Church and Ministers—Associate-Antiburgher Secession Church—Brown Street
Chapel—St Mary's Church—First Free Church—Free South Church—St Catherine’s
Church—St Stephen’s Church—Congregational Church—Extracts from Parochial
Registers—Shearing on Sabbath—Selling Aile in Time of Sermon— Fasts
Ordered—English Army in Scotland—Collection in Aid of Glasgow— No
Session—Applicant for Schoolmastership—An Indigent Baronet—Act Ahent Brydals—In
the Jouggs—The Boatman of Blair —Administering the Lord’s
Supper—Irregularities—Sabbath Breach —Communion Cups—New Schoolhouse—Poor’s
Rates Established— Sumlay Shooting Match for a Sow—Population—Schools and
Schoolmasters—Parish School—.Tames Street School—William Street School —New
Public Schools—Episcopal School -Dames’ Schools—Adventure Schools—St
Stephen’s R. C. School—Sextons of Parish ot Blair.
THE situation of the town
determined that of the Parish Church, which is situated close to it, yet, in
a parish of such extent as Blairgowrie, it follows that the church is
inconveniently situated as regards some of the congregation, but as its site
is nearly equidistant from the northern or southern extremity of the parish,
it is quite accessible to the majority of the inhabitants. The Parish Kirk
was erected in 1821, the foundation-stone being laid by Mr William M’Pherson
of Blairgowrie on the site of the old Church, which had become much too
small for the accommodation of the rapidly-increasing population. It has
within recent years been considerably improved by end porches, alteration of
the seats, and general renovation. The church is calculated to hold about
The parish manse was built
1771, but in 1838 the whole house and offices, with the exception of the
wing containing the dining aud drawing-rooms, were taken down, rebuilt, and
several additional rooms added to the house.
The glebe, including 5 acres,
which were given in lieu of a right of pasturage formerly enjoyed by the
incumbent, extends to about QJ acres.
The stipend about the year
1S40 was partly of money and partly “ victual ” in the following
proportions:— Money stipend, £100 Is 7Ad; meal, 71 bolls, 2 lippies, 2
pecks; barley, 62 bolls, 3 firlots, 1 lippy, and 3£ pecks, convertible into
money at the highest Bars’ prices of the year. . .
The Parish Kirk prior to the
Reformation belonged to the Abbey of Scone.
The following are the
ministers who have been placed there since the Reformation :—
16—. John Ross, A.M.,
graduated at the University of St Andrews in 1599 ; pres, to the Parsonage
and Vicarage I by James VI., 25th January, 1003. He went with a view to
attend the Assembly at Aberdeen. 2nd July, 1603, but arrived three days
after they had met, yet he approved of their proceedings; was summoned
before the Privy Council, 3rd October, and confined to the Castle of
Stirling; joined with 13 others in declining the authority of the Council,
24th October; was one of seven who were not again called, and liberated soon
after. He continued 11th September, 1631.
16—. John Ramsay, A.M., was
laureated at the University of St Andrews in 1634, admitted prior to, 19tli
April, 1649, and died in October, 1663, aged 49.
1664. Thomas Blaire, A.M.,
second son of James Blaire of Ardblair, took his degree at the University of
St Andrews, 28th July, 1656, presented by Charles II., passed trials before
the Presbytery, got a testimonial for ordination, 26th January, and was
admitted 23rd March, 1664, and translated to Bendochy in 1668.
1688. Gilbert Blair, second
son of John Blair of Balude, presented by James VII., 25th May, and admitted
12th August, deprived by the Privy Council, 10th October, 1689, for not
reading the Proclamation of the Estates, not praying in terms thereof, nor
observing the Fast. He still continued there, 17th April, 1701, and was
1702. William Stewart, A.M.,
studied at St Salvador’s College, and had his degree from the University of
St I Andrews, 23nl .July, 1697, licensed by the Presbytery of Perth, 21st
November, 1700, called 5th August, 1701, and ordained, 3rd February, 1702,
translated to Perth, 2nd charge, 9th April, 1721.
1723. James Lyon, licensed by
the Presbytery, 9th November, 1720, called 14th August, 1722, and ordained
4th September, 1723. He got a new church built in 1767, and died 22nd
December, 1768, in the 46th year of his ministry.
1709. 'William Dow, A.M.,
obtained his degree at the University of St Andrews in 1755, called 5tli
January, and ordained, 20th April, 1769. Died on 13th May, 1786, in the 18th
year of his ministry,
1787. James Johnstone,
licensed by the Presbytery of Perth, 29tli March, 1786, pres. by Thomas
Graham of Bal-gowan, in October, 1780, and ordained, 26th April, 1787. He
got a new church built in 1824. He wrote a Statistical Account of the Parish
in 1790. A marble tablet to his memory is placed in the Parish Church. He
died 12th October, 1836, aged 78. aud 50th year of ministry.
