Dunning Parish Historical Society in Perthshire Scotland has local Dunning history data including dunning village census and grave yard geneaology records Dunning history society logo text

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Never underestimate the determination of an audience. For example, our March 19 programme was well-publicised as "Pictures Galore" starting at 7:30 in the Village Hall , with a slide presentation from Kirsty and David Doig and the premiere of the Society's two latest videos. At 6:50, the power went out in Dunning. At 7, a van arrived with a large rear screen video-projector which had been booked at considerable cost. Then along with our steadfast locals came out-of-parish visitors (we always have several but that night there were more than usual), surprised to find Dunning dark. In a hall dimly lit by emergency battery-power, our committee ad-libbed, giving news of recent and coming events. Nobody went home. At 7:50, just as the committee was flagging a bit, the lights came on. With extra chairs needed, our determined audience eventually numbered 90 and enjoyed a splendid evening. Chair Ian Philip said for determination it reminded him of the gathering in St. Serf's in September 1995 when after hearing Rev. Colin Williamson tell of a secret plot to take the Dupplin Cross to Edinburgh for an unspecified time, our members instructed their committee to call immediate news conferences to foil the plan. The determination of that audience was pivotal in revealing the plan and eventually led to the present decision where St. Serf's is to be the permanent home of the Cross starting in 2001. Audiences...more power to them!


At last the Historical Society has a Website which can be reached by those of you with access to the Internet. The address is: www.dunning.mcmail.com Please let us know what you think of the new Web pages set up by Simon Warren and his Website/archives subcommittee! We welcome suggestions!


Our membership roll and hence our subcription list have not yet attained the size where we can print copies of this quarterly newsletter commercially. We therefore rely on producing copies by photocopier, with the kind help of member volunteers and the local school. This method naturally means we are limited in the type of illustrations we can use, and so in every issue we depend on the excellent black and white artistic contributions of talented members and others. And, of course, until now it has been impossible to use any of the many original colour photographs taken by our members.

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It is therefore with pleasure that we reproduce here for the first time one such photograph taken in the Village Hall early on the memorable evening of March 19 reported on our first page, an evening when members and visitors waited patiently for power to be restored to the village.

The picture was taken by member (and Society secretary) Patricia Wallace using Konica 100 film and available light. We thank Mrs. Wallace for her alertness in seeing the historical interest of the evening, in capturing the essence of the occasion, and in allowing us to use this first ever colour photograph which we have reproduced in six full years of these newsletters.



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--Pencil sketch by Ken Laing

This is the transcript of a talk to the March 19/98 DPHS meeting by Kirsty Doig

I first heard about the Ebenezer Stone when I came to Dunning in 1953.

I learned then that for some years previously Mr. William Corrigall, now deceased, along with a company and with a pedal organ strapped to a farm cart made their way to the Ebenezer Stone and there held a service. And I learned recently from Minna, Mr. Corrigall's elder daughter, that in later years, it was an accordianist who travelled with the worshippers to supply the music.

So where was the stone? And how did the pilgrims reach it?

Let's follow the procession. From Leadketty, it wended its way through the village, and then by Newton of Pitcairns to the Path of Condie Road. About two miles up the hill, with the Drum Wood on the left, a little short of Montalt Farm roadend, they turned off to the right at a junction of the old right-of-way.

In years past this went by Gatherleys and the three Balquhandys to the Muckhart Road. It was the route followed in later years by motorcycle trialists in the opposite direction.

The pilgrims followed the road to the Balquhandy Burn, crossed the burn and shortly arrived at the spot where the Stone then stood on Wester Gatherleys, now part of Middle Third farm. There they were no doubt glad to deposit the organ and after getting their breath back to hold the service.

The Stone has since then been moved. It stood on the bank of a water course. In the 1950's the farmer who owned the land wanted to pipe the ditch and reclaim the land. The stone was an obstruction and so it was moved downhill to a little triangle of land.

So to reach it today, you must after crossing the Balquhandy Burn continue on through the gate in the wall which is the march between Easter and Wester Gatherleys. Keeping in the same direction you will soon come upon the stone. looking like a 17th century headstone.

On one side of it are words from the Old Testament, from Isaiah 50v10

Who is among you that feareth the Lord,
that obeyeth the voice of his servant
that walketh in darkness
and hath no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord
and stay upon his God.

On the other side is an inscription in Latin:


And so here we have, not a headstone, but a memorial to a spiritual experience. And for many years this was known as the LUX stone "Here Light Shines".

