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The History of Blairgowrie
Chapter VI

Ecclesiastical State—Parish 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.

Ecclesiastical State—Parish Church

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 800 people.

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 alive 1731.

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.

1881. RobertKemp,

M.A., from Glasgow. Rev. William Fraser.

Associate-Antiburgher Secession Church.

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, 1870.

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.

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 Church.

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 subjects.

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 Photographic Association.

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 Yorkshire.

St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church.

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 Michael M'Manus.

1889. John Malcolm, from Perth and Montrose, studied at Blair’s College and finished at Douay, in France.

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, resigned 18—.

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.

1809. John Miller, from Inverurie, died 1878.

1878. E. M. Tennant, from Alexandria.

Extracts from Parochial Registers.

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 Sermon.

“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:—

Fasts Ordered.

“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 land.’ ”

“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 Glasgow.

“28th Oct., 1652. Intimation is given of a collection ‘for the sadd condition of the towne of Glasgow, being half brunt.’ ”

No Session.

“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 parocli.’ ”

There are also several curious entries respecting parochial matters and discipline, and of a miscellaneous nature, a few of which are here noted:—

Applicant for Schoolmastership.

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 application.

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 Scots. ”

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 ordinance.”

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 Supper.

“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 entries.

“(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 Saturday—David Gellatly, Tho. Gilrutli, Ja. Chalmers, Ja. Skinner.

“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.”

Sabbath Breach.

“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.

Communion Cups.

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.”

New Schoolhouse.

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 a Sow.

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 dismissed.


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.

Schools and 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.

16--Thomas Blair, schoolmaster.

1st March, 1702—Mr Oliphant, schoolmaster.

24tli March, 1706—John Anderson, schoolmaster.

23th September, 1709—Alexander Stoddart, schoolmaster, from Dumbarnie, removed to Dunkeld 19th September, 1714.

19th December, 1714—Patrick Rae, from Ely, removed to Edinburgh March, 1716.

11th March, 1716—William Gelloch, resigned 9th November, 1719.

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.

1'841—Robert Johnston, deposed 1813 on joining the Free Church at the Disruption.

-A. Hislop.

-’James Douglas, left to be a minister.

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.)

1843—James Macdonald.

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 Kilbirnie.

School closed in 1879; Mr Malcolm transferred to new schools as Headmaster, 1879.

William Street School—South Free.

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.

Public School.

1879—John Malcolm, from James Street School.

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, Edinburgh.

W. Hamilton Bell, M.A., B.Sc., from Fort William, August, 1896.

Episcopal School.

Commenced by Mr Burton, followed by Mr and Miss Lothau, from Northumberland.

Miss Thomson, from Edinburgh.

Miss Anderson, from Craighall.

Dames’ Schools.

1836—Miss Kennedy, Granada Cottage, Perth Street, now occupied by Mr E. Geddes, artist.

L8&8—Jeannie Mackie, Rorry Street.

18--Mias Murray, Meadow Bank Cottage, went to Australia and married there.

18— Miss Robertson, High Street.

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.

Adventure Schools.

1833—James Macfarlane, school in Gas Brae, went to Canada 1835.

1838—Rev. Mr Buttar, school at Tannage.

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 front.

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 Street.

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.

17--Walter Rodger.

28tli June, 1713—James Blair, Murtown of Ardblair.

1714—James Blair.

17-John Blair, resigned 23rd November, 1774.

23rd November, 1774—William Curr, Muirton of Ardblair. 1780—James Duncan, Mair.

28th October, 1798—John MacLachlan.

1818—John MacLachlan (son of),

1849—John MacLachlan (son of).

1880—Robert Reid (in office at present date).

Town Criers—

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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