1837. Robert Macdonald,
licensed by the Presbytery of Perth, 8th June, 1836, pres, by Mrs Oliphant
of Gask and Ardblair, in February, and ordained, 15th February, 1837. On
joining in the Free Secession and signing the Deed of Demission, he was
declared no longer a member of this Church. 19tli June, 1843.
1843. Archibald Ochiltree
Greig, from Brown Street Chapel, inducted 4th August, 1843, and died 1852
Rev. William Fraser
1852. William Fraser,
licensed by the Presbytery of Perth, educated at Paisley and University of
Edinburgh, taking degree of M.A., 1845. Occupied chair of Moral Philosophy',
1845-40, at Aberdeen. Inducted 1852, and died 24th February, 1881.
M.A., from Glasgow. Rev.
There are few records
remaining regarding this church, except from the Statistical Account of
1796; it seemed to be a small body of 100 members.
It must, however, have
flourished considerably during the early years of this century, from the
fact that, about the year 1829, it was thought advisable to proceed with the
erection of a new place of worship. In 1830 that stance of ground situated
at corner of Brown Street and George Street was feued by John Brown, Writer,
Edinburgh, to John Lawson and others as trustees of the Antiburgher
congregation. A plain, substantial building of hewn stone was erected, with
sitting accommodation for about 430 persons.
For a few years it continued
to do well, but, owing to diminishing numbers, the body ultimately became
extinct in October, 1837. Mr Smith, minister.
The church was therefore
disposed of for £399 to the congregation of the Parish Chnrch.
Brown Street Chapel.
In 1837 the Parish Church at
Hill of Blair having been found to be too small for the accommodation of the
parishoners, and the chapel of Antiburgher congregation being then for sale,
subscriptions to the amount of over £400 were raised, and the chapel was
purchased in November, 1837, for £399.
The titles were disponed aud
assigned by John Lawson and others, trustees of Antiburgher congregation, in
favour of Sir James Ramsay of Bamff and others, as trustees of subscribers
of new congregation, 14th March, 1838.
The chapel was first- opened
as a preaching station, in connection with Parish Church, in December, 1837,
Mr Smith being asked to continue his services as minister, 3rd April, 1838,
at an accepted salary of £20 to begin.
While the congregation of the
Parish Church, at the Disruption, 1843, left the Establishment almost to a
man —along with their minister, Robert Macdonald—the Brown Street
congregation continued to adhere, and so prevented the entire disappearance
of the Establishment.
Mr A. O. Greig being elected
successor to Mr Macdonald of the Parish Church (deposed 1843), he aud his
hearers removed to the Parish Church, where he kept alive the almost
extinguished sparks of Established fire in the parish.
In March, 1840, a request was
made by the Sheriff-Substitute of Perthshire for the use of the chapel to
hold Quarterly Small Debt Courts, but refused. It was, however, granted on
19th June, 1845.
In consequence of the
Disruption, and the congregation removing to the Parish Church at the Hill,
the chapel was for a number of years shut up. In course of time, however, it
was reopened after thorough investigation, as a separate and distinct
charge, the constitution being obtained from the General Assembly in May,
The records of the chapel
from 1844 to 30th April, 1870, are awanting.
About the year 1882 the
chapel was found to be rather small for the increasing congregation, and
means were taken to have another church built and endowed. By the
beneficence of friends of the church, &c., this object was ultimately
attained. It was further found desirable that the parish of Blairgowrie
should be subdivided into another distinct parish allocated to this Church.
This was also carried into
effect by powers from the higher Church Courts, and on the 17tli April,
1879, Brown Street Church gave place to the quoad sacra Parish and Church of
St Mary’s Church.
A splendid site for the new
Church was obtained in Reform Street. Building operations were commenced
early in 1884, and, towards the end of that year, the foundation-stone was
laid with full Masonic honours by the Right Honouiable the Earl of
Breadalbane. The new church, of the early English style of architecture, is
in the form of a cross, the head being towards the west. It is comfortably
seated for about 800 persons. The windows in the alcove behind the
minister’s desk are filled in with beautiful figures symbolical of New
Testament doctrine, executed in stained glass.
At the north-east angle is a
massive tower, square, about 40 feet high, whence above this is an octagonal
spire, executed in stone, about 50 feet high, small columns with pyramidal
caps being at each square corner of the base. Altogether, both external and
internal, it presents a fine appearance, and, besides being an ornament to,
is one of the distinguishing landmarks of the town. In 1885, having no
further use for their old chapel, the trustees, acting for the congregation,
sold it, and it was converted by an enterprising tradesman into a
dwelling-house aud furniture saloon.
Mr Smith (of Antiburgher
Secession Church), continued 3rd April, 1838 ; died July, 1839.
