name. The parish comprises an area of nearly sixty-two square miles, of extremely irregular form, and in several parts separated into detached portions by the intervening lands of other parishes; it is bounded on the north and south by the hills that rise from the shores of Loch Tay, and comprises about 40,000 acres of land, of which 5400 are arable, 8600 meadow and pasture, 5000 woods and plantations, and the remainder moorland and waste. The surface, with the exception of that part of it covered with the water of the several lakes situated in the parish, is mountainous and hilly, with small portions of level ground, the chief of these being a part of the valley of the Tay, a fine open plain about a mile in width, through which that river flows with a full and rapid stream. Loch Tay, a magnificent expanse of water, nearly sixteen miles in length, and averaging about a mile in breadth, is of a serpentine form, extending from the north-east to the south-west, and is in many parts not less than 600 feet in depth. From the margin of the lake, on both sides, the surface rises gradually to a great height, forming two almost parallel ranges of mountains, of which Ben-Lawers, the highest, has an elevation of more than 4000 feet above the level of the sea. The lower acclivities of these mountains are in some parts in a high state of cultivation, and in others afford luxuriant pasture, interspersed with woods of ancient growth, and plantations of recent formation, giving to the scenery of the lake a rich variety, which renders it pre-eminent in beauty. The lake, at its southwestern extremity, receives the waters of the rivers Dochart and Lochay, and on both sides is fed by numerous torrents, which descend from the mountains, and in their progress form picturesque cascades. Loch Fraochy, of which part is within the limits of the parish, is a fine sheet of water, about two miles and a half in length and nearly one mile in average breadth; it is situated in Glenquaich, a sequestered dell to which the Quaich, a mountain torrent in this parish, gives its name. The scenery in this part is, however, destitute of beauty, the dell possessing no features of interest, and the shores of the lake being little more than a dead swamp. The river Tay issues from the north-eastern extremity of the loch of that name, and, flowing through the parks of Taymouth, the vale of Tay, part of Strathmore, and along the Carse of Gowrie, falls into the North Sea below Dundee. Of the numerous cascades formed by the various mountain streams, the principal is the fall of Acharn, or the Hermitage, about two miles from the village of Kenmore, and which is strikingly grand. Salmon are found in Loch Tay, and for a short distance up the Dochart and Lochay; and pike, perch, eels, char, and trout are abundant in both the lakes: the trout in Loch Fraochy, though small, are of excellent quality, and in great request.
   The soil in general is a light brown loam, with a mixture of clay, and in the hills a light moss; the crops are, oats, bear, potatoes, and turnips. The system of agriculture is improving, and considerable progress has been made in draining and inclosing the lands; some of the farmhouses and offices are inferior to others in the country, but those of more recent erection are of very superior character. Considerable attention is paid to the breeding of cattle, which are chiefly of the West Highland kind, with a mixture of the Ayrshire; the average number reared in the parish every year is more than 3000. The sheep, for which the hills afford excellent pasturage, are mostly the black-faced, and about 1200 are generally reared annually: on the lands of Taymouth are some of the Leicestershire and South-Down breeds. Horses, chiefly for agricultural purposes, are bred by the farmers, but not in very great numbers, the average scarcely exceeding 500: about the same number of pigs are also bred. The woods of natural growth, for which the soil is well adapted, are oak, birch, common and mountain ash, alder, hazel, cherry, hawthorn, and holly. The plantations are larch and Scotch fir, interspersed with numerous fine specimens of beech, elm, sycamore, lime, and chesnut, and with various other ornamental trees of luxuriant growth, among which are some remarkable cedars, abundance of common and Portugal laurels, cypress, yew, pines, and laburnums. The substrata are chiefly mica and clayslate, of which the rocks are mostly composed, hornblende, primitive limestone, and talc-slate. The limestone, and other stone of peculiarly fine quality, and well adapted for building, are extensively quarried; and a stone of harder grain is obtained from the quarry near Kenmore, and is susceptible of a very high polish. Quartz is also found in large masses in several places, and is wrought for building and other purposes; it is of remarkably white colour, and has been used in the construction of the dairy in Taymouth Park. The rateable annual value of Kenmore is £8266.
