Monivaird and Strowan

   MONIVAIRD and STROWAN, a parish, in the county of Perth, 3 miles (N. W.) from Crieff; containing 853 inhabitants. The word Monivaird is a corruption of the Gaelic term Moivard, or Monvard, signifying "the hill of the bards." Strowan is corrupted from Rowen, Rowan, or Ronan, a saint who flourished about the middle of the 7th century, who was eminent for learning, and was in possession of the estate now called Strowan; he also gave name to a spring and a lake here, and to a festival held in the place. The two parishes are supposed to have been united for about 200 years; but the church of each was kept distinct, and used for public worship, till the year 1804, when a new church was built in a central part for the accommodation of the whole population. The church of St. Servanus, or Serf, at Monivaird, is thought to have been given by the Earl of Strathearn, at the beginning of the 13th century, to the monastery of Inchaffrey. In 1511, in the reign of James IV., the sacred edifice was the scene of a bloody strife between the clans of the Murrays and the Drummonds, the former of whom, being out-numbered and in great danger, fled thither and concealed themselves. But, their hiding-place being discovered by an accidental circumstance, and all the men refusing to surrender, the Drummonds set fire to the building, which was suddenly burnt to the ground, and the victims, amounting, according to the account of Sir Walter Scott, in his Legend of Montrose, to eight score men, with their wives and children, were consumed. The Master of Drummond, William, son of John, first lord Drummond, was immediately afterwards apprehended by order of the king, and conveyed to Stirling, where, with several of his followers, he was shortly executed. Upon digging the foundations for the mausoleum of the Murray family, in 1809, on the site of the old thatched church, some charred wood, and many human bones, were found, supposed to have been the result of the conflagration in 1511.
   An old castle situated on the north of the loch of Monivaird is said to have belonged to Red Cumyn, the rival of Bruce; it is called Castle-Cluggy, is exceedingly strong, and was inhabited during the time of Cromwell by Sir William Murray, the first baronet of Ochtertyre. The residence of the Malises or Grahams, earls of Strathearn, was also in the parish of Monivaird, a castle on the summit of Tom-a-chastel; it was burnt down, according to tradition, while occupied by some ladies of note, who perished in the flames. One of them is conjectured to have been Joanna, daughter of Malise, Earl of Strathearn, and of the Princess of the Orkneys, and wife of the Earl de Warenne, who, in consequence of her treasonable practices against King Robert I., had been condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the keep of this castle by the Black parliament held at Scone in 1320. In the autumn of 1839, this locality was visited by some severe shocks of earth-quake, passing along from the north-west to the south-east, and which were partially felt as far as Inverness, Dunbar, Berwick, and the banks of Loch Awe. Shocks had been occasionally felt for the previous fifty years; but these were far more serious, and so much alarmed the inhabitants of the surrounding district, by shaking the houses from top to bottom, for several miles round, that most of the people residing at the adjacent village of Comrie spent the whole night in the streets or in the churches, which were opened for prayer. Similar shocks have occurred since, but much more slightly.
   The parish is situated in the district of Strathearn, and is about nine miles long from north to south, and six miles broad. It approaches to an oval figure; but two tracts stretch into the contiguous parish of Comrie, and are annexed to it ecclesiastically, the one on the south-west, in the direction of Glenartney, and the other up Glenlednock, towards the north or north-west. The number of acres comprised in the whole is between 21,000 and 22,000; and of these 3000 are cultivated, 2000 under wood, and the remainder pasture. The surface is hilly and mountainous, but well watered and richly wooded, and partakes, to a considerable extent, of the milder and more picturesque features of Lowland, combined with the bolder and more romantic scenery of Highland, districts. A ridge of the Grampians runs along the northern boundary from east to west; and though bare and craggy at the summit, yet in their slope to the beautiful vale of the Earn they are clothed with large plantations of forest-trees, which form a striking and interesting feature in the scenery. The highest elevation in this chain is Benchonzie, or "the Mossy mountain," so called from an area of about forty acres on its top being covered with a light-coloured moss; it rises about 2922 feet above the level of the sea. At the south-eastern extremity of the parish is Turleum, a hill 1400 feet high, connected with the lower parts of the northern ridge by a series of conical hills partly clothed with copse, and crowned with lofty firs, and which cross the valley of the Earn, and consist of the eminences called Laggan, Drummachargan, and Tom-a-chastel. On the last, most beautifully and romantically situated, is the monument recently erected to the memory of General Sir David Baird, the hero of Seringapatam; it is an obelisk of fine Aberdeen granite, eighty-two feet high, and an exact resemblance of Cleopatra's needle.