Over the top of the stone is an Old Testament name EBENEZER which my dictionary tells me means "Stone of help".

Those of my vintage may remember singing lustily in their youth a hymn with the line "Here I'll raise my Ebenezer".

I have to go to the Old Testament to discover the time when first a stone was raised and called "Ebenezer" and this is what I find. It happened that the Israelites had defeated the Philistines in battle and Samuel, the prophet of Israel, raised a stone to mark the event calling it "Ebenezer".

However, Ebenezer was also the name of a place, where at an earlier date the Philistines had crushed the Israelites.

So it may be that Samuel gave this name to the stone to encourage the impression that defeat had been reversed, that despair had turned to hope. This stone has in fact been called "the stone of hope".

And so, having found out where it is and what is written on it, the question is now
Who had his path illumined at this spot
believed he now had a well-grounded
expectation for the future
and "here raised his Ebenezer"?

Dr. Wilson in his book on Dunning published in 1906 gives us hearsay eveidence about that person. He writes "The origin is said to be this, the farmer of Gatherleys who was also laird of the place had for long been in doubt and spiritual darkness and was hopelessly perplexed. Sitting here one day, he found comfort, peace and light."

Dr. Wilson wrote that the stone was on Easter Gatherleys when in fact it is on the Wester Gatherleys side of the March (boundary).

There is however another source of information about the identity of the person who raised the stone.

My copy of Dr. Wilson's book was given to me by the late Miss Jen Robertson of Townhead who died about 10 years ago aged 90. She would have been a most enthusiastic member of this Society.

Into the boards of the book she had glued a tract dated 1920, published by the monthly Visitor Tract Society. It is entitled "Light Out of Darkness, a sermon from a stone". It refers to Dunning's Ebenezer Stone. "The stone was erected by Mr. James Lawson, son of a small proprietor in Auchterarder, probably in memory of the time when he decided to study for the ministry of the Church of Scotland, after his father's death. James Lawson was born in 1747 and died in Leith on 17th August 1788. For 10 years he tried to obtain recognition as a preacher in the Church of Scotland, unsuccessfully, and during these years he was as well known as to be included in "Kay's Edinburgh Portraits", with the description 'the Job of the present day'. He was ordained to the Relief Church a few years before his death."

To find out more about James Lawson I went to the library and was delighted when the librarian brought from the archives 2 volumes of "Kay's Edinburgh Portraits". The sub-title was "A series of anecdotal biographies chiefly of Scotchmen". I had the popular letter-press edition of 1885.

In vain I looked for an etching or pen-portrait of James Lawson. Turning back to the editorial preface I read "In order to render the book thoroughly interesting from beginning to end, those sketches which are so very short as to give little more than a few dry facts regarding the life and death of individuals are omitted".

So, it is back to the Monthly Visitor which probably gained the information about James Lawson from "Kay's Portraits".

The "Job of the present day" tells us a bit about him for as we know Job was a good man who endured a continuous succession of sufferings and endless frustrations.

James Lawson may not have been a well man for he died at the early age of 41. And he may well have been frustrated that his experience at Gatherleys which, as the tract says, may have decided him on his course to make application to enter the ministry of the Church of Scotland was three times thwarted in 10 years.

He lived at the time when the church was divided by many seceding congregations (Burghers and Anti-burghers, Original Seceders, Auld Lichts and New Lichts and finally by a group calling itself The Relief Church formed to accommodate all those who wished relief from all the perplexity about doctrine).

It was in the Relief Church that James Lawson was ordained a minister and perhaps, for this Job, here he found relief.

There was a congregation of the Relief Church in Dunning on the site where Willowbank now stands. I wonder if he ever preached there!

And I am still wondering: was it James Lawson who raised the stone. Or was it the Laird of the Gatherleys. Or could these have in fact been the same person?

Whoever, I am sure that he would be pleased that Mr. Corrigall and his band of pilgrims and fairly recently a group from the Parish Church worshipped at the place where he "raised his Ebenezer".

-Kirsty Doig, 1998


Dawdle up the Dunnock at daybreak
Dwell of Dunning dreaming drowsily
Descend with dew-damp feet to the Dragon
Disturb deer deep in the Den
Discover a dark dipper dashing downstream
And delight in daylights dancing on the burn.

-Felicity Martin, Dunning, 1998


It's not often in Dunning Parish that we catch a glimpse of barn owls, those nocturnal flyers often associated with abandoned and historic buildings. Here, from the sketchbook of local artist Henry Hoey, is a view of this lovely bird.

