Dunkeld, Little

   DUNKELD, LITTLE, a parish, in the county of Perth, adjoining Dunkeld, and containing, with the village of Inver, 2718 inhabitants. This parish, which includes the ancient parish of Laganallachy, is bounded on the north-east by the Tay, and is about sixteen miles in length, and from five to six in extreme breadth, comprising 23,200 acres, of which about 7500 are under cultivation, 3204 woodland and plantations, and the remainder waste. The lands are divided into three districts, Murthly, Strathbran, and the Bishopric, the last so called from having formerly belonged to the ancient see of Dunkeld. The district of Murthly extends from the parish of Kinclaven on the east to the village of Inver, and includes the hill of Birnam. The district of Strathbran extends from Inver to Amulrie on the west, for nearly nine miles, and is watered by the river Bran, from which it takes its name; and the Bishopric stretches from Inver for almost ten miles along the Tay. The surface is strikingly diversified with ranges of hills, of which that of Birnam, on the south, rises in stately grandeur to a considerable elevation, embracing an extensive view of the adjacent country; the hill of Craigvinian, on the western bank of the Tay, also commands some finely-varied prospects. The river Bran has its source in Loch Freuchy, on the southern border of the parish, and in its precipitous and romantic course forms several picturesque cascades; it flows into the Tay nearly opposite the town of Dunkeld. There are also a few lakes, chiefly in the mountain district, all of which abound with excellent trout, and in Loch Skiack are found pike of considerable size. The soil varies extremely in different parts of this extensive parish; in the eastern portions it is generally a rich black loam, and in other districts partly sand and partly gravel. The crops are, barley, bear, and oats, with turnips and potatoes, of which last great quantities are raised, and sent to the London markets, where, from the excellence of their quality, they obtain a decided preference. Considerable numbers of black-cattle are reared in the Highland districts of the parish, and sent to the southern markets; and many sheep, usually of the black-faced breed, are fed by the various tenants. There are extensive woods and plantations in Murthly and the Bishopric; the prevailing trees are, oak, ash, Scotch fir, larch, and plane, with birch and hazel. The coppices of oak are cut down as they successively attain the growth of twenty years, and produce a valuable return by the sale of the bark, in the preparation of which many of the population are employed during the summer months. Great quantities of Scotch fir, also, of large girth, are sent to England for ship-building, and timber for railroads and other purposes. Near Murthly is a quarry of fine freestone, from which was raised the stone for the cathedral of Dunkeld, and more recently, for the erection of the bridge at that place across the Tay; there is likewise a quarry of excellent slate at Birnam hill, which is extensively wrought. The rateable annual value of the parish is £8960.
   Murthly Castle is beautifully situated on the south bank of the river, in a finely-wooded and ample demesne rising in bold undulations, and comprehending much picturesque scenery; a handsome modern mansion has been begun by the proprietor in front of the castle, and various improvements have been made in the grounds. Dalguise is an ancient mansion with modern additions, pleasantly situated on the road to Taymouth: Kinnaird House stands on an eminence overlooking the Tay, in grounds tastefully laid out, and abounding with romantic scenery. Birnam Lodge and Birnam Cottage are both pleasant houses nearly opposite to Dunkeld; and a handsome seat in the cottage style, beautifully situated on the western acclivity of Torwood, has been recently built by Mr. Wallace, of Perth. There are numerous hamlets in the parish, few of which can be regarded as villages, with the exception of Inver, itself a small village, situated at the influx of the river Bran into the Tay, and, previously to the erection of the bridge, the station of a ferry across that river. This village is much frequented by parties visiting the romantic scenery in its vicinity. Among its principal attractions are, the Rumbling Bridge, thrown over a deep chasm in which the Bran, rushing with impetuous violence among the rocks, forms a romantic cascade; and Ossian's Seat, or the Hermitage, situated on the north bank of the Bran, in the woods of the Duke of Atholl, and close to which is a natural cascade of less romantic, but more picturesque, appearance. Near the village is a saw-mill driven by water equivalent to twenty-four horse power, where a considerable number of persons are employed. There are several fishingstations on the Tay, in which salmon and salmon-trout were formerly taken in abundance; but the quantity for some years has been rapidly decreasing, and the fisheries at present yield but a very inconsiderable rent to the proprietors. Facility of communication is afforded by excellent turnpike-roads, of which those in the districts of Strathbran and the Bishopric pass for ten miles, and that in the eastern district for four miles, through the parish; and about half-way between Dunkeld and Amulrie, a bridge has been built over the river Bran.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunkeld and synod of Perth and Stirling; patron, the Crown. The minister's stipend is £157. 10., with a manse, and the glebes of this place and Laganallachy together are valued at £18 per annum. The parish church, situated near the south bank of the Tay, was built in 1798, and is a neat plain structure containing 820 sittings. The church of Laganallachy, in the district of Strathbran, has about 450 sittings; and divine service is performed there one Sunday in the month, wholly in the Gaelic language. There is a Roman Catholic chapel attached to Murthly Castle, recently fitted up by the proprietor. Two parochial schools are supported; the master of the one has a salary of £29. 18., with about £10 arising from the fees, and the master of the other a salary of £10, with £10 fees, and both have houses and gardens rent free. There are also three schools connected with the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, the masters of which have salaries of £15 each; and, the schools being situated in populous districts, the amount of fees is considerable. A small parochial library is supported by subscription. John Stewart, Esq., of Grandtully, about the commencement of the last century, bequeathed £20,000 merks Scotch for the maintenance of twelve poor men of the Episcopalian Church; and in 1740, a building for their reception was erected on the lands of Murthly; but the original purpose of the testator was not carried into effect, and the property consequently accumulated to the sum of £2609 sterling, of which the interest is divided among poor persons of this and the neighbouring parishes. There are several Druidical remains; and on the farm of Balinloan is a remarkable stone called Clach-a-mhoid, where it is said a baron in the vicinity held his court. Two very large trees are still standing near the church, said to be the only remains of Birnam Forest, and on a plain near the bank of the Bran are the ruins of the castle of Trochery, an ancient residence of the Gowrie family.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

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