- MARTIN'S, ST., a parish, in the county of Perth, 5 miles (N. N. E.) from Perth; containing, with the villages of Caroline-Place and Guildtown, and the hamlet of Cairnbeddie, 1071 inhabitants, of whom 750 are in the rural districts. This place comprises the ancient parishes of St. Martin and Cambus-Michael, which were united soon after the time of the Reformation; and is celebrated as having been the residence of the usurper Macbeth, of whose castle of Cairnbeddie there are still some vestiges remaining. The site of this stronghold was a circular mound nearly in the centre of the parish, about eighty yards in diameter, and surrounded by a moat thirty feet wide; and on levelling the surface during the process of agricultural improvements, within the last thirty years, great numbers of horse-shoes of small size, and fragments of swords and other arms, were discovered. Not thinking himself, however, sufficiently secure in the castle of Cairnbeddie against the insurrections of that troublesome period, Macbeth afterwards removed his residence to the castle of Dunsinnan Hill, in the adjoining parish of Collace, in which he fortified himself against the assaults of Malcolm III., but was at length killed, after the battle of Dunsinnan, in 1057. About a mile from the castle of Cairnbeddie is a spot still called the "Witches' stone," where the usurper, as recorded by the Dramatist, is said to have held an interview with the witches, who assured him of safety "till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane."The parish is bounded on the west by the river Tay, and is of irregular form, varying greatly in breadth, and comprising about 7000 acres, of which, with the exception of 1100 woodland and plantations, the greater portion is arable, and the remainder meadow and pasture. The surface is boldly undulated, without rising into hills of any striking elevation; and most of the acclivities are ornamented with plantations of fir, which, together with the coppices of wood along the banks of the Tay, add much to the pleasing appearance of the scenery. The only river of importance is the Tay, which is navigable to Perth for vessels of considerable burthen; it abounds with salmon and trout, of which the fisheries are very valuable. There are several rivulets; the largest is the burn of St. Martin's, which intersects the parish from west to east, giving motion in its course to some corn and lint mills, and receives the waters of a tributary stream near the church. Trout are found in most of the smaller streams. The soil is generally a black mould lying on a tilly bottom, but along the banks of the Tay of richer quality, resting on a substratum of gravel; the crops are, grain of every kind, with potatoes and turnips, and the usual grasses. The system of husbandry has been greatly advanced under the auspices of an agricultural society that has been established here for some years, and there is now scarcely an acre of waste land in the whole parish; several small hamlets, indeed, which existed in different parts, have been altogether razed by the plough, and their sites brought into cultivation. The lands have been well-drained, and inclosed with fences kept in good repair; the farm-buildings have been rendered substantial and commodious, and all the more recent improvements in the construction of agricultural implements are adopted. The plantations are generally under careful management, and in a thriving state; and there are some considerable remains of natural wood. Limestone is found in the north of the parish, near the Tay, but is not extensively worked; whinstone and freestone are every where abundant, and the latter is of excellent quality, and largely wrought for building. The rateable annual value of the parish is £5805. St. Martin's House, a handsome modern structure, is finely situated in a richly-planted demesne.Many of the inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of coarse linen cloths, chiefly for exportation; and several are engaged in the various handicraft trades requisite for the supply of the surrounding district. A savings' bank has been recently established, under that of Perth; and a library, also founded within the last few years, is supported by subscription. Facility of communication is maintained by the great turnpike-road from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, which passes through the eastern portion of the parish, and by other good roads that intersect it in various directions. The principal villages, which are described under their respective heads, are Guildtown, in the west, built in 1819 upon property belonging to the Guildry of Perth; and CarolinePlace, in the northern district, founded in 1825 in honour of Caroline, Queen of George IV., and consisting of wellbuilt houses to each of which is attached a portion of garden-ground. The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling. The minister's stipend is £192. 7. 8., with a manse, and also a glebe, including the old glebe of Cambus-Michael, and valued at £28 per annum; patron, the Crown. The old church, built in 1773, and which was both inconvenient and unsafe, was taken down, and a handsome and substantial structure erected in 1842, which is well adapted to the accommodation of the parishioners; it contains an elegant monument of marble to the memory of William Macdonald, Esq., secretary to the Highland Society of Scotland. The parochial school, for which a handsome building has been erected, at a cost of £300, is well attended; the master has a salary of £34, with a house and garden, and the fees average about £25 per annum. There is also a private school at Guildtown, of which the master is provided with a house and garden rent free by the Guildry of Perth. Very distinct vestiges exist of the Roman road leading from Bertha, through the northern part of the parish, towards the neighbouring parish of Cargill, in which it appears in its primitive state.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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