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Strathearn Takes Shape

In 1328 Robert I granted Auchterarder to the Montifex family, from whom it passed by dowry to the Drummond family.

Battle of Dupplin took place in 1332 by the River Earn south west of Perth. Edward Balliol and the 'disinherited Barons' with a force of only 3500 surprised and routed an army of 30000 under Regent Mar. 13000 of Mar's men are said to have been killed.

We have only glimpses of life in Strathearn in these times from documents. But Crieff had a mill by 1444. Sir David Murray founded a Collegiate Church at Tullibardine in 1445 - this remains unaltered.

James IV travelled through Strathearn in 1488 on his way back from his coronation at Scone. He stopped off in Blackford and tasted some excellent beer brewed from the waters of an ancient spring there. Today that same spring is used as the source for water for Tullibardine Malt Whisky, distilled at Blackford.

Drummond Castle, 4 kms south of Crieff, was founded in 1491 by Sir John Drummond under license from James IV.

The  Drummond family were to become central in Strathearn history from this time on. They descend from a Hungarian who accompanied Margaret, who married King Malcolm Canmore (1057-93), when she came to Scotland. The Drummonds, landowners in Stirlingshire, probably took their name from Drymen. They became Keepers of the King's Forests in Strathearn.

Sir John Drummond also founded a Collegiate Church at Innerpeffray in 1508.

Powerful local families fought each other. In 1511 the old church of Monzievaird, just west of Crieff, 'many' Murrays along with their families were burnt when Drummonds and Campbells set the building alight.

In 1559, Mary of Lorraine (Guise), widow of James V, negotiated the Treaty of Perth from Auchterarder. By its terms John Knox gained the first State recognition of Protestantism in Scotland. The religious troubles of this period resulted in much damage to church buildings throughout Scotland, thankfully many of the old churches of Strathearn came through largely unscathed.

Mary I - "Mary, Queen of Scots"Mary I ("Mary, Queen of Scots") often hunted with Darnley around 1565 in the Royal forests in Glen Artney, south of Comrie. This later inspired Sir Walter Scott to use Glen Artney in The Lady of the Lake.

In 1584 markets were banned to try to stem the spread of the dreaded plague. James VI was married in 1598.

A John Drummond from near Comrie was to provide venison for the feast. While hunting he was set upon and killed by McDonalds from Glencoe. They arrived at the Stewarts of Ardvorlich on their way home demanding refreshments. To her horror the lady of the house saw the head of her dead brother John and never recovered from the shock. Further on their journey, they met with McGregors of Balquhidder who sided with and swore to support the McDonalds. This act resulted in more than a century of slaughter and persecution of McGregors.

James VI inherited England in 1603.

Cattle raiding and reprisals between Clans was a way of life in highland Strathearn. Ardvorlich House on the south side of Loch Earn has been home of the Stewarts of Ardvorlich since 1589. In 1620 a Macdonald of Glencoe cattle raiding party were successfully repulsed by the Stewarts. Seven Macdonalds died and are buried near the house. The site is marked by a large stone.

Monzie Castle, a Campbell stronghold 3km north of Crieff, dates from 1634. These oldest parts being incorporated into an Adam-style house at the end of the 18thC.

In 1642 civil war broke out within our southern neighbour England between Charles I and Parliament. Scotland had no obligation to become involved in the war and was approached by both sides to support them. With it's Presbyterian Protestant religion Scotland's Covenanters agreed that in return for the setting up of a similar system in England we would enter the war on Parliament's side in 1644. The army swept south to York and was decisive at Marston Moor. Things at home however prevented advance further south . . . .

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, who had strong connections with Strathearn began to fight for Charles in Scotland. He destroyed a Covenanter force at Tippermore, on the eastern fringe of Strathearn, and occupied Perth. Few died in the battle but an estimated 2000 died in the following massacre - this puts Tippermore at about the same level of post-battle massacre as Culloden! He was a controversial figure, unpopular in most of Scotland at the time for having changed sides, never really trusted by Charles and he used mercenaries who had been thrown out of Ireland for their excesses there. Montrose later destroyed Aberdeen in a particularly vicious manner. His reckless campaign across Scotland is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of a higher proportion of Scots than died in World War II! He has often been portrayed in a positive light but my personal conclusion is that more likely his aim was to further his own status. He was later executed for his crimes.

In 1653 Drummond castle was almost destroyed by English Cromwellian forces during their invasion of Scotland.

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