TRADITION asserts that the
Castle of Auchterander was one of the seats of the Scottish Kings and the
residence of King Malcolm Canmore, who granted the Common Muir to the
neighbouring burgh. The Barony was originally a Crown possession. Being
situated on the road from the Royal Palaces of Scone and Forteviot to
Stirling, and the principal manor place of a Barony belonging to the Crown,
there is every probability that the tradition of its having been a royal
palace is correct, and that the warlike Malcolm and the sainted Margaret
abode within its walls.
Auchterarder was one of the
Royal Burghs of Scotland. It may be said that no charter of erection is in
existence, but its absence is explained by the fact that the proximity of a
Royal seat gave the neighbouring town the status of a Royal Burgh. Whether
or not Auchterarder got a charter of erection from the Sovereign, no doubt
can exist that at a very early period it was one of the Royal Burghs of
Scotland. In the charier of William, the son of Malise, of the lands within
or outside the town of Auchterarder, still known as the Abbey lands, granted
to the Canons of Inch-affray, which lands he had bought from John, the son
of Baltin, he not only appended his own seal to the writing, but, for
greater security and fuller evidence, procured to be appended thereto the
common seal of the Burgh of Auchterarder.
The Barony of Auchterarder
remained Crown property until the time of King Robert the Bruce. King
Alexander II., by charter, dated at Cluny, the 13th day of August, in the
eleventh year of his reign (1227), granted to the Canons of the Abbey of
Inchaffray the teins of his duties of Auchterarder to be drawn yearly by the
hands of his tacksmen and bailies of Auchterarder.
In 1296, Edward I. invaded
Scotland with 500 armed horse and 30,000 footmen. He passed the River Tweed
on 28th March, and continued his progress until 24th April, when he routed
the Scots at Dunbar with great slaughter. He continued his triumphant
progress northward s, resting at various places. We are told that "on the
Thursday he went to Stirling, and they who were within the Castle fled, and
none remained but the porter, who surrendered the Castle, and there came the
Earl of Strathearn 'to the peace,' and there tarried the King five days. On
the Wednesday before the Feast of St. John (26th June) the King passed the
Scottish sea, and lay at Auchterarder, his Castle; on the Thursday, at St.
John of Perth, a good town, and there abode Friday, Saturday, and Sunday;
this same day was John the Baptist's Day." His progress and the places at
which he stayed are circumstantially narrated in the Itinerary from which we
quote. He returned to Berwick on 22nd August, and the chronicler adds: "And
he conquered the realm of Scotland, and searched it, as is above written,
within twenty-one weeks without any more."
Attention is directed to the
terms of the words of the French Itinerary in reference to the King having
taken up his residence in Auchterarder Castle. "Le Mescredy devaunt Seint
Johne passa Ie roi le Mere d'Escoce et jut & Outreard, son chastelle."
Reference is made in the narrative to many other castles in which the King
lay, but only in this instance is the Castle stated to have belonged to him.
This is conclusive evidence that the Castle was the property of the Crown,
and that the King took up his abode in it as such.
The halting of Edward I. with
his army at Auchterarder was not the only occasion upon which Auchterarder
received an embattled host. In 1332 the Scottish army of Donald, the Earl of
Mar, 30,000 strong, lay at Auchterarder previous to the disastrous Battle of
Dupplin and in 1559 the army of the Dowager Queer. Mary, under the Duke of
Hamilton and Monsieur d'Oysel, lay there, prepared to encounter the Lords of
the Congregation. The most disastrous military visit and the last was when
the Earl of Mar, in 1716, burnt the town.
Auchterarder being the only
Royal Burgh in Strathearn, was the head burgh of that County Palatine and
the seat of a Sheriffdom, the area of which was probably co-extensive with
Strathearn. In the interregnum after the death of Alexander III. the office
of Sheriff was vested in Malcolm of Innerpeffray, who, in the Compotus of
the extent of all the King's lands of Scotland for the period between 25th
April, 1304, and 28th February, 1305, accounted as "Sheriff of Ulhrardor of
its issues, 100s.; and again, "from said Sir Malcolm of the issues of the
Sheriffdom of Uthrardor and the farms of Glendowiche, £58"
In 1296 the Master of the
Order of the Temple in Scotland having sworn fealty to King Edward for the
lands possessed by him, letters were sent to the different Sheriffs, and
among them the Sheriff of Oughtrerdoner, in whose jurisdiction his lands
lay, ordering him to be put in possession.
