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The Clearances

Around the beginning of the 19thC, in the name of progress, the agriculture of all the Scottish Highlands changed dramatically. In came huge flocks of sheep and out went most of the population and their crofting way of live. It was the only life most Highland dwellers knew but must have been wretched, poor and short. The perpetrators of what is now seen as a crime were the local landowners, often the peoples own Clan Chieftains. In many places this was a time of eviction, house burning and worse - behaviour verging of ethnic cleansing.

In the late 18thC Glen Lednock above Comrie alone had a total of over 200 families spread among 20 small communities. Although the Highland Glens of Strathearn Western did not escape this 'revolution', it appears to have occurred without the violence. Possibly because the populace were close to towns they knew well and where industry was beginning.

However for many the only option was the same as for most Highlanders to the north - emigrate.

Sometimes they left in small numbers, maybe individual families. But often they left en-mass. In 1818 over 200 people from Western Strathearn left from Greenock on one boat for the New World. In 1829 60 families left for Upper Canada - Ontario and the area which includes Carlton Place, Comrie's present twin town. The Ontario settlements of Amulree and Glenquaich were named after their 'old homes' by the 300 crofters who moved their.

Up until this time Gaelic was the language of Highland Strathearn but with The Clearances it quickly ceased to be a first language.

The Disruption

In 1834 the members of the Church in Auchterarder began what was to lead to a split in the Protestant Church of Scotland for almost a 100 years. Local landowners had a legal right to play a part in the appointment of a church minister. This was rejected by those how opposed such secular 'meddling' in religious affairs. After a 'walk out' in 1843 the Free Church of Scotland formed with almost a third of the original Scottish ministers. They then gathered congregations and built their own churches. In 1929 the split eventually joined again. This explains the apparent proliferation of Church buildings in Scotland

Industry and Tourism

In 1838 malt barns at Castleton, Auchterarder were converted into a weaving factory and in 1873 power looms were introduced. In Crieff mains gas became available from 1842, the same year that Queen Victoria visited Strathearn. Victoria Terrace in Crieff marks the occasion. The railway arrived in Crieff in 1856 and mains water was laid from 1872.

In 1870 Crieff held it's first Highland Games .

The l9th century saw the beginning of tourism - hotels, large villas, fine public parks and Crieff became a fashionable holiday resort as the 20thC opened.

High Street, Crieff

Drummond Street, Muthill

Ruthven Street, Auchterarder

Thornhill Street,Muthill


Two foundations were established during the 19thC in Crieff.

Thomas Morison, originally from Muthill, had made a fortune as a builder in Edinburgh. When he died in 1826, he left money for an academy to be built in either Edinburgh or Muthill. It was not until 1860 that Morrison's Academy was opened in Crieff, in neither of Morison's suggested locations and with a different spelling with 'rr'. Morrison's continues to this day as an independent school.

In 1868 a large Hydropathic Establishment opened in Crieff, itself administered as a foundation. Crieff Hydro as it has come to be known, originally had a strong religious element - a fine of one penny was levied on any guest who was late for grace at meal times! Today it is a quality family hotel with wide ranging facilities such as sports, stables and golf and is the largest employer in Crieff.

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