Henry's Line drawing

This spring, a barn owl was spotted by several people in a wood near Leadketty, evidently nesting in a hollow tree. Our thanks to Henry Hoey for providing us with this timely natural history illustration..


by Arthur Wright

Here's another of the talks given by members February 19/98 telling about the history of the houses in which they live. The talks reflected diligent research and in Arthur's case included actual hard digging to get to the lade and the foundations of the old farina mill.


--Map dated 1853

Leadketty has changed over the years. In the past it wasn't divided up into eight different lots. It used to be one farm of approximately 216 acres belonging to Lord Rollo as did many of the surrounding farms. There were two principal settlements on the area known as Leadketty, the main one being the large farmhouse where Mr. and Mrs. Corrigall now live (along with the various outbuildings) and the other was the building where I now live with the farina mill beside it.

A farina mill was a building where potatoes were processed to extract the starch from them. The starch was then used during the manufacture of other products, for example by weavers to size their cloths.

The mill itself has had various names over the years and has been known as Kincladie Mill (after nearby Kincladie Wood, through which an entrance to the Mill ran at one time), Leadketty Mill, after the surrounding area, Farina Mill afer the manufacturing process and Tattie Mill (for those who were unsure of its purpose).

The mill and the house were built at approximately the same time during the early to mid 1840's, their construction with local sandstone giving them a similar appearance. The likely source of the sandstone was Muir Quarry at Duncrub. Fenton's lorry park is situated there at present, so if it disappears one day.......!

Line drawing

--Sketch by Arthur Wright of how the mill and millhouse may have looked.

The mill was about 28 feet wide and 89 feet long and although it is no longer standing, it and the house were similar in construction, the walls in both properties being over two feet thick. However, they were roofed differently. The house was covered with Scottish slate in keeping with other properties in the area, but the mill was covered with red pan tiles. The reason for this seems unclear, however I can only surmise that it would be for ventilation of the mill. A pan tiled roof has no boards or sarking. Across the rafters there were horizontal strips of wood about an inch square. The pan tiles were just clipped over these with the upper row holding them down because they weren't nailed. standing outside the mill and looking up, gaps could be seen beneath each row, so the ventilation would be quite good in a dirty dusty mill.

The waterwheel that drove the internal wheels and cogs was about four feet wide by twelve feet in diameter. It was called an undershot wheel and was unusual for the area. Out or eight or nine mills in the locality there was only one other wheel similar to this at Millhaugh Farm. The others were of the overshot construction. This was where the water was carried in via a wooden trough along the top of the wheel, and the water dropped down to it, thus rotating the wheel. An undershot wheel, because of the flatter ground, had a dam built behind it. This would cause the water to spill onto the back of the wheel, and so driving it. There was a sluice gate and bypass in order to give some form of control to the miller so he could regulate the flow to a certain degree according to production and close it down altogether when needed at night or for cleaning and maintenance.

The water to drive the wheel was supplied from the Leadketty Burn. It reached the mill via a lade or ditch. It would have been about four feet wide and in places could be up to twelve feet deep. There are grounds to suggest that the lade would be approximately 350 yards in length from when it left the burn to when it reached the wheel. All of it dug by hand!

There is also evidence of a second lade from the Dunning burn that may have been used during the dry years. It appears that it ran from just outside the village across what are now Mr. Howie's and Mr. Corrigall's fields. It would then have been carried by a wooden trough across the Leadketty Burn and then into the mill lade.

Access to the mill and house has not changed much over the years, the main access route still being the one we use today to Mr. Philip's farm. In the 1840's there was a second road that is just a track now and it has changed. It started at the entrance to Wellhill Farm (on the Perth Road) down the same farm road that is there today. It would have gone throught the stack yard toward the bottom of Kincladie Wood across the Dunning Burn, alongside the Leadketty Burn and crossed it just below the mill. In 1850 the route changed slightly by going through Kincladie Wood and bypassing Wellhill Farm. The different access roads would have enabled local farmers and weavers to deliver and collect raw and finished products.

From the 1840's to today there have been an approximate 20 tenants staying in the house. The first person listed was an Alexander Stenhouse, who came from Edinburgh and whose trade was given as a farina manufacturer. We presume it was he who established the mill and house. It would appear that he shared the house with a John Dougal who traded as a cattle dealer and Christian Anderson who was a house servant in the farmhouse nearby.