The Sheriff figures in a
transaction in the Scottish War of Independence. There was an Inquisition at
Perth held on 1st September, 1305, before Malise, Earl of Stratherne,
Lieutenant of the Warden north of Forth, and Malcolm de Inverpefray, Knight,
Deputy of John de Sardale, Chamberlain, and William de Bevercotts,
Chancellor of Scotland, on certain articles touching the person of Michael
de Miggal by Gilbert de Hay, David de Graham, and others, "who say on oath
in Michael's presence that he had been lately taken prisoner forcibly
against his will by William le Waleys, that he twice escaped, but was
followed and brought back, and he was told if he tried to get away a third
time he should lose his life. Thus, it appears, he remained with William
through fear of death and not of his own will." The following deliverance is
endorsed:—"The Chamberlain is 'commanded to give him his goods and chattels
of the King's special grace.'" The Sheriff, as Chamberlain, no doubt
favourably represented to the King Michael's excuse, as the subsequent
conduct of both the Earl of Strathearn and himself showed a fellow-feeling,
and that, like Michael, they had been acting under constraint.
On 15th September, 1305, King
Edward I., with the concurrence of ten Scots and twenty-two English
Commissioners to his Parliament, made an ordinance containing certain
regulations "for the settlement of Scotland." Amongst these regulations was
the following :—"That there should be Sheriffs, natives either of Scotland
or England, to be appointed or removed by the Lieutenant or the Chamberlain,
at discretion, who should execute the office of escheatry as usual, and that
none should be appointed but the most sufficient men and most profitable for
the King, and people, and the maintenance of peace." Sir Malcolm de
Innerpeffer was appointed, or rather continued, in office, of Sheriff of
Auchterarder, and he was at same time appointed Sheriff of the shire of
Clackmannan. The appointment did not, however, extinguish the Sheriffs
patriotism, as the next thing we hear of him is:—
"The King sends to Walter,
Bishop of Chester, the Treasurer, Malcolm de Innerpeffer, Knight, who at the
time of this last 'riote' of the Scots was the King's Sheriff of Clackmannan
and Auchterarder, but nevertheless was one of the first to join Sir Robert
de Brus, and wickedly abetted the Earls of Menteth and Strathern in aiding
said Robert; also fought against the King at the Battle of Saint Johan de
Perth, and has done all the damage he could, commanding that he be secured
in some strong castle, not in irons, but body for body. Whereon said Malcolm
was at once delivered to the Constable of the Tower of London, on the 7th of
Another writ follows
regarding Sir Malcolm's two horses, which the King permits him to make
profit of at pleasure.
We do not know the result of
the proceedings against the Sheriff of Auchterarder. but as his two horses
were restored to him, he seems to have been treated leniently. In regard to
the Earl, we find that in November, 1306, he presented a memorial to the
King and Council, showing that he was compelled to join Sir Robert de Brus
through fear of his life.
The Castle and Barony of
Auchterarder appear to have been Crown possessions until the reign of Robert
the Bruce, when they became the property of Sir William de Montfichet or
Montifex, appointed Justiciar of Scotland in 1332. The family was of Norman
extraction. They had possessions in England, and a branch for some time
settled in Scotland, Robert Montfichet being a witness to a charter of
William the Lion in 1184. In Robertson's Index of Ancient Charters there
occurs an old official inventory, compiled, apparently, about the close of
the sixteenth century, in which mention is made of a charter—"Wilhelmo de
Montefixo of the lands of Auchterarder with the town duty." Sir William
Montfichet had large possessions, being not only proprietor of the Barony of
Auchterarder, but of Cargill and Kincardine in Menteith, and other lands in
Perthshire; and also of Kilmahew, in Dumbartonshire, and other lands. He had
three daughters, who became his heirs-portioners. To his eldest daughter
Marie he left the estates of Auchterarder, Cargill (or Stobhall), and
Kincardine in Menteith. She married Sir John Drummond, the seventh Thane of
Lennox. Sir John Drummond's eldest daughter was Annabella Drummond, Queen to
Robert III. Our present Gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria is a lineal
descendant of Marie Montifex of the Castle of Auchterarder.
