- MUTHILL, a parish, in the county of Perth; containing, with the village of South Bridgend, and part of the late quoad sacra parish of Ardoch, 3067 inhabitants, of whom 1089 are in the village of Muthill, 3 miles (S.) from Crieff. This place appears to be of considerable antiquity; and its name, derived from two Gaelic words signifying "a station for the dispensation of justice," would confer upon it a degree of importance in the ancient feudal times. A society of Culdees was established here in the earliest period of Christianity in Britain. During the middle ages, Muthill seems to have been the head of a deanery; and after the Reformation, it was the seat of the presbytery prior to its removal to Auchterarder. The parish is of very great extent, comprising more than 26,000 acres, of which about 11,560 are arable, 2400 woodland and plantations, and the remainder uncultivated and waste land. The surface rises gradually from the northern and southern boundaries towards the centre, where it attains a considerable elevation, forming two nearly parallel ridges from east to west, and dividing the parish into what are called the Muthill and Ardoch districts. The highest point of these ridges is the hill of Torlum, which is about 1400 feet above the level of the sea, and beautifully planted with evergreens; it is a conspicuous and interesting feature in the scenery, and commands an extensive and richly-varied prospect over the different portions of this large parish, which in some parts is in the best state of cultivation, and in others comparatively wild and barren. The scenery is enlivened by several rivers that flow through the lands. The principal is the Earn, which issues from the lake of that name, and in its winding course forms a boundary between part of this parish and the lands of Innerpeffray, the estate of David, Lord Madderty, of whose castle there are considerable remains; its course, though generally uniform and moderate, is occasionally disturbed by torrents descending from the hills. The river Machony has its source in the hills of Blair-in-roan, pursues its way between the two ridges that divide the parish, and, after receiving numerous tributary streams in its progress, falls into the Earn near Kinkell. On the Ardoch side of the parish is the Knaik, which rises in Glenlich-horn, and, passing the camp at Ardoch, joins the river Allan, which has its source in Blackford parish, and flows into the Forth near Stirling. These rivers all abound with excellent trout, and in the Earn are found also pike, whiting, and salmon. There are several lakes, of which one called Balloch, is situated at the base of Torlum Hill. Loch Drummond, a beautiful sheet of artificial formation, is about a mile in length and half a mile broad; it is bounded on one side by abrupt masses of rock rising to the height of nearly seventy feet, and on the others by steep banks richly wooded. It is the resort of various aquatic fowl, and forms a picturesque feature in the landscape. There are also numerous wells, affording an ample supply of water, and which in ancient times were held in great veneration for their supposed efficacy in curing diseases.The soil varies greatly; the lands near the Earn and the Allan are chiefly a rich and light loam, with occasional intermixtures of marl; while in other parts is a strong sandy soil, with a mixture of gravel, and in others again an unproductive moorland. The hills afford good pasture, and there is also a due proportion of excellent grass land. On most of the lands are thriving plantations, of which the largest is that round Torlum Hill, comprising more than 600 acres of Scotch fir: larch, birch, chesnut, and limes, with some oak, are the prevailing kinds. The system of agriculture has been much improved under the auspices of the heritors, most of whom reside upon their estates; draining has been practised extensively, and large portions of marshy land have been reclaimed, and brought into a state of profitable cultivation. The chief crops are barley and oats, with some wheat, and the rotation plan of husbandry is general; turnips have been lately much cultivated, and, by the use of bone-dust and guano, are abundant. Considerable attention is also paid to the breeding of cattle. The substrata are chiefly sandstone of several varieties, and whinstone of a blackish colour; the former is quarried for building, and the latter for the roads; and in the peat-mosses, and also embedded in the marl, various fossil remains have been found. The rateable annual value of the parish is £15,000. Drummond Castle, the occasional residence of the family of Drummond, is situated near the site of a former castle, which is said to have been besieged by Cromwell, and, with the exception of what still remains, to have been demolished at the Revolution: the present seat is a substantial and handsome modern mansion. The grounds, which are well laid out, contain some fine specimens of well-grown timber, and the gardens almost every variety of the choicest flowers and plants. The castle was visited by Her Majesty, during her tour in Scotland, in September 1842; she arrived here on the evening of Saturday, the 10th, and remained until Tuesday, the 13th, when she departed for Stirling. The village of Muthill is on the great southern road, which passes through the parish; it is neatly built, and the surrounding hills add much to the beauty of its scenery. It had formerly a market, which, from the proximity of the market-town of Crieff, has been for some time discontinued. The inhabitants are chiefly occupied in agricultural pursuits, and in weaving cotton for the manufacturers of Glasgow; and until recently three distilleries employed a considerable number of persons, and in the aggregate produced about 100,000 gallons of whisky annually. Two cattle-markets are held annually at the village of Braco, in the district of Ardoch. A subscription library, comprising a good collection, is maintained in the parish; and there is also a readingroom, in which are several valuable publications on agriculture.Muthill is within the presbytery of Auchterarder and synod of Perth and Stirling, and patronage of the Crown: the minister's stipend is £240. 17. 5., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum. The church, erected in 1828, at an expense of nearly £7000, is a handsome and spacious edifice in the later English style, adapted for a congregation of 1600 persons. In the district of Ardoch is a chapel of ease, built in 1780; and within the last few years a village has risen up near it, which is rapidly increasing in population and extent. There is also a place of worship for members of the United Secession within a mile and a half of the village; and in Muthill are a Free church and an Episcopalian chapel. The parochial school affords a liberal education; the master has a salary of £34. 4., with £16. 10. fees, and a good house and garden: a schoolroom on a more enlarged scale has been recently built. There are also three schools in the parish partly endowed by Lady Willoughby de Eresby. At Innerpeffray is a library for the use of ministers and students, founded by Lord Madderty, who also endowed it with a small salary for the librarian, who is further supported by the fees of a school which he keeps in part of the building. More than sixty of the poor are regularly supplied with meal, clothing, and fuel by Lady Willoughby, who also pays their rent. In the lands of Innerpeffray are the remains of an old church, now the burial-place of the families of Perth and Strathallan; and near the river are the ruins of the ancient castle of Madderty. The ruins of the castle of Drummond are romantically situated at the base of Torlum Hill, and on an elevated and rocky site; the south wing, the principal portion, is now converted into an armoury. The camps at Ardoch, the most entire in the country, and evidently of Roman origin, are supposed to have been the chief post of that people in this part of Britain. The intrenchments of the main station inclose an area 420 feet in length and 375 in breadth; and three of its principal entrances are still to be distinctly traced. Adjoining this station are three camps of more extensive dimensions, the largest of which, 2800 feet long and 1950 wide, is supposed to have been that where Agricola concentrated his army previously to his decisive battle with Galgacus, which is said to have taken place at Blair-in-roan. Another of these camps, styled the procestrium, and of later construction than the great camp, was of oblong shape, 1060 feet by 900, and capable of containing 4000 men. The remaining camp, to the west of the great one, is likewise of oblong form, measuring 1910 by 1340 feet, and would afford accommodation to 12,000 men; it is very entire, higher in position than the other camps, and, from its prominently marked features, is well worth the examination of the antiquary. The Rev. John Barclay, founder of the sect of the Bereans, was born at Muthill.
A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. Samuel Lewis. 1856.
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