Dunbarny

   DUNBARNY, a parish, in the county of Perth, 3½ miles (S.) from Perth; containing, with the villages of Bridge of Earn and Kintillo, 1104 inhabitants. The name of this place, variously written in old records, but generally Dunberny, is supposed to be a compound of two Celtic terms, dun, a hill, and bearn, a breach or fissure, and to have been applied to the parish in consequence of the church and principal village being on the estate of Dunbarny, which is marked by a fissure in a ridge of hills. The church formerly stood a mile westward of the bridge of Earn; but this site, which was near the extremity of the parish, being found inconvenient, it became necessary to build a new church in 1684, though the ancient burial-ground is still used as a cemetery. The church of Kirk-Pottie, about three miles south from the bridge, and the chapel of Moncrieffe, standing 200 or 300 yards south-east from the present mansion of the name, were both appendages to the church of Dunbarny; but the lands of the former place, with some others, were annexed ecclesiastically in the year 1652, and afterwards civilly, to the parish of Dron, on account of their contiguity, and the ruins of the church have been swept away within the last few years. The area comprehended within the walls of the chapel of Moncrieffe, which are still standing embosomed in thick wood, has long been used as the burying-place of the ancient family of that name. The forest of Black Earnside, formerly extending along the banks of the river Earn, was celebrated for the adventures of Sir William Wallace, especially in a sanguinary encounter there maintained with the English; and at Kilgraston, in the parish, the Covenanters are said to have pitched their camp in 1645, before the battle of Kilsyth.
   The parish, situated in the most beautiful part of Strathearn, and bounded on the north partly by Perth, is about four miles in extreme length from east to west, and one mile and a quarter in average breadth, and comprises 3236 acres, of which 2640 are under culture, 419 wood, and the remainder water, roads, and waste. The river Earn passes through in a winding course from west to east, and the surface is generally level, the chief exception being the lofty and striking elevation called Moncrieffe or Moredun hill, which rises 756 feet above the sea, and commands from its summit one of the most magnificent views in Scotland. The prospect comprehends the Carse of Gowrie; the Frith of Tay, with the town of Dundee; the beautifully rich and well-wooded vale of Strathearn, ornamented with the meanderings of the river, and with many superior mansions; the picturesque forms of the Ochils; and the fine eminences of Monteith. On the north and west, the mountains of Ben-Voirlich, Benmore, and others are finely contrasted with the nearer scenery of Perth, the river Tay, Kinnoull hill, and Kinfauns Castle; and beyond Crieff appears the obelisk raised to the memory of Sir David Baird on the hill of Tom-a-chastel, in the parish of Monivaird, with that of Lord Melville, near Comrie. The scenery is much indebted for its general beauty to the Earn, though its stream is here far less clear than in many other parts, chiefly on account of the mossy soil through which it passes; it affords trout, whitling, pike, and salmon, the last, however, in smaller quantities than formerly. The soil is exceedingly various, and comprises almost every description, from the richest loam to the poorest clay. On the south side of the river the lands are very flat, and consist of strong wet clay; on the north they are loamy; and towards the western district, a red, tilly, impervious earth is most prevalent. Near the bridge of Earn, at some depth beneath the surface, is a stratum of moss of considerable thickness, extending for several hundred yards, and which so impregnates all the water near the village as to render it unpleasant; and in this mossy bed large pieces of timber are found, many of which present curious specimens of petrifaction. Wheat, oats, barley, and the usual green crops are raised; the cultivation of potatoes, especially the Perthshire red kind, occupies a large proportion of the ground appropriated to the green crops, and about 6000 bolls are yearly sent to London and to Newcastle, in the county of Northumberland. The rocks are mostly whinstone and sandstone of various kinds, of which several quarries are in operation, and the substrata exhibit specimens of barytes, jasper, agate, chlorite, and a variety of other minerals. The district has made many important advances in agriculture, and is also especially worthy of notice for the rapid increase of its plantations, comprehending all kinds of trees, which now cover the hill of Moncrieffe, formerly overgrown with heath and furze, and enrich the vale of Strathearn in every direction. The rateable annual value of the parish is £7605.
   The house of Moncrieffe, the residence of the ancient family of that name, descended from Ramerus de Moncrieffe, who was keeper of the wardrobe to Alexander I., was built in the seventeenth century; the grounds are thickly planted with the usual trees, interspersed with horse-chesnut, silver and spruce firs, lime, plane, and walnut, and the garden contains, with many other rare plants, several from the Cape of Good Hope and New South Wales. The other mansions are those of Pitkeathly, in the grounds of which is a tulip-tree above 100 years old, which still regularly flowers; and Kilgraston, a spacious and commodious structure in the Grecian style, standing in a large well-wooded park, and containing a valuable collection of pictures, among which is one of the finest pieces of Guercino, representing Louis IX. renouncing the crown for a monastic life. There is also the house of Ballendrick, a convenient residence with excellent out-buildings. A village named Dunbarny formerly existed on the road leading from the property of that name to Bridge of Earn; but the only villages now comprehended in the parish are those of Kintillo and Bridge of Earn, with a cluster of houses on the Pitkeathly property, and a number of elegant cottages recently erected at Craigend, on the Edinburgh road, by the Moncrieffe family. With regard to its ecclesiastical affairs, the parish is in the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling, and in the patronage of Sir Thomas Moncrieffe, Bart.; the minister's stipend is £179, with a manse, a vicarage tithe of forty-four and a-third loads of coal, and a glebe valued at £19 per annum. The church erected in 1684 stood a few yards west of the present structure, which was built in 1787; the churchyard was partly formed in 1821, and finished some years afterwards, and is altogether artificial, being composed of 2000 cartloads of sand brought from the banks of the river. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches; the master has a salary of £34, with about £25 fees, and also receives, for teaching poor children, the interest of 500 merks left in 1677 by the Rev. Robert Young, £5 left in 1743 by John Craigie, Esq., and £108 left in 1820 by the Rev. James Beatson. The late Sir David Moncrieffe bequeathed a sum, as a prize, to the best classical scholar; and there are two bursaries in the patronage of the family, one for St. Mary's, and the other for St. Salvator's College, St. Andrew's. The parish contains a public library comprising about 300 volumes. At a small distance from Moncrieffe House are the remains of a Druidical temple, and on the summit of the hill of that name is a circular fosse, sixteen yards in diameter, in the centre of which stood Carnac fort, formerly belonging to the Picts. Near Old Kilgraston is a bulky Spanish chesnut-tree, of thick foliage, said to have been planted on the day when Perth capitulated to Oliver Cromwell.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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