In the reign of David II.
mention is made of the Burgh of Auchterarder in the account of the Great
Chamberlain for 1366 as being in arrear of the contribution for payment of
the King's ransom, being due the sum of thirty-one shilllings. In 1374, the
Chamberlain debits himself with thirty-three shillings and four pence
received from the Bailies of Auchterarder for contribution; and there are
two different entries in the rolls of 1390, both relating to a debt owing by
the Crown to the community of Auchterarder on account of certain services to
the late King Robert II. There is also another entry in the Chamberlain
Rolls, under date 1435, in which it appears that the services to the Crown
had not been uplifted by the Chamberlain from the burgesses of Cromarty,
Dingwall, and Ochterardor, because no Chamberlain aires had been held within
those burghs at the time when the account was made up. Under date August,
1560, in the accounts of the High Treasurer there is an entry, where the
"customaries of Ochterairder" are mentioned along with those of St. Andrews.
On 14th August, 1565, by Act
of the Privy Council, in name of Henry and Mary, it was ordained "that
lettres be direct to officiaris of armes chargeing thame to pas to the
rnercat croces of the Brrrowis of Edinburgh, Hadingtoun, Linlythquow,
Striviling, Clakmannane, Kinross, Uchterardour, Perth, Cowper, and all
utheris places needful, and thair be oppin proclamation in thair Majesteis'
name and autoritie to charge all and sindrie Earls, Lordis, Baronis,
frehalderis, landit men, and substantious gentilmen dwelland witlv'n the
bundis (inter alia of the Stewartric of Strath-crne), with their houshaldis,
honest fricndis, and servandis weil bodin in feir of weir, and provid'i for
xv. days after thair comin, to conveine and meet the King and Ouenis
Majesteis at the places and upon the days respective efter followin— that is
to say, the inhabitants of Stratherne to meit thair hieneises at Striviling
Brig upon Sounday, the xii. day of August instant."1
Not only is there thus
evidence of Auchterarder being assessed in dues and exercising the
privileges of a Royal Burgh, but, what is of more importance, as showing its
burghal character, is, that there arc three separate precepts of Parliament—
in 1570, 1581, and 1600 — summoning Commissioners to Parliament from the
burgh. No doubt the names of the Commissioners do not appear in the Rolls of
Parliament, but that did not derogate from the right of the burgh to send
them; and the probable cause of their not having been sent, and of the
infrequency of Auchterarder appearing in the public records, arose from its
being completely inland, and without foreign trade, on which the great
customs were levied, and consequently being one of what were called dry
burghs. Owing to this, and being much exposed to predatory incursions, it
had fallen into an unprosperous and decayed state, which would well account
for the fact common enough to Royal Burghs of its not sending any
Commissioners to Parliament.
This state of matters is
quaintly described in the Act of Parliament of 30th November, 1581, entitled
"Ratification of the Fair of Vchterardour," which had been obtained with a
view to restore the prosperity of the burgh. The Act is in the following
This fair—the date being
transferred by the change of style to 6th December—though shorn of its
former importance, is still held. It was the day for reckoning and paying
yearly accounts in the town and district, and was until lately a large
A proclamation was made
against the Clan Gregour on 31st January, 1611, whereby "His Majestie, in
his accustomat dispositioun to clernencie and mercye being weele willing to
showe favour to suche of thame who be some notable service shall gif profle
and testlmonie of the haitrent and detestation which they half of the wicked
doingis of that unhappy race, and wilbe content to leve heireafter under the
obedience of His Majestie's lawis, and also knowing perfytlie that a giite
many of thame who ar now imbarqued in that rebellious societie and
fellowship haif rathar bene jnduciet thairunto by the crueltie of the
ihiftanes and ringleidaris of the same societie, then be ony dispositioun
and inclinatioun of their awne": the Lords in these circumstances promise
that if any person of the name of M'Gregour shall slay another of the same
name of as good rank as himself, he shall have a free pardon for all his
faults, on finding caution to answer to the laws thereafter. Further, if any
ether person shall slay Duncane M'Ewne M'Gregour. now called the Laird, or
Robert Abroch M'Gregour, or Johnne Dow M'Allaster M'Gregour, or Galium
M'Gregour of Coull, or Duelchay M'Gregour, or M'Robert M'Gregour, his
brother, then such slayer of any of the said persons, or of any other of
that race shall have a reward in money according to the quality of the
person slain — the least sum to be 100 merks, and that for chieftains £1000
a-piece. Proclamation hereof is to be made at the Market Crosses of
Dumbartfme, Striviling, Downe in Monteith, Glasgu, and Auchtirardour.
