are a large number of estates along this stretch of Tay, some of them
ancient, such as Ballechin, Pitnacree, Pitcastle, Derculich--which has its
own quite large loch, high amongst the braes to the north--and Edradynate.
Opposite on the south bank are the villages of Balnagard, Grandtully and
Little Ballinluig--not to be confused with the better-known Ballinluig
Station on the main A.9 highway 5 miles to the east--all attractively
situated. At Ballinluig is situated the house that was the famous Daniel
Stewart's first Free School. Grandtully is especially interesting, with
both a splendid castle and a unique ancient church.
Grandtully Castle lies, quite easily seen from the road, to the west, in a
fine wooded estate, a tall and shapely tower-house of the later s 6th
century, but with a much older nucleus and later additions. It is a seat
of the Steuart-Fothringham family, the Stewarts having been here since the
late 4th century, descending from Alexander 4th High Steward of Scotland.
In 1626 Sir William Stewart, Sheriff of Perth, made various alterations,
especially to the picturesque turreted roof-line. Occupying a strategic
position, Grandtully was much in demand as a headquarters for commanders,
Montrose, General Mackay, Argyll, Mar (of the '15) and Prince Charles
Edward all using it. An officer of Mackay's is said to have been shot dead
in one of the angle-turrets, the blood allegedly permanently staining the
floor. More recently, the famous Admiral Earl Beatty was tenant here; and
another shooting-tenant, the Maharajah Duleep Singh, distinguished himself
one August Twelfth by personally shooting no fewer than 220 brace of
grouse in one day.
The former ancient church of St. Mary is less well known than it deserves
to be. Set rather remotely on higher ground half a mile south-west of the
castle, it has a wonderfully scenic position with glorious views. No
longer used as a place of worship, it is now in the care of the Ministry
of Works. Like Weem and others, it is divided into two separate portions.
It was endowed by Sir Alexander Stewart of Grandtully in 1533, and
restored in 1636. Its main southern section is most unusual in having a
barrel-vaulted roof, lined with timber, which is brilliantly painted in
tempera, with renaissance decoration, heraldic panels and portraits of the
evangelists and other Biblical subjects. It commemorates Sir William
Stewart who died 1646, and his wife Dame Agnes Moncreiff. Included in the
heraldry are the arms of 'the Duik of Lennox and the Earle of Athiol',
both Stewarts. This part is now very ill-lit with one small window--though
artificial light is provided; but other windows in the west wall have been
built up. The door into the northern portion has had a lintel inscribed
s.w.s. D.A.M. 1636. A stone circle and a standing-stone are to be found
down near the main road.
kindly supplied by Scot Travel