Mr Cowans (interim), 1839.
Archibald O. Greig, elected
23rd October, 1839, resigned 29th July, 1843, and appointed to Parish
Church, August, 1843.
Alex. S. Willison, from
Auchmithie, elected November, J 1870, resigned September, 1876.
Robert D. Hutchison, from
Glasgow, elected 23rd April, 1877, translated to Persie, June, 1878.
Robert Stewart, from Glasgow,
elected 27th August, aud inducted 29th October, 1878. First minister of new
parish, quoad sacra.
First Free Church.
In 1843, during the struggle
of the Church with the State for religious liberty, the Disruption took
place, many hundred ministers leaving their manses and the Establishment,
and many thousands of the people the Church of their forefathers. At this
eventful time Robert Macdonald was minister of the parish, but he cast in
his lot with the Free Church (so the new section was termed), as f also did
many of his congregation.
For some time they worshipped
in a large tent, which was erected in the Glebe Park where the Public
Schools are now situated. Early in June of 1843 the Church was commenced to
be built, and it was opened for public worship in November of that year,
although not quite in a finished state. It is a very plain structure, oblong
on plan, with a square tower, and spire about 80 feet high, at the south
end. Internally it is arranged similarly to all other old Disruption
churches, the pulpit being to one side and the seats circling round with
radiating passages. To the south of the1 church are the old Free Church
Schools, now used as Sunday School, Prayer Hall. &c.
The manse is a very large aud
commodious building, situated in Newton Terrace, behind the church, aud
commands an extensive view over the town and .strath.
1843. Robert Macdonald,
deposed from the Parish Church (which see), 19th June, 1843. Called after
the Disruption by' the Free Church Presbytery of Meigle, he was ordained
minister of First Free Church, November, 1843. He was indefatigable ill
getting Schools erected in this community. He was admitted to the Free
Church of North Leith, 12tli March, 18.57. Had D.D. from University of St
Andrews, 12th February, 1870, retired 1886, and died 1893.
1858. John Baxter, M A.,
licensed by the Established Church Presbytery of Meigle, 4th April, 1831,
ordained to Persie Chapel, August, 1831, and translated to Hilltow n Church,
Dundee, 8th November, 1838. Cast in his lot with the Free Church, at the
Disruption, 1843, followed by most of his congregation, to whom he
ministered till 1858, when he accepted a call to the First Free Church,
Blairgowrie, where he was inducted 1st September, 1858. He had the honour of
D.D. from the University of St Andrews, 1881, and in 1887 was proposed for
the Modera-torship of the Free General Assembly. He died in 1892, in his
84tli year and the 61st of his ministry.
1891. "William Muir, B.D.,
B.L., from Glasgow.
Free South Church.
The Free Church (South) is a
chaste, although comparatively' plain, Gothic structure, consisting of a
principal nave about 85 feet in length by 14 in breadth, and from the floor
to the ceiling about 50 feet. It has a tower at the left angle 10 feet
square and 60 feet high, with clock gables on each square, and, rising 50
feet above all, is a tapering octagonal spire. The church as a whole, in its
external aspect and its internal arrangements, is such as secures in a high
degree the comfort of the congregation.
The church was opened, on 2nd
December, 1858, by the Rev. Dr Guthrie, of Edinburgh.
1858. Robert Taylor,
transferred to Loudon (now Dr Robert Taylor, Regent’s Square).
18—. Charles G. M‘Crie,
transferred to Ayr (now Dr C. G. M‘Crie, Ayr).
1874. Malcolm White, M.A.
St Catherine’s Episcopal
According to the “Statistical
Account” of 1790 there were 12 Episcopalians in the parish. There are,
however, no further records until 1841, when a congregation in connection \\
ith the Scottish Episcopalian Church was formed. Its founder, James
Marshall, chiefly at his own expense, erected St Catherine’s Church, at the
east end of George Street. It is a handsome Gothic edifice, built in the
early English style, and was opened in 1842.
Being intended as a model of
the style and form of ecclesiastical edifices previous to the Reformation,
it consists of a nave and chancel, the latter containing a beautiful window
of stained glass, ornamented with various devices relating to sacred
To the east end is a building
once used as a school in connection with the church, latterly as a Drill
Hall and Armoury of the Volunteers, and now as the' rooms of the
1841. John Marshall, from
Forfar: published two discourses on “ Christian Priesthood ” at the
particular request of Very Rev. Heneage Horsely, Dean of Brechin, Prebendary
of St Asaph.
18—•. J. Abbey, from Ireland.
Got a chaplaincy abroad.
18—. John Burton, removed to
Alyth and Meigle, and then appointed Provost of St Xinian’s, Perth.
18 — . Mr Minnikeu.
1809. Mr Richardson, from
England, educated at Cum-brae College, translated to Rothesay and Bletchley.