   The valley, separating Monivaird, on the north, from the district of Strowan, on the south, presents the most rich and diversified scenery, comprehending hill and dale, wood and water, finely contrasted with the adjacent mountains of various size and figure; while in the distance appear the stately Benchonzie, Benvoirlich, and Benmore. Most of the hills abound in all kinds of game; and on the celebrated cliffs of Glen-Turret the eagle annually builds her nest and rears her young, not unfrequently, in time of scarcity of game, making great depredations among the flocks by carrying off young lambs. This glen was formerly famed for its breed of falcons; and here was procured the pair presented to George III. at his coronation, by the Duke of Atholl, in token of the tenure by which he held the Isle of Man under the crown of England. The largest loch in the parish, embosomed in Glen-Turret, at the foot of Benchonzie, is called Loch Turret; it is about a mile long and a quarter of a mile broad, and well stocked with trout, pike, and perch. Loch Ouan, in the same glen, is remarkable for the number of trout taken in it; and among several small lakes in the lower part of the parish, prolific in tench, eel, and other kinds of fish, is Loch Monivaird, covering about forty acres, situated at the base of a wood, and which for many years yielded large quantities of shell-marl. The river Earn, rising in the loch of the same name, in the parish of Comrie, passes through this parish, and, after a winding course of about thirty-six miles, falls into the Tay at Rhynd; it is joined on the east, at Crieff, by a stream issuing from, and taking the name of, Loch Turret, and which, flowing with a precipitous course for about six miles, is marked by many powerful falls. One of these, called the falls of Ochtertyre, in the heart of a thickly-wooded dell, is exceedingly beautiful, the water descending with tumultuous uproar for thirty feet; and opposite to it, in a romantic spot, a grotto has been cut in the rock by the proprietor, for the accommodation of visiters; while a bridge has been thrown over the stream a little below. The Barvic, another rapid stream, running along the north-eastern boundary, separates Monivaird from Monzie; and after an impetuous course of four miles through a romantic ravine, displaying a number of beautiful cascades, it falls at last into the Turret.
   The soil on the lower grounds is light and gravelly, and on the sides of the rivers, for the most part, alluvial, producing excellent crops, especially of barley, which, and oats, are the kinds of grain chiefly raised. Of the latter, the Flemish are sown on the best soils, and the Irish on the worst; those of the Angus-shire sort being reserved for clayey grounds. Turnips and potatoes, and various kinds of grasses, also form a considerable portion of the produce, and alternate with the white crops in the rotation system of husbandry, which, with the usual modern improvements, is successfully followed. The ordinary sheep are the black-faced, Leicesters, however, being seen on ornamental grounds; the cattle on the higher parts are the Highland breed, and on the lower, crosses with the Teeswater and Ayrshire. Draining has been carried on to some extent; and within the present century the inclosures and farm-buildings have received considerable attention. Much, also, connected with the principal departments of husbandry, has been effected by the premiums annually distributed by the Strathearn Agricultural Society, instituted in 1809, by the late Sir P. Murray, Bart.; and the Clydesdale horses have been brought into use. The breed previously raised, here called Garrons, though hardy, were very unsightly; they are supposed to have been a cross between the native Scotch pony and the Spanish jennet, many of the latter kind having been cast on the coast at the dispersion of the Spanish Armada. The rocks are in general covered with moss, turf, and peat, a supply of the last of which for fuel is obtained from Glen-Turret; but barked-oak is much used for fire-wood, and coal, also, is procured in considerable quantities from Bannockburn, twenty-five miles distant, though at much expense. The strata in the mountains consist chiefly of clay-slate and red sandstone; a slate-quarry has recently been opened, and several freestone quarries are in operation, one of them producing a material of excellent quality. The rateable annual value of the parish is £6000.
   Much of the natural wood once formed, as is thought, a part of the ancient Caledonian forest. The trees in the parish comprise, oak, ash, elm, pine, birch, plane, and laburnum, ornamentally laid out, and displaying, in different directions, a profusion of ever-varying and beautifully-tinted foliage. Within the last thirty years, large tracts, belts, and clumps of hard and other kinds of wood have been planted, especially on the estate of Ochtertyre, on which stands the mansion of the principal heritor, Sir Wm. Keith Murray, Bart., whose family is the oldest in the parish, having been founded by Patrick, third son of Sir David Murray, sixth baron of Tullibardine, ancestor of the Atholl family, who died in 1476. The residence, surrounded by fine old oaks, is a modern structure, beautifully situated on a richly-wooded slope, commanding fine views, and is ornamented with superior gardens. The park, comprehending part of the plain of Monivaird, was the spot, according to Chalmers, on which Kenneth IV., king of Scotland, was slain in battle in the year 1003; and the highest mountain overlooking the plain is still called Cairn-chainachan, or "Kenneth's cairn." The parish also contains the mansion of Lawers, a tasteful Ionic building quite embosomed in wood; and Strowan and Clathick, two modern convenient residences. Two turnpike-roads run between Crieff and Comrie, the one on the north side of the Earn, through Monivaird, and the other on the south, through Strowan; and there are several good stone bridges over the rivers. The chief communication is with Crieff and Comrie, the former half a mile distant from the parish boundary on the east, and the latter somewhat nearer on the western side. The parish is in the presbytery of Auchterarder and synod of Perth and Stirling, and in the gift of the Earl of Kinnoull: the minister's stipend is £261, with a manse, and a glebe of twelve acres, valued at £30 per annum. The church was built in 1804, and contains 600 sittings, all of which are free. The members of the Free Church are exceedingly few. The parochial school affords instruction in the usual branches; the master has a salary of £34, with a house, and £15 fees. There is a parochial library of about 250 volumes, chiefly religious. Many Roman antiquities have been found in the neighbourhood; and a cross, with the initials J. N. R. J. (Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judæorum) is still standing near the mansion house of Strowan, where the market of that place was once held.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Strowan —    STROWAN, Perthshire.    See Monivaird and Strowan …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Comrie —    COMRIE, a parish, in the county of Perth; including the villages of Dalginross, St. Fillan s, and Ross, and containing 2471 inhabitants, of whom 803 are in the village of Comrie, 6½ miles (W.) from Crieff. The name is derived from a Gaelic… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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