Letters were also directed to be issued charging by proclamation at the
Market Crosses at Striviling, Dumbartane, Perth, Auchtirardour, and Downe in
Monteith, all and sundry not to reset the said Clan Gregour, or their goods
and gear, under pain of being punished as partakers with them in their
"Johnne, Earl of Tullibardin,
binds and obliges himself to make answerable to the laws all persons
dwelling on his lands, and to this effect to enter them before the Council
when charged, conform to the genera! band."
No doubt the broken men
referred to in the Act of 1581 included the Clan Gregor, and the directing
of the proclamation of letters against them at the Cross of Auchterarder was
to strike terror in the locality of their misdoings.
The predatory incursions of
the M'Gregors and other caterans of the Highlands into the towns of
Strathearn are graphically described in the "Poetical Testament of Duncan
Laideus alias Makgregour," one of their number, who flourished in the
sixteenth century: —
After the Act of Parliament
establishing the fair, there is little reference in contemporary records to
Auchterarder. The Castle and Barony continued in possession of the noble
family of Perth, which, during the eventful years of 1715 and 1745,
exercised its influence, not without effect, in the district in favour of
the exiled family. One of the most memorable events in the history of
Auchterarder was the burning of the town in January, 1716, by the Earl of
Mar, after the Battle of Sheriffmuir, in order to prevent shelter to the
Duke of Argyll's army, which in pursuit had to encamp amidst the scene of
desolation. This was an impolitic act, and calculated to exasperate the
public mind against the exiled family. The burning was accompanied by great
hardship, having been done during the depth of winter in a snow storm. The
sufferers, after great delay and protracted litigation, succeeded in
obtaining payment from the Exchequer of a pecuniary consideration, called
the "burning money," in respect of their losses.
After the Act for the
abolition of the heritable jurisdictions in 1748 the portion of Auchterarder
strictly burghal ceased to have titles completed in the burgage form. Until
that date titles were made up on burgage holding and resignations made in
favour of the Bailies of Auchterarder, who probably received their
appointment from the family of Perth, the proprietors of the adjoining
Barony. No burgh register existed, and the instruments were somewhat
anomalously recorded in the Particular Register of Sasines. A difficulty was
presented as to completing titles when there were no Bailies to receive
resignations or give infeftments; and so late as 1832 a petition was
presented to the Court of Session praying the Court to appoint Bailies to
the burgh of Auchterarder to give infeftment. The then proprietor of the
Barony, conceiving this was derogatory to his rights as alleged superior,
entered appearance, and the petition was withdrawn on the superior offering
to give a charter of the lands in question to complete the title.
The Barony of Auchterarder
continued in the possession of the Perth family until its attainder after
the death of James, Duke of Perth, when the lands passed into the hands of
the Commissioners of the Annexed Estates. Under their administration a good
deal was done for the improvement of the place. The Commissioners encouraged
the manufacture of linen, and they laid out the lands of Borland Park into
convenient divisions, erecting cot-houses thereon for the soldiers who had
been engaged in the German War. They also made a grant of the Girnal House
of Auchtcrarder for the benefit of the inhabitants. The lands were restored
to the Perth family in 1784, and were disposed of by Lord Perth shortly
thereafter« the Castle and the adjoining lands of Castlemains becoming the
property of the late John Malcolm, Esq., while the remainder of the Barony
was purchased by the Hon. Basil Cochrane, by whose trustees it was sold in
1831 to the late Lieutenant-Colonel James Hunter, who erected a
mansion-house thereon. He died in 1874, leaving the estate to his nephew,
Major Patrick Hunter, who, in 1887, sold it to the late James Reid, Esq.,
Lord Dean of Guild of Glasgow, and it is now possessed by his trustees.
The Castle of Auchterarder,
which is situated about a quarter of a mile to the north of the town, though
not of large dimensions, must have been a place of considerable strength. It
was surrounded by a moat, the traces of which are still visible. The only
remaining fragment is a part of the donjon keep. A carved stone is built
into the wall. Through exposure it is very much defaced, but it represents a
warrior seated in a chariot, and is supposed to be Roman. The wall is nine
feet thick. Some years ago the draw-well of the Castle, built around with
masonry, and of considerable depth, was discovered. The Castle is said to
have been entire until the end of last century, when a vandal farmer took it
down to build farm offices.