1870. F. W. Davis, from
St Stephen’s Roman Catholic
About 70 years ago the Roman
Catholics in Blairgowrie numbered about a dozen. James M‘Kay, then stationed
at Perth, came once a month, and they met in the old Town Hall.
Mr M‘Kay was the first priest
know u in Blairgowrie since the Reformation, and such was the prejudice
against Papists in those days that he was mobbed on the streets.
About the year 1835, finding
the numbers increasing, Mr M‘Kay purchased the ground in Bank Street, where
the church now stands. Two houses were built, and the upper flat of one was
used as a church until the present church was built. Mr M'Kay officiated for
a good few years, coming once a month from Perth aud Murthly.
He was succeeded by John (now
Dr) Carmont, Mho served the mission most successfully and efficiently for
about 30 years. It was through his zeal and energy the new church and
schools were built, and when he resigned his charge, in 18S2, the
congregation numbered over 600, the same as it is now.
Dr Carmont was succeeded by
Thomas Crumley, who was afterwards translated to Doune aud Dunblane. Mr
Crumley had a very able assistant for two years—Michael M‘Manus: but the
congregation was too poor to keep two, and that arrangement was given up.
Services were given
occasionally at Alyth, and at Wood-hill, in Strathardle, in a private
cliapel, the property of Mr Charles Trotter.
The present incumbent is John
Malcolm, a talented priest, who served a short time in Perth and Montrose.
He studied first at Blair’s College and finished at Douay, in France, being
sent to Blairgowrie in 1889.
St Stephen’s Church was built
by Dr Carmont, and opened with great ceremony, in 1856, by Bishop Gillies,
of Edinburgh, and Mr "William Smith, afterwards Archbishop of Edinburgh,
preached the opening sermon.
The interior of the church is
Gothic, and consists of nave and two aisles; the High Altar is in the
centre, and the Lady Altar in one of the aisles. In the other aisle a door
leads into the vestry, and the choir is at the south end of the church.
Several years ago, at his
death, Mr Charles Trotter of 'VVoodhill bequeathed that magnificent estate
of about 3000 acres, with mansion-house, policies, chapel, &c., to the
Diocese of Dunkeld.
18—. James M'Kay came from
Perth once a month and officiated till a resident priest was ordained. .
18.53. Dr John Carmont
appointed resident clergyman. He built the Church of St Stephen’s in 1856,
and resigned about 1882.
1882. Thomas Crumley,
translated in 1889 to Doune and Dunblane; was assisted for two years by
1889. John Malcolm, from
Perth and Montrose, studied at Blair’s College and finished at Douay, in
The Congregational Church.
About the commencement of
this century many good men throughout Scotland were led to think that some
special effort should be made to stimulate and advance vital godliness in
the country. Among the others, a few in Blairgowrie banded themselves
together for this purpose.
After various labours they
formed themselves into a small Congregational Church, and at length called
Mr Peter Grant, a student of Divinity in Edinburgh, to be their pastor. Mr
Grant and his congregation speedily erected a chapel, which, though somewhat
rustic, answered its purpose, and he laboured faithfully and zealously in
the village and country round about.
1807. Peter Grant, from
Edinburgh, died 1817.
1817. Mr Lyall, from Glasgow,
1834. John Tait, studied at
King’s College, Aberdeen; ordaiued in December, 1834 ; translated to
Newport-on-Tay, 1866 ; died 1896.
1807. Mr Dobson, resigned
1809. John Miller, from
Inverurie, died 1878.
1878. E. M. Tennant, from
Extracts from Parochial
The earliest Parochial
register now extant belonging to the parish commences in the year 1017, and
continues on to August, 1058. There is no register from this date down to
1702, from which time to the present the books are complete and appear to
have been very accurately kept.
The book or books in which
the register betwixt 1058 and 1702 was kept have been lost. In the more
ancient Session records there are several rather curious entries,
illustrative of the strictness of discipline enforced in the Presbyterian
Church, the internal discord and contentions which then distracted the
kingdom, and the rude and ignorant condition of the population.
Shearing on Sabbath.
“15th Oct., 1648. The
minister asking if there was any new scandal, the session declare that
George Clyde, Andrew Keay, and Walter Butcliart were shearing come the last
Sabbath, and George Watson did thresh on the last Sabbath. The kirk officer
ordained to summon them against ye next day.”
“20th Oct., 1648. The above
parties called, compearit, quho, after long denying, at last being
convinced, confessed ye breach of ye Sabbath, as they alleged, after
sunsetting. After ye minister had aggravated yair sinne by shewing yat ye
whole Sabbath is religiouslie to be observit not only in ye kirke but in
yair private families, the sessione ordain them to satisfie ye next Lord’s
day before ye pulpit in humbling themselves and acknowledging their breach
of Sabbath before ye congregation.”