   The whole of the parish, with the exception of part of Glenquaich, the property of the Misses Campbell, of Shian, belongs to the Marquess of Breadalbane, who has greatly contributed to the improvement of the soil and the embellishment of the district, by the liberal encouragement he has given to his tenantry in draining the lands, and extending the plantations. Under his lordship's patronage, also, the Breadalbane Agricultural Society has effected considerable benefit, by the distribution of premiums annually. Taymouth Castle, the seat of the marquess, and formerly the Castle of Balloch, of which some remains are incorporated with the present mansion, is a spacious and elegant edifice, beautifully situated on the southern bank of the Tay, and embosomed in woods of almost interminable extent. It is a quadrangular building, with a lofty square tower in the centre of the principal range, rising to a considerable height above the roof of the mansion, and containing a magnificent staircase, which leads to the principal apartments, and is lighted from the roof of the tower, and by windows in the walls, of elegant design, and embellished with stained glass. The great hall, the dining-room, and drawing-room, are noble apartments, splendidly fitted up; and the library, which is in a part of the old castle, is an extensive and valuable collection. The mansion contains also a gallery of paintings by the first masters of the Flemish and Italian schools. The grounds are laid out with exquisite taste; and the scenery of the spacious demesne is richly diversified with wood and water, and with every variety of hill and dale in striking combination, the castle forming an object of imposing grandeur in every point of view from which it can be seen. Taymouth Castle was visited by Her Majesty during her tour in Scotland, in September 1842. She arrived here on the afternoon of the 7th of that month; and in the evening a singularly magnificent scene presented itself, from the simultaneous kindling of numerous bonfires in the neighbourhood, and the variety of the illuminations on the demesne. On the evening of the 9th, a grand ball was given; and on the following morning Her Majesty took her departure for the town of Crieff, amid the cheers of the assembled people. Shian, the residence of the Misses Campbell, stands on the north bank of the Quaich, about a mile from its influx into Loch Fraochy, and in the glen to which that stream gives name. The village of Kenmore is pleasantly situated, and the houses neatly built: a post-office has been established, which has a daily delivery of letters from Dunkeld; and a small library has been opened, promising, in due time, to be well supported. The nearest market-town is Crieff, distant as many as twenty-two miles; but facility of intercourse with the neighbouring district is maintained by good roads, which branch off from the village in various directions. In the immediate vicinity of the village is a small establishment for the dyeing, spinning, and weaving of wool, which affords employment to twelve or fourteen persons. There was once also a distillery in the parish, in which 7000 gallons of whisky were annually manufactured. Fairs are held on the first Tuesday in March, O. S., for horses and general merchandise; 28th of June, for wares of all kinds; 26th of July, for horses and wool; the 17th September, for cattle and agricultural produce; the Friday in November before the festival of St. Donat; and the 22nd of December.
   The parish is in the presbytery of Weem and synod of Perth and Stirling, and patronage of the Marquess of Breadalbane; the minister's stipend is £253. 14. 9., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum. The church, erected in 1761-2, is a spacious cruciform structure, with a tower at the west end, and is beautifully situated, but at an inconvenient distance from many parts of this very extensive parish; it is adapted for a congregation of 636 persons. There are two chapels of ease, one at Ardeonaig, and the other at Lawers, both erected by the Marquess of Breadalbane, at his own expense, for the accommodation of the more distant parishioners; they are under the patronage of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, by whom, conjointly with the Marquess, the salaries of the ministers are paid. That of the minister of Ardeonaig is £60 per annum, with seventeen and a half acres of glebe land, and a comfortable residence built by the Marquess; the minister of Lawers has £50, with a dwellinghouse, and six and a quarter acres of glebe. There is also a place of worship for members of the Free Church; and at Lawers is one for a small congregation of Baptists. The parochial school affords a useful education to the children of the parish; the master has a salary of £34, with £20 fees, and a house and garden. There are three schools endowed by the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, situated respectively at Moreinsh, Ardtallanaig, and Shian; the masters have each a salary of £15, paid by the society, with a house and garden given by the Marquess of Breadalbane, in addition to the fees. A school is also carried on at Kiltrie, the teacher of which is paid £10 per annum by the Marchioness. The poor have the interest of charitable bequests, producing £56 annually; and the Breadalbane family, by private hospitality, provide for the wants of their poorer tenantry by various distributions of provisions and clothing, and by other donations. On an island in Loch Tay, near the source of the river, and separated from the main land only by a narrow creek, are the ruins of a priory founded by Alexander I., as a cell to the monastery of Scone: the remains are, however, scarcely perceptible among the wood by which they are overgrown. Sibilla, daughter of Henry I. of England, and consort of the founder, was interred in the chapel of this priory. Coins of the reigns of Edward I. of England, and Alexander III. of Scotland, have been found in a field near Loch Fraochy; they are of silver, in good preservation, and some of them are in the possession of the Marquess of Breadalbane. In making a road from Taymouth to Glenquaich, in 1775, were found some Roman coins of the Antonines, imbedded in a substance resembling charcoal; they were also of silver, with the legends in a perfect state.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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