Kinfauns


Kinfauns
   KINFAUNS, a parish, in the county of Perth, 1½ mile (E. by S.) from Perth; containing 720 inhabitants. This place, of which the name, in the Celtic language, is descriptive of its situation at the head of a narrow valley inclosed with hills, and opening into the Carse of Gowrie, was anciently the seat of the Charteris family, of whom Thomas Charteris de Longueville, a native of France, having killed a nobleman of the court of Philip le Bel in a duel, was compelled to make his escape, and for some time subsisted by piracy on the open seas. Charteris, called, from the colour of his flag, the Red Reaver, was encountered and taken prisoner by Sir William Wallace, on that hero's route to France, where, making intercession with the French monarch, Sir William obtained for his captive a full pardon and the honour of knighthood. Sir Thomas Charteris now became the zealous friend and adherent of Wallace, whom he accompanied to Scotland; and on Wallace being betrayed into the hands of Edward, King of England, he retired to Lochmaben till Bruce asserted his claim to the crown. He was a companion of Bruce at the taking of Perth, in 1313, and, in reward of his services, obtained a grant of the lands of Kinfauns, which remained for many years in the possession of his descendants. The lands passed afterwards to the Carnegies, a branch of the Northesk family, and subsequently to the Blairs, whose sole heiress conveyed them by marriage to John Lord Gray, grandfather of the present Lord Gray, of Kinfauns Castle.
   The parish, which forms the western portion of the Carse of Gowrie, is bounded on the south by the river Tay; it is about five miles in length and one mile and a half in average breadth, comprising an area of 4800 acres, of which 2380 are arable, 240 meadow and pasture, and the remainder woodland and plantations. The surface, towards the river, is level, and thence rises, by a gradual and easy ascent, to the base of a ridge of hills which traverses the parish in a line from east to west. Of these hills the highest is the hill of Kinnoull, which is but partly in this parish, and has an elevation of 632 feet above the level of the Tay, presenting to the south an abruptly-precipitous mass of rock, covered for nearly three-fourths of its height with trees, and thence bare to its summit. On the east of this hill, the ground has a gentle declivity; and in a level spot here, at a considerable height above the Tay, is the castle of Kinfauns. Still farther east, the ground again rises abruptly, forming the western acclivity of the hill of Binn, or the Tower Hill, so called from a tower on its summit, built within the last forty years by the late Lord Gray, for an observatory. To the east of this hill the land slopes gradually till it subsides into a deep ravine, on the opposite side of which is another hill, and, farther off, a fourth, the latter commanding from its summit a varied and extensive view of the whole carse, the tower of Dundee, Broughty Castle, and of the course of the Tay from a mile below Perth to its influx into the German Ocean: to the south is a fine view over the vale of Strathearn. Beyond these hills, which are mostly wooded to their summit, rise various others towards the north, in gentle undulations, and gradually subsiding in the vale of Strathmore, of which they form the southern boundary. The Tay, which bounds the parish for more than three miles, is the only river of importance; but three small streamlets, rising among the hills, intersect the parish from north to south. The Tay abounds with salmon and different kinds of trout; pike are numerous, and sturgeon are found occasionally.
   The soil is various; near the Tay, a rich loamy clay producing excellent crops of wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips, with the usual grasses; and for a considerable height on the acclivities of the hills, a light, but deep and fertile, black mould. The system of agriculture is improved; the farms vary from 125 to 300 acres in extent; the farm-buildings are substantial and well arranged, and most of them of modern erection. The lands have been well drained, chiefly with tiles, for the making of which good clay is found; and on the estate of Kinfauns, an embankment has been formed, connecting an island in the river with the main land. The cattle are of a mixed breed, with the exception of cows for the dairy, which are generally the Ayrshire. Sheep are kept only upon one farm; they are of the pure Leicestershire breed, and not more than 300 in number. The plantations are, oak, ash, elm, beech, and Scotch fir, with larch and spruce intermixed; birch and mountain-ash are scarce. In the grounds of the mansions, sycamore, lime, poplar, Spanish and horse chesnut, and silver fir attain a luxuriant growth. The substratum is principally whinstone, of which the hills are all composed; and there are several quarries in operation, producing excellent materials for the roads. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8882.
   Kinfauns Castle, seated on an eminence overlooking the Tay, is of modern character, erected between 1819 and 1826, after a design by Smirke: here is preserved the two-handed sword of Sir Thomas Charteris, besides a variety of pictures and a superb library. Seggieden House is finely situated near the margin of the river. Glendoick House is a good mansion, built by Robert Craigie, lord president of the court of session, and grandfather of the present proprietor; and Glencarse House is also a handsome modern mansion. There are no villages, and the largest hamlet contains only twelve families: the turnpike-road from Perth to Dundee passes through the parish. It was proposed to form a railway through this place from Dundee, by Perth, to Crieff, and the ground was surveyed for that purpose; but the proposal has not been carried into effect. The Tay is navigable to Perth for vessels of 200 tons. The salmon-fisheries in the parish produce a rental of £3366, of which about £2200 belong to Lord Gray, £766 to the city of Perth, and £400 to Mr. Hay, of Seggieden; the number of men employed is 104. There is a branch post-office in the parish; steam-boats ply daily in the river between Perth and Dundee; and there are piers at this place for the landing of passengers and goods, at which, also, potatoes and grain are shipped, chiefly for London. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling. The minister's stipend is £242. 11.6., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £20 per annum; patron, the Crown. The church, which is well situated, has been built at various times; the nave is very ancient, and the aisles of comparatively modern date. It is in substantial repair, and contains 416 sittings, the whole of which are free. A parochial library was established in 1826, by donations of books from the heritors, and is supported by small quarterly subscriptions. The parochial school is attended by about seventy children; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average £13 per annum. There is another school in the parish, attended principally by children from Kinnoull and Kilspindie, supported chiefly by the fees. On the side of the hill of Kinnoull is a cave called the Dragon Hole, the hidingplace of Sir William Wallace; and on the lands of Glendoick is an old house in which Prince Charles Edward passed a night after his defeat at Culloden.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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