Selling Aile in time of
“27th Nov., 1648. Sundrie
people fined and ordained to satisfie before ye pulpit, and ye sessione, for
ye suppressing of this sinne, upon the Lord’s day, doe also hereby ordain
that every tavern-keeper or seller of aile, who runs aile in tyme of sermon,
or ye whole day, in ane excessive manner to any, sail pay hereafter as much
as ye drinkers, toties quoties, it sail be frmnd they are guilty therein.”
“5th Aug., 1619. An ordinance
of sessione was made that the elders should search the taverne houses during
the afternoon service for contemners of the word.”
“12th Aug., 1649. The elders
being required to give account of yair diligence anent searching ye taverne
houses for contemners of God’s worship, reported that two of them had gone
through the town and searched and had found sundrie in their awin houses,
quho declared to them that they were presentlie going to ye church, before
yair coming to them. The sessione, therefore, to this end that the wicked
prevaricatione of these persons may be better detected, ordaine that
hereafter they search not immediately at ye beginning of afternoon service,
but betwixt ye closure of ye sermon and ye blessing, or betwixt ye last
blessing and ye Psalm, that such persons as then sail be found may be
clearly rendered inexcusable.”
10th Jan., 1654. One George
Ambrose having been called before ye sessione to answer a charge of being
absent from church and “ selling of aile ” on the preceding Sabbath,
appeared and gave the following curious account of the cause of his absence
from church:—“The said George Ambrose denyed that he sold any aile that day
in tyme of Divine service, and that the trow cause of his absence was that
he had but ane playd betwixt him and his wife, and that she had the use
thereof that day and was in church. Notwithstanding this naive excuse,
however, the sessione reprove him of his sinne and ordaine him to keepe the
kirke in tyme cummand under ye pain of censure.”
The records also contain
numerous entries of historical interest, such as intimations of fasts on
account of national occurrences, &c., of which the follow ing are a few of
the most curious:—
“16th Dec., 1048. The
Covenant and ane publick acknowledgment of the sinnes of the land were
publickly read before the blessing, and a fast for this effect intimated to
be keeped on Thursday first and the next Sabbath immediately following; and
ye Covenant intimated to be renewed on ye said Lord’s day according to ye
ordinance of the Commission of ye General Assemblie.” “ 16tli Aug., 1019.
The same day there was intimat and read causes of a solemn fast appointed be
ye General Assemblie to be kept throughout all the congregations of the
kingdom upon the last Sabbath of thir instant.”
The causes thereof were,
inter alia, the follow ing :—
“1. We are to mourne for the
continuance and increase of sinne and profanity, especially of the
abominable sinne of witchcraft, which abounds in ye land, as appears from ye
frequent discoveries thairof in all corners and quarters of the countrie.
“2. We are to afflict our
souls before ye Lord for the sad interruption of the Lord’s work in England
and Ireland, and for the sore oppressions of his people and such as ar
steadfast in his cause in these kingdoms by a prevailing partie of sectaries
in ye one and of malignants in the other.
“3. It is a matter of
humiliatione to us that our king had not as yet granted the just aud
ueeessarie desires of this kirke and kingdom for serving of religionn, and
that he hath made peace with Irish rebels who have shed so much blood of ye
Lord’s people and hath granted them the full liberty of Poperie,” <fcc.
“14tli Nov., 1649. Again
another fast w as intimated, one of the causes of which was stated to be ‘
ye pregnant scandall of witchcraft and charming within this part of the
“26th May, 1650. A solemn
thanksgiving is intimated to be keepit upon the 2nd of June, the next Lord’s
day, for that wonderful victorie over James Grahame and his associates, iu
the north, of late.”
English Army in Scotland.
“28tli July, 1650. Thar was
read from ye pulpit a declaratione of the General Assemblie in answer to a
declaratione of the army of England upon their march into Scotland, aud
intimatione of a fast given for the sinnes of ye land and for the great
danger the cause and work of God are into by the invasione of sectaries.”
Collection in Aid of
“28th Oct., 1652. Intimation
is given of a collection ‘for the sadd condition of the towne of Glasgow,
being half brunt.’ ”
“12th Dec., 1653. It is
intimated that there was ‘ na sessione, in respect the elders were withdraw
in in attending some of Glencairn’s soldiers who were ranging throw the
There are also several
curious entries respecting parochial matters and discipline, and of a
miscellaneous nature, a few of which are here noted:—
24th Dec., 1648. A
schoolmaster being required for the parish school, a person of the name of
Fittie had presented himself to the sessione as a candidate for that office,
and attended on them for several Sundays to obtain their decision on his
The following rather naive
minute at last occurs under the above date, from which it may be inferred
that the applicant had at length become rather importunate, and that the
sessione stood somewhat in awe of the bold “ tronpier.”