James Fenwick took over the farm from William Thomson in 1851 and he stayed until 1916. Throughout that time he leased the mill to various people, the longest lessee being John Niven from 1855 to 1863. The lease then passed to James Laing for the next years, to 1870. For the next two years the mill remained vacant, the next period of use being from 1873 till 1887 whereupon it rested again for a further couple of years. For the next decade there was a different person running the mill each year till 1900 when William McGregor was the last person to run it, till 1916. Between 1917 and 1930 James Bett took over the farm.

During 1923 Duncrub Estate was sold. However Leadketty wasn't sold until 1925 and James Bett then bought it. The mill building being described in the catalogue of sale as "a substantial dwelling house with disused mill suitable as cattle shelter". It then remained vacant from 1925 until 1930 when Leadketty Farm was purchased by the Corrigall family and then sold on to the Department of Agriculture in 1938 (which split the Leadketty Farm into eight smallholdings). At this point the millhouse received some renovation work and my late grandmother Mrs. Helen Cairns moved in and remained there until 1992. My wife and son and I stay there now and are still carrying out the renovation work started in 1938.

The house has survived better over the years than the mill which is no longer standing. It would appear that the end wall formed part of the lade wall but as the house stands now it is 12 feet from the lade. By digging I have uncovered the original foundation stones of the house. It would appear the house had another dwelling room upstairs with a cattleshed below it. This had a cobbled floor with a grip (run-off sluice) into the lade, so if you were wise you didn't drink out of the lade. There is also a fireclay trough in the corner which can still be seen today. In those days most families kept one or two cows to supply the family with their own milk: no gold top delivered to your door then. The gable wall of the house where the rooms were demolished is of brick and roughcast, the only wall of its kind in the house as the rest are stone.

-Arthur Wright, 1998


Here's just a reminder that the Society has for sale a number of interesting souvenirs of Dunning for locals and visitors.

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One seasonable item is the handsome booklet "In Full Swing", a history of golf in Dunning written by the late Barbara Gordon and illustrated with linocuts by Mary Thomson of Dunning, like that on the left.

We are also selling copies of Charlie Laing's booklet on places in Dunning, "The Way We Were", and we also have handsome leather bookmarks of Dunning designed by Albie Sinclair of the village.

And then there are our videos. We have a dozen titles for you to choose from, the latest being "Tradesmen's Tales" 19 mins, "Dunning 1997: A Year to Remember" 23 mins, and "Memories of the Kirkstyle" approx. 18 mins. Each of these cost £6.95 to members, £8.95 to non-members. For the same price older titles can be purchased at two for one and include "An Introduction to Dunning, Perthshire", "Tattie Holidays", "Tattie Memories", "The Evacuees", "The Return of the P.O.W.", "The Thorntree", "The Butler's Son", "The Patient Art of Fieldwalking", and "Dunning Flood 1993". Please telephone David Williams at 01764 684 232 or write him at Burnbank House, Kirkstyle Square, Dunning PH2 0RR.

Also available, for £1 each, are back copies of our newsletter, often containing articles, sketches and other items of interest to outsiders.


This is a clipping from the Perthshire Advertiser. The original is dated Thursday, August 18, 1970.

"Dunning Horticultural Society. This Society, which was established in 1865, under the distinguished patronage of the Right Hon. Lord and Lady Rollo, held its sixth annual competition and exhibition of flowers, fruits and vegetables, on Wednesday, within the policies of Duncrub Park. In addition to this favour, his Lordship not only caused his policies and picturesque gardens to be open to all, but also kindly gave the use of his handsome and commodious marquee in which to hold the exhibition, and engaged the Auchterarder brass band to discourse music during show hours. The day was of the most fascinating description, and the concourse of visitors in holiday attire, as also from the surrounding district, was large."

Thanks to the Perthshire Advertiser and to Mrs. Jessie Lester for passing along this and other clippings.


At the May 14 agm, the Society accepted the resignations of committee members Myrtle Potter, Alan McFarlane, Bill Peebles and Ian Philip. Then the meeting re-elected Ian Philip as chair, Liz Fletcher as vice-chair, Patricia Wallace as secretary with David Halliday as new treasurer. Continuing as members are Felicity Martin, Jim Smith, Peter Duncan, Simon Warren, David Williams and Ted Dorsett. New members elected this year are David Halliday, Dorothy Wilson, Brian Boag, Beryl Meadows, and Lorne Wallace. Special thanks were expressed to retiring members Myrtle, Alan and Bill.