A Common of upwards of two
hundred acres in extent is situated to the west of the town, over which the
inhabitants from time immemorial exercised a right of pasturage. A Process
of Division was raised before the Court of Session in 1808 by the Honourable
Basil Cochrane, then proprietor of the Barony. This process was wakened in
1814, and again in 1841. Defences were lodged for the portioners and feuars,
and thereafter by the inhabitants, on the ground that, as the Common was a
pertinent of a royal burgh, it was indivisible, and the Act for the division
of commons did not apply. Litigation followed, and ultimately, in 1860, a
Bill was brought into Parliament and carried through for the vesting of the
Common for the benefit of the town in a set of Commissioners. Under the Muir
Improvement Act, 1860, the Common was reclaimed by the Commissioners, being
drained, trenched, and fenced. The debt incurred in the reclamation is
nearly wiped out, and it now forms a valuable source of public revenue. The
careful and economic conduct of the Commissioners since the Act was passed,
by which such a favourable result has been attained, is deserving of all
praise, and the gratitude of future generations.
In 1894 the ratepayers
resolved to adopt the Burgh Police Act, and the affairs and management of
the town are now entrusted to Police Commissioners.
Having given this retrospect
of the civil history of Auchterarder, we shall now advert to a few prominent
facts in its ecclesiastical annals.
The first notice we have of
the Church of Auchterarder is in the foundation charter by Gilbert, Earl of
Strathearn, dated in 1200, in favour of the Abbey of Inchaffray. By that
charter he granted the Church of St. Meckessock of Eochterardeour, and the
four other Churches of Aberuthven, Madderty, Strageath, and Kinkell. This
grant was subsequently confirmed, and the additional churches added thereto
of Dunning, Monzievaird, Fowlis, and Kilbryde.
As already stated, King
Alexander II. granted the teind of his duties of Auchterarder, and, by a
subsequent charter, amongst other grants he confirmed the grant of these
churches to Inchaffray.
William the Lion executed a
similar confirmation of the grant of the Churches of Madderty, Kinkell, and
In virtue of these grants the
teinds of the Church of Auchterarder were drawn by the Abbey of Inchaffray,
but, as a condition, the Abbey had to provide divine ordinances in the
Parish Church, and the cure accordingly was served by a vicar. The church
and parish were within the Diocese of Dunblane. The old parish church is
situated about half a mile to the north of the town, and, though roofless,
is standing nearly entire. It is a long, narrow building with no
architectural beauty. The foundation cross—a long slab with a Latin cross
thereon—was, a number of years ago, exhumed, and now stands within the
walls; while the baptismal font, which until lately stood ac the western
entrance, was recently removed for safe custody to the new parish church
within the town. The old bell is also there. Although small, it gives forth
a very sweet and clear sound, and bears the impress of antiquity. From the
titles of the Perth Estate, including the Barony of Auchterarder, the late
Duke of Perth was vested in "sancta campana de St. Kessog "—the holy bells
of St. Kessog.
The Church of Auchterarder
was dedicated to St. Mackessog, who was also patron saint of Luss and Comrie.
He flourished in the sixth century, and his day of commemoration was the
tenth of March. His legend and office are given under that date in the
Breviary of Aberdeen. Southward from the church a few hundred yards there is
a perennial spring still bearing the name of Mackessog's Well, and which
until recent times was resorted to for the healing virtue of its waters.
After the Reformation the Saint's day was kept on the 10th of March, O.S.,
as one of the principal fairs of the town, and so continued until a recent
In the Roll or Taxatio, made
up by Boyamund in 1275, in the Pontificate of Gregory X. (commonly called
Bagimont's Roll), of teinds collected in Scotland for recovery of the Holy
Land, we find that payments were made by the Vicar of Auchterarder of
eighteen shillings, and by the Vicar of Aberuthven, seven shillings. There
were received in the remaining parishes of the Diocese of Dunblane, within
the present Presbytery of Auchterarder, the following sums :—
The Abbot of Inchaffray,
twenty-four pounds thirteen shillings and three pence.
The Church of Strowan, fifty shillings.
The Chuich of Glendevon, sixteen shillings.
The Church of Muthill, twenty-eight shillings and four pence.
The Vicar of Dunning, twelve shillings.
The Vicar of Cask, five shillings.
The 'Vicar of Fowlis, seventeen shillings and four pence.
The Vicar of Strageatb, twenty-eight shillings.
The Vicar of Comrie, twenty-four shillings.
The Church of Trinity-Gask, thirty-five shillings and nine pence.
In the Diocese of Dunkeld.