“Compear Mr Patrick Fittie
desyring ane answer. The session (he being removed) declare yt he was
presentlie a tronpier before he presented himself, and yt he was cashiered
as being upone ye unlaw ful engagement. The sessione resolve, calling him in
again, to discharge him in a fair way, in respect tlier was not a competent
provision yet agreed on, and ordained to give him ‘ twenty -foure shillings
A Twenty-Fourth Appearance.
“12th Aug., 1640. Compeared
James Ireland (adult) in ye public place of repentance (for the
twenty-fourth time), and his minister aggravating his sinne and exhorting
him to sorrow and grief of heart for the same, was continued to give further
evidence of the truth of his repentance.”
An Indigent Baronet.
“17th Feb., 1650. Given this
day to Sir Robert Moubray, sometime laird of Barnboagal, now become through
‘ indigence ’ ane poor supplicant, tweuty-foure shillings.”
Act anent Brydals.
“24th Feb., 1650. The
Presbytery Act anent brydals, ordaining thair snld not be above eight
persons in ye side, that thair sauld be no debaucht pypars, nor fiddlers,
nor promiscuous dancing, nor excessive drunkennesse, likewise intimate out
of ye pulpit.”
In the Jouggs.
“19th July, 1650. The
minister inquiring if thir was anie new scandall, it was declared be some
yat Andro Malclire had most dispytefullie and devilishlie railed against ye
sessione, cursing minister and elders. The said Andro ordained to evidence
his repentance iu face of the congregation, but proving refractory and
contumacious was put ,;nto the jouggs’ till he agreed to obey the former
The Boatman of Blair.
“11th Oct., 1713. Robert
Bennet, boatman at Blair, received moneys from the collection bag for
mending his boat, in regard he gets much trouble from the people of the
paroch and others passing to the Church.”
Administering the Lord’s
“11th March, 1719. Session
constituted according to appointment. And taking into consideration how to
go about this work in administering the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and
how to demean ymselves in this weighty affair, do hereby order yt up the
Sabbath day that:—
“(1). Tho. Spankie and
William Soutar take care of the elements and serve ym up to the table.
“(2). James Chalmers to take
care of the Isle door.
“(3). Yt William Turnbull and
Tho. Gilrutli wait upon the High Church door.
"(4). Yt David Gellatly and
Tho. Soutar attend the collection at the churchyard style.
“(5). Thom. Soutar is
appointed to take care yt none come into the churchyard but at the ordinary
“(6). Tho. Saunders and John
Fferqusone are to wait upon the east door.
“(7). Pat. Mackie and James
Reid to wait upon the collection at the tent, upon the Sabbath day, on the
west side, and Andrew Chaplin on the east side.
“(8). Charles Robertsone to
wait upon the collection att ye east end of the churchyard dyck.
“(9). James Skinner to take
charge of the west door.
“(10). The collection is
ordered to be gathered att the churchyard style and east of the churchyard,
if sermon be in the church upon the rest of ye days, and if in the tent the
elders are to take yr posts timeously.
“These to gather the
collection on the Fast day are John Fferqusone, Tho. Saunders, Tho. Spankie,
Wm. Turnbull. .
“Upon Monday—Ja. Reid, Andrew
Chaplin, Tho. Soutar, Pat. Mackie.”
“20th Dec., 1743. The session
being informed that Isabel Cirkgill in Skermic had been guilty of some
irregularities on the Lord’s day, and, understanding that she was waiting
on, desired their officer to call her, who, on being called, compeared and
confessed herself gnilty of some indecencies about one of her sheep that was
worried on Sabbath morning, for which she was rebuked and exhorted to
repentance and dismissed.”
“18th Nov., 1744. John
Cochran, in ground of Gormak, compeared and confessed himself guilty of
Sabbath breach by turning over peese which were rotting \\ itli the great
rains they had got, whereupon the minister seriously exhorted him, rebuked,
and dismissed, with certification.
“6tli Oct., 1745. William
Owlai and Margaret Lammer, in ground of Dvumlochie, ‘ confessed themselves
guilty of Sabbath breach by scolding and fighting with each other in the
fields,’ were ‘ sharply ’ and ‘ gravely ’ rebuked by the Moderator, and
exhorted to repentance and better behaviour.”
31st Aug., 1740. Reported
that “on our late Fast Day before the Sacrament, Donald Scot, in AVoodsyde,
did, with his shearers, employ the whole day in cutting down his corn, which
gave great offence to all around him.”
14th Sept., 1746. Scot
appeared, “confessed he had sinned and given offence, and resolves never to
be guilty of any such practices for the future,” was rebuked and dismissed.
