Auchterarder

   AUCHTERARDER, a town, the seat of a presbytery, and a parish, in the county of Perth, 54½ miles (N. W.) from Edinburgh; containing, with the villages of Borland-Park and Smithyhaugh, 3434 inhabitants, of whom 2068 are in the town. This place anciently belonged to the abbey of Inchaffray; and in 1328, the lands were granted, by charter of Robert Bruce, to Sir William Montifix, justiciary of Scotland, whose daughter and heiress conveyed them, by marriage, to Sir John Drummond, with whose descendants they remained till their forfeiture, by the participation of that family in the rebellion of 1715. During that period of distraction, the town was laid waste and burnt by the Pretender's army, under the Earl of Mar, in order to check the progress of the royal forces. For this injury, indemnification was promised to the inhabitants, by proclamation issued from the ancient palace of Scone, in 1716; but the only compensation they received was from the reigning family, to such of them as had not been concerned in the rebellion. The commissioners appointed to take charge of the forfeited estates, made a survey of the barony of Auchterarder, in 1778, by which it appears that the inhabitants were in a very distressed condition, on account of the backward state of agriculture and the want of employment, from which, however, they have been gradually rising; and since the purchase of the estate by Captain Hunter, the place has rapidly improved.
   The town, which, upon disputed authority, is supposed to have been anciently a royal burgh, is situated on the turnpike-road from Glasgow to Perth, and consists chiefly of one street, more than a mile in length, in which are some well-built houses, and numerous others of inferior appearance, occupied by weavers and manufacturers. The inhabitants are amply supplied with pure water, from a copious spring, conveyed by pipes into their houses, mainly through the exertions of Captain Aytoun, in 1832; and a mechanics' institution, in which lectures were delivered during the winter months, formerly existed in the town. The chief trades are, the weaving of cotton for the manufacturers of Glasgow, in which more than 500 looms are in constant operation; and the making of shawls, blankets, and other articles of the woollen manufacture. There are two breweries for ale and beer in operation; and a branch of the Central Bank of Scotland, and a branch of the National Savings' Bank, have been established. The town is also adequately supplied with gas. A market is held on Saturday, and is well supplied with provisions and with grain, for which it is the principal mart of the district; and fairs are held on the last Tuesday in March, for grain; the Thursday after the last Tuesday in May, for cattle; the Fridays before the Falkirk trysts in August, September, and October, for cattle and horses; and the 6th of December, for cattle and general business. The post-office has a tolerable delivery, and facility of communication with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, and Stirling, is maintained by good roads: a survey has been made by subscription, for the construction of a railway from Perth to Stirling, which, if carried into effect, will pass near the town.
   The parish, which includes also the ancient parish of Aberuthven, united to it prior to the Reformation, is bounded on the north by the river Earn, and extends eight miles in length, from north to south, and three miles in breadth, from east to west, comprising 13,747 acres, of which 7176 are arable, about 300 acres woodland and plantations, and the remainder meadow, pasture, and waste. The surface is hilly, and rises from the banks of the Earn to the Ochils, of which the highest, Craig Rossie, 2359 feet above the level of the sea, is within the limits of the parish. The principal rivers are, the Earn, which rises in Loch Earn, and falls into the Tay, and the Ruthven, which, after receiving the waters of several rivulets descending from the Ochils, flows through the parish, and falls into the Earn: in the Earn are found salmon and large white and yellow trout, and in the Ruthven, a small species of trout, remarkable for the delicacy of its flavour. The soil, in the eastern part of the parish, is light and sandy; in the lower lands, a clayey loam; and in the neighbourhood of the town, a rich black loam; the chief crops are, oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, turnips, and peas, with the usual grasses. The system of husbandry has been greatly improved; much waste land has been reclaimed by embankment, from the overflowing of the Earn, and a considerable stimulus is afforded by the premiums awarded at an annual ploughingmatch, by the agricultural society of the parish. Cows of the Ayrshire breed are kept on the dairy-farms; the cattle on the pastures are generally the Teeswater, and on the lower lands, sheep of the Leicestershire breed have been introduced. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8600. The substrata are mostly of the old red sandstone formation, grey slate of good quality for roofing, and limestone, which, from the scarcity of fuel, is not much wrought; a search has been made for coal, but without success. There is little old wood now remaining; the plantations, which are principally of modern date, are chiefly larch and oak. Auchterarder House is a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, recently erected, and situated in grounds that have been greatly improved.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Auchterarder and synod of Perth and Stirling; the minister's stipend is £199. 14. 2., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £17 per annum; patron, the Earl of Kinnoull. The church, rebuilt in 1784, and enlarged in 1811, is a plain structure, situated in the town, and containing 930 sittings. At Aberuthven, is the mausoleum of the Graham family, in which are several coffins containing the remains of departed dukes of Montrose, and in the vault beneath, have been interred many of their ancestors. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and of the Relief and United Secession Synods. The parochial school is well attended; the master has a salary of £34. 4. 4., with a house, and an allowance of £2 in lieu of a garden; the fees average about £40 per annum. There is also a school, for which a building was erected in 1811, by John Sheddan, Esq., who endowed it with £1000, the interest of which is paid to the master, on condition of his teaching twelve children gratuitously. To the north of the town, are the ruins of a building supposed to have been a hunting-seat of Malcolm Canmore; the walls, which are of great thickness, have been nearly demolished for building materials. Eastward of these ruins, are the remains of the ancient church of St. Mungo, formerly the parish church, the cemetery of which is still used as a place of sepulture by the parishioners; and in digging the foundation for the present church, a coin of the Emperor Titus Vespasian was found, in a very perfect state.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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