Vicar of Crieff, five
Chinch of Madderty, fifty-three shillings and six pence.
The old church appears to
have been used as a place of worship until about the time of Charles I.
The tradition is that the
roof fell in on a Sunday after the congregation had left, and were returning
on the Brae of Bowhillock to Auchterarder. While the old church continued to
be the church of the parish, there was, at an early period, and anterior to
the Reformation, a chapel in the town of Auchterarder where the present
parish church stands. The croft at the back is still named the Chapel Croft.
The northern part of the present parish church and the steeple were erected
about the middle of the seventeenth century, the steeple being built of
stones taken from the old Castle of Kincardine, dismantled after the siege
in 1646. The southern portion of the church was added in 1784.
A mistake has crept in and
been perpetuated in ascribing the dedication of the old church to St.
Kentigern, otherwise St. Mungo. Dr. Rankin in his interesting and otherwise
accurate Account of the Ancient Churches of Strathearn, refers to this
dedication, and endeavours to account for it by supposing that there may
have been an altar or side chapel dedicated to St. Mungo in the Church of
St. Mackessog, but there is nothing to warrant such an assumption. There is
neither a side chapel on the outside of the building nor room within its
narrow walls for a side altar, and there is no historical evidence to
support such a theory. The error appears to have originated in a random
statement contributed to the New Statistical Account of Scotland, and
perpetuated by other writers, notably by Walcot in his Scoti Monasticon, and
by Bishop Forbes in his preface to the Life of St. Kentigern.
The dedication of the chapel
which was in the town where the parish church stands is likewise said to
have been to St. Mungo. This is also erroneous. The chapel was dedicated to
Our Lady. This appears from a charter dated 3rd December, 1477, by Simon
Wylde, burgess of the Burgh of Auchterarder, in favour of Agnes Wylde, his
brother's daughter, and John Young, her husband, of two crofts on the north
side of the burgh. One of the crofts is described as "Ilia proxima. capelle
nostre Domine," and the reddendo is "servicio et sustenlacione dicte capelle
sex solldos vsuahs munete Scocie annui reditus annuatim." This shows that
not only was the cbapel dedicated to Our Lady, but a stipend of six
shillings Scots was Imposed upon the adjaccnt croft for its service and
upkeep. Sir Alexander Hyrdman, priest, had then the next croft on the west.
It is evident that while the Church of St. Mackessog was the parish church,
there was a pro-Reformation chapel within the town; and while the cure of
the parish church was served by a parochial curate appointed by the Abbey of
Inchaffray, the burgh chapel had also a chaplain. Sir David Cardney was
curate of the parish church in 1520, while Sir William Ewinsone was at the
same time chaplain. In 1584 the chapel yard was used for holding the Burgh
Courts, a cognition for giving infeftment having been then held in it. Dr.
Rankin appears to suppose that the present parish church dates only from
1660. The present church was built about that time, but replaced the old
Chapel of Our Lady of unknown antiquity.
Although neither the old or
new churches of Auchterarder were dedicated to St. Mungo, he had a certain
connection with the parish as out of the lands of Craigrossie dues were paid
to St. Mungo's altar in Glasgow. From this fact the blunder of ascription of
dedication may have arisen.
There is incorporated with
the parish of Auchterarder the eastern portion of the parish of Aberuthven.
Aberuthven was one of the earliest ecclesiastical foundations in Scotland.
It was dedicated to St. Cathan, Bishop and Confessor, who flourished in the
eighth century. His festival was held on the 17th of May. The Churches of
Kilchattan, in Bute, and Fortingall, in Perthshire, were also dedicated to
him. Aberuthven was one of the churches appropriated to the Abbey of
Inchaffray by the foundation charter of Gilbert, Earl of Strathearn, before
referred to. The cure was served by a vicar appointed by that house. In the
charter it is named "Ecclesia Sancti Kattani de Abbyrothueuen." This charter
was confirmed, and other churches granted by a subsequent charter of the
Earl Gilbert. Alexander II. confirmed this last charter. Earl Malise
confirmed by charter the gifts of his grandfather, Gilbert, and the
confirmation of his father, Robert, Earl of Strathearn, and granted four
merks of the rents of his lands of Aberuthven, which the Canons of Inchaffay
were accustomed to receive previous to the year 1247.