16th Sept., 1771. Gift of two
silver cups for the use of the Church at the Communion, with the following
inscription on each :—“ This cup was gifted to the Church of Blairgowrie by
George Soutar, merchant in Blairgowrie, Sept. 6th, 1771.”
11th Sept., 177*2. The plan
of new school and teacher’s house was laid before the session, which the
schoolmaster offered to build (except the plaster work) and finish for £15.
Poors’ Rates Established.
1776. The heritors agreed
that poors’ rates be established, and that, after applying the interest of
the poors’ funds, the sum necessary should be levied, one half from the
heritors and the other half from the tenants according to their
circumstances. The levying of the tenants’ portion was found extremely
difficult aud, in course of time, had to be abandoned.
Sabbath Shooting Match for
27th Dec., 1780. Reported
“James Duncan Mair, officer in Hill of Blairgowrie, proclaimed last Lord’s
Day, after the dismission of the congregation, that there was a sow to be
shot for on same (lay of the week thereafter, and that James Rattray, at the
Mills of Rattray, was the owner thereof, which thing the session considering
as a breach of the Lord’s Day, and that it gave general offence, they hereby
appoint both persons to be summoned against next Lord's Day, that the matter
be enquired into. '
Next Lord’s Day accordingly,
both parties “ compeared, confessed they had done wrong, were seriously
exhorted, and promised not to be guilty of the said crime again,” and were
11th Aug., 1801. “On account
of the great scarcity of provisions for the last two years, and its having
been alleged by persons of high station that the proportion of land in the
kingdom, under cultivation, was not able to support the increasing
population in commumbus a,inis, to ascertain this fact and for other
important considerations, the Legislature passed an Act for taking an
account of the population of the kingdom.
“An abstract of the
population of the parish was given by me. this day upon oath; a copy of
which abstract is, by said Act, ordered to be kept by every schoolmaster and
delivered to their successors in office, therefore I have stitched a copy of
my abstract in this place that it may be preserved along with the book.
(Sgd.) “Peter Forbes, Session
Clerk.” The abstract is endorsed by Thomas Whitson, Clerk of the Peace, aud
shows there were in the parish 390 houses, occupied by 447 families; and 28
unoccupied houses, only two of which were in the village; that the
population of the parish consisted of 882 males 1032 females—Total, 1914
Of these, 322 were engaged
chiefly in agriculture; 281 chiefly in trade, manufacture or handicraft;
“all other persons,” including all the women in the parish, numbering 1311.
Schoolmasters—The Parish School.
The earlier parish registers
being lost, there are no authentic records about the school and its masters
until the beginning of the 18tli century. The sehoolliouse for a long period
of years was .situated where the smithy in Upper Allan Street now stands,
end to end with the teacher’s house. In 1710 we have it recorded that the
schoolhouse was repaired, and on 3rd July, 1714, there is a notice of “ ane
account ordered to be paid to David Reid of Blair, ten shillings, to
subscribe a disposition of the school and sclioolmrs house,” which the
session had bought from a Joseph Watsone for one hundred pounds Scots, out
of the poor box. The schoolmaster had to undertake to keep the school and
house in proper repair unless relieved by the session. In 1717 it was
rethatched by order of kirk session, at a cost of nearly 20 pounds Scots,
and again iu October, 1721. it seems to have got a new roof, as the
following account notes :—
(The error in the “Summa" is
due to the Session Clerk.)
On the 11th September, 1772,
a new school and schoolmaster’s house was built, 32 feet long and 15 feet
wide, within the walls, two stories high, the schoolmaster building the
same, except the plaster work and lath, for forty-five pounds, getting the
use of the materials from the old school and upholding the new buildings at
his own expense duriug his incumbency.
On the 4th November, 1803,
the schoolmaster’s salary was fixed at 400 merks Scots, with £1 Is yearly
for a garden, besides a small garden possessed by him, with schoolhouse and
close belonging thereto.
The school continued to be
held in Upper Allan Street until the year 1840, when the kirk session built
and opened a new Parish School at top of John Street, which continued to be
used as a parish school until it was closed in 1879, after the opening of
the new schools. The Parish School was latterly sold to the congregation of
St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church, who still conduct it as a school.
1st March, 1702—Mr Oliphant,
24tli March, 1706—John
1709—Alexander Stoddart, schoolmaster, from Dumbarnie, removed to Dunkeld
19th September, 1714.
19th December, 1714—Patrick
Rae, from Ely, removed to Edinburgh March, 1716.
22nd November, 1719—David
Ogilvy, from Bendochy, dismissed 1742.
123th August, 1742—Alex.
Badenach, from Kingoldrum, appointed minister of St Martins, 1750.
11th February, 1750 — David
Kermock, resigned 1st December, 1752.
"lOtli December, 1752—Andrew
Haly, from Methven, resigned 17—.
4th December, 1760—William
Dow, elected minister of the parish, 20th April, 1769.
