Weem

   WEEM, a parish, in the county of Perth, 1 mile (N. W.) from Aberfeldy; containing, with the hamlets of Balnasuim, Caolvallock, Kirkton of Weem, Balwahanaid, Cragganester, Craggantoul, and Tombreck, and part of the quoad sacra parish of Glenlyon, 890 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have taken its name from the Gaelic word uamh, or uamha, signifying "a cave," a recess here of some kind having formerly afforded an asylum for persons in danger or distress, though no traces of it are now to be found. The parish is on the whole extensive, but is distributed into numerous and distant portions, and even those parts of it which are continuous are so penetrated by narrow and long stretched out tracts of other parishes, as to render it impossible to give any correct idea of its outline or dimensions. The most populous part of the parish, and that usually called Weem, is a small district on the northern bank of the Tay, bounded by the parishes of Logierait and Dull, and about one mile and a half in length. The distinct and detached portions are, several extensive farms in Glenlochay, a tract chiefly pastoral, and situated north-west of the village of Killin; the district of Auchmore, also chiefly pastoral, though containing a considerable portion of wood, and which is about two miles in length, extending for a short distance on the southern bank of the river Dochart, and afterwards along Loch Tay; the district of Crannich, stretching for two miles on the north side of Loch Tay, the property of the Marquess of Breadalbane, but formerly belonging to the family of Menzies; a continuous district in Glenlyon, several miles long, and generally called the Roros, as well as some detached farms; Newhall and Sticks, on the south side of the Tay, and between the villages of Kenmore and Aberfeldy; the ancient barony of Comrie, on the south of the river Lyon, near its junction with the Tay, likewise the property of the Marquess of Breadalbane, the ruins of whose ancient family castle stand on the bank of the river; a considerable part of Glenquaich, lying on both sides of the river in the glen, and which, though exceedingly stormy and desolate in winter, contains some of the most highly cultivated lands and most pleasing scenery in the whole county; and lastly, the portion called Murthly, on the south bank of the Tay, and about a mile east from Aberfeldy.
   The parish, in nearly all its parts, exhibits a hilly and rugged surface; and the scenery is consequently highly diversified, comprehending, and harmoniously blending together, the interesting features of the picturesque and the imposing features of the romantic and sublime. The most lofty elevation in this part of the country is the mountain of Ben Lawers, the south side of which is in Crannich-Lochtayside, and the north side in Roro-Glenlyon; it is 4015 feet above the level of the sea, and the highest land in the county. The Rock of Weem, situated near the castle of Menzies, and rising about 600 feet from the grounds at its base, in some parts almost perpendicularly, is finely wooded, and is considered one of the most striking and magnificent objects in the county. It commands from its summit views of the castle and its rich scenery, with part of Loch Tay, and the lofty tops of Ben Lawers and Benmore, on the west, and Aberfeldy, the woody retreats of Moness, and the valley of Strathtay, skirted by several ranges of hills, on the east; the whole receiving an increased effect from the numerous windings of the river Tay. The chief lake connected with the parish is Loch Tay, into the west end of which, the river Dochart, rising on the borders of Argyllshire, and having received the waters of the Lochay, pours its augmented stream. Issuing from the east end, the river takes the name of Tay, a word supposed to be derived from the Gaelic teth, signifying "hot or warm," in reference to the well known temperature of the river and loch, neither of which ever freezes.