Events Your Society has once again had a very active and interesting year. We enjoyed (or should the term be endured?) a rainy walk guided by Ken Laing and David Doig to the ruined Broadheadfold and Knowehead farms on a very wet mid-summer day. This was followed by the barn dance which again was very successful. St. Serf's Church was the venue for the next two events, the weekend flower festival and then Clan Rollo archivist Cameron Rollo relating the family history. Subsequently he gifted to the Society a copy of the family tree which can be made available to anyone interested.

Murray Blair, with his extensive family collection of Highland attire, energetically demonstrated and explained the evolution of Highland dress. The coffee morning with associated displays on village sports once again created interest and Ken and Anna Murdoch revealed the history of their house, Methven Castle, with an account of its restoration from near dereliction. We also had the opportunity to view their ongoing work, to most folk a daunting undertaking, with a visit last month to the Castle.

We are fortunate to have members willing and able to share their interests with us. Bob Palmer, from his extensive footage of local events, showed a video programme relevant to the DPHS. Peggy Smith, Janet Crowe, Felicity Martin and Arthur Wright told us what they had found out of the history of their homes. Then after a delayed start due to power failure David and Kirsty Doig recalled the Ebenezer Stone followed by a showing of the latest videos Tradesmen's Tales and Dunning 1997. We are indebted to Lorne Wallace for his time and effort involved in producing these videos. Please remember all previous videos are still available and copies can be made to order.

Highlights 1. The Flower Festival. After a hesitant beginning, it turned out to be a great community effort with most local organisations participating: a really memorable event. 2. The decision that the Dupplin Cross will finally be housed in St. Serf's Church under the care of Historic Scotland.

Other Activities We must thank Charlie Laing for his booklet "The Way It Was", the sale of which helped boost Society funds. The newsletter has been produced quarterly and the editor welcomes items of interest for publication. The website subcommittee led by Simon Warren now has a DPHS site on the Internet and will be starting up an archive of digitally stored information. The old schoolhouse room should soon be secured and we will be able to purchase and install our own equipment. All work done to date has been on members' own computers.

Finally the Society depends on its members' interest and support for continued success. The committee and other members have willingly assisted with the various activities throughout the year on occasions too numerous to mention and for this I thank you all.

---Ian Philip, 14/5/98


After lively debate at the May 14 agm, members approved the committee's recommendation of a modest increase (one pound to 50 pence) in membership subscriptions for next season (to meet anticipated operating costs) starting September 1/98. The new rates will be £2 for local pensioners and children, £4 for single local memberships, £6 for family members. The new out of parish subscriptions will be £4 for the U.K. and Europe, £8.00 for overseas.


Friday, July 17, 8:30 pm It's Barn Dance time again at Leadketty, where for the third year in a row our chair Ian Philip is kindly providing the venue for a traditional country dance, with music by the Ken Stewart Duo of Dundee. Tickets are just £3 and the dance runs from 8:30 pm to 1 am, with refreshments including a barbecue. Both previous dances were sold out in advance, so please buy your ticket early either from village shops or by calling Ian Philip 01764 684 269 or David Halliday 01764 684 026.

Thursday, September 3, 7:00 pm, St. Serf's Church. "Recollections of Old Dunning Parish" The setting is perfect, the performers highly skilled. Two well-known Dunning residents, church historian Kirsty Doig and actress Clare Richards team up in dramatic readings about Dunning from the news clippings scrapbook of a former St. Serf's minister, the Reverend John Thomson.

Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. "Innerpeffray". In Strathearn an enchanting but often by-passed spot to visit is Innerpeffray, where the ruined abbey and ancient graveyard are flanked by one of Scotland's oldest libraries.. In preparation for our outing there next spring, our speaker tonight is Ted Powell, the enthusiastic Innerpeffray Librarian who'll be bringing along some unusual articles for us to examine.

Saturday, November 9, 10 am Our annual coffee morning (and afternoon) on a popular theme yet to be decided.

Thursday, November 19, 7:30 pm, Village Hall. "Speaking of the Vernacular". Bruce Walker is a Dundee architect with a special interest in what's called vernacular architecture, the architecture of houses. He'll be spicing his slide-illustrated talk about the general history of Scottish houses with some specific comments on houses in Dunning.

Coming up: A lively illustrated talk by Dunning historian Ken Laing, another evening by members on Houses With Stories To Tell, and more big screen showings of some Society-made videos.

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