21st June, 1769—Thomas Mac-Glashan,
from Bendochy, resigned 17—.
9th July, 1798—Peter Forbes,
from Murroes, resigned 1804.
16th November, 1801—Thomas
Soutar appointed [went to College 1806], assisted by David Wilkie, Robert
Johnston, A. Hislop, James Douglas.
1806—Interim teacher, Robert
Robertson, student of Edinburgh University, started business as lawyer,
appointed first Bank agent in the town, 17th August, 1832.
Parish School—John Street.
deposed 1813 on joining the Free Church at the Disruption.
-’James Douglas, left to be a
1846—Peter Sturrock, from
Fife, continued till 1879, when Parish School closed, He retired with a
yearly pension of <£60, and died 1895.
James Street School—First
Free. (First year at top of Jessie Street.)
18— Mr Reid.
18---Mr Donald Sinclair.
1851—Mr John Inch, from west
of Scotland, died 1867.
1867—Mr John Geddes (left to
be a minister), a few months only.
1867—Mr John Malcolm, from
School closed in 1879; Mr
Malcolm transferred to new schools as Headmaster, 1879.
William Street School—South
Several gentlemen in
Blairgowrie banded together and procured a teacher who taught for some time
here, but, ultimately, during Rev. C. M'Crie’s incumbency, it was opened in
connection with the church.
1865—Mr Binnie; retired after
9 months; appointed Inspector of Schools.
August, 1866—John Barbour.
School closed in 1879; Mr
Barbour transferred to new schools.
New Public School.
Some years after the
introduction of School Boards for the management of school affairs and the
superintendence of education, the schools originally in connection with the
various churches—the Parish, First- Free, and South Free— were shut up, and
new School Buildings were erected, and opened on 19tli August, 1879, at a
cost of over £6000. Since that time considerable additions and improvements
have been effected on the buildings, and they are now considered a
well-equipped educational institution.
1879—John Malcolm, from James
1879—John Barbour, from
William Street, School.
1884—John Malcolm, resigned.
1884—D. H. Lowsou, M.A.,
removed to Perth, 1887.
1887—D. S. Oalderwood, M.A.;
appointed in 1896 Principal of Established Church Training College,
W. Hamilton Bell, M.A.,
B.Sc., from Fort William, August, 1896.
Commenced by Mr Burton,
followed by Mr and Miss Lothau, from Northumberland.
Miss Thomson, from Edinburgh.
Miss Anderson, from Craighall.
1836—Miss Kennedy, Granada
Cottage, Perth Street, now occupied by Mr E. Geddes, artist.
L8&8—Jeannie Mackie, Rorry
18--Mias Murray, Meadow Bank
Cottage, went to Australia and married there.
18— Miss Robertson, High
18--Miss Amelia Brodie, above
J. L. Ford’s shop, High Street.
18--Miss Jeannie Brodie, in
same place, and afterwards in James Street.
18--Misses Chalmers, at
Ericlitside, now the Station Hotel, removed to Greengait, Rattray.
1833—James Macfarlane, school
in Gas Brae, went to Canada 1835.
1838—Rev. Mr Buttar, school
1839—John Hunter, High
Street. This building still remains, opposite 61 High Street, and till
within a few years past the name Hunter was to be seen pain tea on the stone
1810—A. M'Donald, Gas Brae.
1812—James Johnstone was a
grocer in shop in Allan Street (John Maclaren’s property, now demolished);
kept a school in Martin’s Lane; delivered lectures on astronomy in old
Parish School; for many years teacher of half-timers at the Haugh.
18-- Wyllie, in Jessie
Street, built Wyllie’s land, now Kinloch Place.
18--Campbell, in Gas Brae,
was previously rector
of Grammar School, Dunkeld.
He mysteriously disappeared.
1869—P. Grant, M.A., Brown
St Stephen’s R. C. School.
The schools beside the
church, now used as a liall, were built by Dr Carmont in 1856. During Father
Crumley’s incumbency the congregation purchased from the School Board the
Parish School at top of John Street, where education in all its branches is
carried on under certificated teachers, the Government Inspector’s report
being always favourable.
Sextons op Parish of Blair.
28tli June, 1713—James Blair,
Murtown of Ardblair.
17-John Blair, resigned 23rd
23rd November, 1774—William
Curr, Muirton of Ardblair. 1780—James Duncan, Mair.
28th October, 1798—John
1818—John MacLachlan (son
1849—John MacLachlan (son
1880—Robert Reid (in office
at present date).
28th October, 1798—John
MacLachlan, died 1818.
1818—John MacLachlan (son
of), died August, 1848. August, 1848—Francis Law, died February, 1849.
January, 1849—Alex. Reid (Posty), for three weeks.
9th February, 1849—John
MacLachlan (in office at present date.)
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