   The soil is exceedingly various; in many places, light and gravelly, especially on the higher grounds. Much of it, however, is capable of producing good crops of wheat or any other grain, were it not for the floodings of the Tay, which has not yet been secured by proper embankments, the adjacent lands being distributed among many proprietors. About 1647 acres are supposed to be in cultivation, in some parts under the four or five shift system of cropping; and there are 300 acres in grass, which were once in tillage. Ploughing-matches formerly took place, at which prizes were adjudged by the late Sir Neil Menzies, a principal heritor; these matches acted with great effect in producing many persons skilful in this branch of husbandry, and much encouragement has also been afforded to agricultural improvement in general by the Athol Club, who hold their meetings every third year in the village of Weem. The cattle are chiefly the West Highland breed; and the sheep, which are very numerous, from 3000 to 4000 being kept in Glenlochay alone, are mostly of the black-faced kind. Sir Robert Menzies, of Menzies, and the Marquess of Breadalbane, hold nearly all the lands; the rent of the arable portion varies from 15s. to £2. 10. per acre, and the usual run of leases is fifteen years. The wood covers between 700 and 800 acres, and of these 190 are in the part called the Rock of Weem; the trees are mostly larch and oak, but ash, elm, and beech are also planted, and there are some native Scotch fir, birch, hazel, and mountain-ash. The rateable annual value of Weem is £4283.
   Castle Menzies, to which considerable additions have recently been made, is a fine picturesque structure, the ancient seat of the Menzies family, whose ancestor is supposed to have come over with William the Conqueror, and who are now represented by Sir R. Menzies, Bart. The present castle was built in 1571, and from its situation on a beautiful lawn at the foot of the rock of Weem, in the midst of large trees of oak, plane, and chesnut, is an interesting and conspicuous object in the scenery. The house of Auchmore, some time since the residence of the Marquess of Breadalbane, was formerly of small dimensions; but the ancient portion has been modernised and greatly enlarged. It stands in an extensive park, separated on the west from the parish of Killin by a stream with well-wooded banks, and washed on the north and north-west by the Dochart, the Dochart and Lochay united, and Loch Tay. The village is very small, the parish being entirely pastoral and agricultural: the Gaelic language is generally spoken. This is a polling-place for elections; the Commissioners of Supply hold their statutory road and other meetings here, and the justices of the peace have monthly meetings for small-debt cases, and occasionally assemble for excise business. The presbytery of Weem, consisting at the present time of nine incumbencies, namely, six original and three government churches, was detached from the presbytery of Dunkeld, and erected by an act of the General Assembly, May 24, 1836, into a separate presbytery, appointed to meet in this place. There is a branch post daily through the village from Aberfeldy, conveyed by a four-wheeled carriage fitted up for passengers also: turnpike-roads run through the Weem, Murthly, Crannich, Newhall, and Sticks divisions, and good roads traverse most of the other parts. A bridge crosses the Lochay near Killin; and there is a superior one of five arches over the Tay, between Aberfeldy and the village of Weem, forming a communication between the northern and southern districts. It was finished in the year 1733, under the direction of General Wade, and is situated not far from the spot where Sir John Cope's army is said to have encamped in 1745. The produce of the parish is sent for sale chiefly to Perth, whence coal is procured, though at considerable expense, and used by the higher class; the remainder of the people burn wood and peat, the latter of which is of very inferior quality. Two annual fairs, now almost disused, are held in the village for general traffic.
   The parish is in the synod of Perth and Stirling, and under the patronage of Sir R. Menzies: the minister's stipend is £150, with a manse and a glebe of five acres, valued at £10 per annum. The church was built in 1835, and contains 561 sittings, all free. Part of this parish is annexed for ecclesiastical purposes to the district church of Glenlyon, in the parish of Fortingal, and other parts are connected with the mission chapels of Lawers and Amulrie; the distance of the inhabitants, in some places amounting to thirty miles, rendering their attendance at the parish church next to impossible. The parochial school affords instruction in geography, mathematics, and Greek and Latin, in addition to the ordinary branches; the master has a stipend of £34. 4., with a house, and £10 fees. A bequest of £8 per annum by Mr. Gregory, of London, is appropriated to the instruction of the poorer scholars. There are also three schools, where the instruction is the same, partly endowed by the Rev. Archibald Campbell, a former incumbent, who died in 1740; each master receives £5. 11. per annum. The antiquities comprise two upright crosses, in the district of Newhall, supposed to have formed part of the sides of a gateway to an ancient religious edifice; also the east end of the old parish church, containing a curiously sculptured monument, with a Latin inscription, to the memory of Sir Alexander Menzies, the thirteenth of the family, and his wife, Marjory Campbell.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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