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Saturday, 22 March 2008

Best Scottish Tours of Dron

Dron Parish Churchyard, Perthshire, Scotland. Dron is a small village at the foot of the North slope of the Ochil Hills. Dron in 1846, a parish, in the county of Perth, just over one mile from Bridge of Earn; containing 441 inhabitants. The name in the Gaelic tongue signifies a projection, a term descriptive of the locality in which the church and manse are placed. The parish lies a mile south of the river Earn, and, including a tongue of land in Dunbarny parish, penetrating it, measures in length, from east to west, between three and four miles; it extends about three miles in breadth, comprising 4100 acres, and of these 2600 are under cultivation, 400 in wood, and the remainder hill pasture. It consists principally of a tract sloping towards the north from the Ochil hills, which form the southern boundary of the beautiful vale of Strathearn; and exhibits a series of wellcultivated and inclosed fields, seen to great advantage by travellers passing along the high road. Some of the hills on the southern extremity of the parish are ornamented with extensive plantations of fir, birch, ash, and other trees, disposed in belts and clumps; and the remaining high grounds in this direction present in general a smooth and verdant surface. Several rivulets run from the hilly parts, and the Farg, which abounds with fine trout, after flowing, from its source in the Ochil range five or six miles distant, through a deep, narrow, and well-wooded glen of great beauty, forms a boundary line between this parish and that of Abernethy, and falls into the Earn at Culfargie. The Soil varies in quality according to its proximity to the hills. The lands verging towards the north are clayey and loamy, with some till, and produce rich crops of wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, turnips, clover, peas, and beans. On the higher grounds, however, the earth is more shallow and mixed with rock; the best crops in this division, consisting of barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes, are produced chiefly in the flats and hollows, the other parts being too much exposed to high winds for successful farming, and large tracts are wholly unfit for cultivation, and afford only indifferent pasture for sheep and cattle. The husbandry in general is of a superior character, and in progress of improvement, especially in regard to tile-draining, which is extensively practised, and is particularly adapted to the soil, it being for the most part retentive and clayey. The substratum is freestone, which is occasionally quarried; and the indications of the existence of coal are so great that many attempts to find it have been made since the year 1758, though without success. The rateable annual value of the parish is £4300.

The chief residence is Balmanno Castle, once the seat of the Murrays, baronets of Balmanno, and now the property of the nephew of the last baronet, who was killed at the age of twenty-two at Long Island, in the American war: the edifice, part of which is very ancient, is still in excellent preservation, and is considered a fine specimen of an old castle and mansionhouse. There is also a neat modern mansion called Glenearn. The high road from Edinburgh to Perth runs through the parish; farming produce is sent for sale to Perth, Newburgh, and Kinross, and large shipments of potatoes are made to London. Dron is in the presbytery of Perth and synod of Perth and Stirling, and in the patronage of the Crown; the minister's stipend is £180, with a manse and glebe valued at about £45 per annum, and £4 per annum in lieu of coal. The church was built about the year 1816, and is a plain neat edifice, beautifully situated on an eminence at the base of the Ochils, commanding extensive views of the picturesque scenery of part of Strathearn, the Carse of Gowrie, and the Ochil range. The parochial school affords instruction in the ordinary branches; the master receives a salary of £34, and his premises and the school-house have been lately rebuilt at a cost of £560. In the churchyard is the grave-stone of John Welwood, a celebrated minister in the time of Charles II., who died at Perth in 1679, and was buried here during the night. An old chapel with a burial-ground, formerly standing at the entrance of Glenfarg, has been pulled down to give place to the new Edinburgh road; and the ruin of another yet remains in the west end of the parish. On the southern declivity of a hill opposite the church, is a large mass of whinstone, about ten feet long and seven broad, and deviating from the perpendicular, called the rocking-stone of Dron.

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