Aberuthven continued a
separate parish from Auchterarder until some time after the Reformation. It
was united to Auchterarder prior to 21st February, 1618, and the minister
for some time thereafter occupied the manse and glebe of Aberuthven. The
parish of Aberuthven included the Brae of Foswell, south of the Ruthven, now
partly situated in the parish of Auchterarder and partly in Blackford.
Kincardine Castle, the seat of the Earls of Montrose, was within the bounds.
Aberuthven was the parish church where that family worshipped, and where
their remains were interred. The walls of the Church of Aberuthven —a long,
narrow building like that of Auchterarder—are still standing. On the south
side, and partly within the area, a four-square building, named "the Aisle,"
has been erected as a mausoleum for the ducal family of Montrose. The last
received within its walls was James, Duke of Montrose, who died in 1836.
This aisle was designed by Adam, the eminent architect.
At the east end of the
church, on the gospel side of the site of the high altar, there is a recess
in the wall, forming an ambry pf elegant form. It is evident there has been
a door upon it from the iron sockets which still remain. This was used for
holding the church utensils. Worship was continued in Aberuthven Church
until the end of the seventeenth century, as the funeral sermon of the
Marchioness of Montrose was preached in it on 23rd January, 1673, by the
Rev. Arthur Ross, the then parson of Glasgow, afterwards Archbishop of St.
Andrews. His daughter Anna, Lady Balmerino, was the mother of the gallant
Lord Balmerino, who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1746.
After the Reformation it was
proposed by the General Assembly, in 1581, that the Presbytery should be
erected as the Presbytery of Crieff. The Assembly, on 8th April, 1593, "ordaines
the Presbyterie of Duinblane to be transports to Ochtirardour, and ordainis
the Presbyteries of Stirling and Perth to establishe the said Presbyterie in
Auchtirardour upon Thursday come xv. days," being 19th April, 1593. It was
changed to Muthill prior to 18th January, 1633; but Auchterarder was resumed
At the Reformation the parish
of Auchterarder was supplied by David Murye, reader, in 1567. The first
Protestant minister in Auchterarder was John Hamyll. He was previously vicar
of Dunning, having succeeded there to his uncle, Sir John Hamyll, who from
his title was likely vicar of Dunning in the old church, and conformed to
the new opinions. John Hamyll was presented by King James VI. to the
Vicarage of Auchterarder on 28th June, 1563, and to the Vicarage of
Aberuthven on 1st March, 1582. He had also charge of Kinkell and Dunning.
John Graham was minister of
Auchterarder in 1G36. He was a member of the General Assembly at Glasgow, in
1638, at which the famous James, Marquis of Montrose, was representative
cider from the Presbytery of Auchterarder, he being then on the Covenanting
side. Mr Graham was deposed by the Commission of the Assembly on 27th
November, 1644, for speaking once to the Marquis of Montrose. The sentence
was taken off by the Assembly, 8th February, 1645; but he was again deposed
by the Assembly, 6th July, 1649. His prelatic predilections were attributed
to his wife being a descendant of John Hamilton, the last Catholic
Archbishop of St. Andrews.
James Drummond, son of the
Rev. James Drummond, minister of Fowlis, and a near relative of the Earl of
Perth, was successively incumbent of Auchterarder and of Muthill. He was
consecrated Bishop of Brechin on Christmas Day, 1684, in the Chapel Royal of
Holyrood. He is reported to have been a man of strict Protestant principles,
and a decided opponent of King James's interference with the Church, though
he, like most of his brethren, was a keen supporter of hereditary monarchy,
and took a decided part with King James when the most of his courtiers
deserted him. Bishop Drummond was deprived of his bishopric at the
Revolution, having preached at Brechin for the last time on Sunday, 18th
David Freebairn, the son of
the minister of Fowlis-Wester, was minister of Auchterarder from 1680 to
1686, when he became minister of Dunning. He was deprived by the Privy
Council, 4th September, 1689. He went to Edinburgh, and was consecrated a
bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church, 7th October, 1722, and died Primus
and the oldest Presbyter in Scotland, 24th December, 1739, in his
eighty-seventh year, and sixty-fourth of his ministry. "He was of blameless
conversation and sweet temper, while he was a vigilant preacher and a
successful physician." His son Robert was a bookseller and printer in
Edinburgh, and a staunch adherent of the Stuart family.
Andrew Duncan, D.D., was
minister of Auchterarder from 1781 to 1802, when he was translated to Ratho.
He was Principal Clerk to the General Assembly, and Moderator of the
Assembly in 1824.