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

DPHS Logo 17kb



To complete the Society's 1st year and our 4th newsletter we take you back 100 years with a quaint depiction of football as it was once played in Dunning; you won't have to be a football fan to enjoy reading this. We have lots of fascinating recollections from our postal members planned for coming newsletters.

It's time now to resume your Society membership for "93-94". The same low rates apply: postal members £7-50 overseas, £5 U.K.; locally £5 family, £3 for individuals, and £1 for seniors and children. Please send your renewal to treasurer Mrs. Jane Young, Meadowland, Newton of Pitcairns, Dunning PH2 0SL or to other committee members who this year include chair Lorne Wallace, vice chair Colin Young, secretary Judi Slater, Shona and Albie Sinclair, Ken Laing, Janet, Catherine and Louise Crowe, Finella Wilson, Patricia Wallace, Jill Tanner, Sheena Proff and Kirsty McNab.

The Autumn programme is listed on the back page. It's an even fuller year than last, with much more to come in Winter - Spring '94.


A fascinating look at the history of football played in Dunning taken from "Football in Perthshire: Past and Present", written by Peter Baxter in 1898.

It is a peculiarity of Dunning people that when they journey to the county town they usually join the train at Forteviot Station. Such shows a want of proper respect for their own name, some may say; perhaps that may be so, but in the days when there were no railways and when Perth was the central mart for the handloom manufacturers of Dunning, the villagers always went and came by Forteviot, and although the inhabitants of the present day have a station all to themselves, yet it is in such a contrary direction that use and wont, even among the young, carried the day, and Dunningers cheerfully walk three miles instead of two for the pleasure of a good road, and the saving of three pence. The visitor to Dunning who prefers to follow the example of the ordinary villager, walks along, captivated by the nearness of the green Ochils, till suddenly, after a short climb, he sees before him an ivy-covered Norman tower surrounded by a sweet village. But Dunning has also seen stormy times. "The Thorn Tree", in the centre of the village square, was planted to commemorate the burning of the town by the Highlanders in their retreat from Sheriffmuir. The times of peace have, however, predominated, and football has been played in the district from a very early period. In fact, the first playing of the game is lost in the traditions of the village. With certainty the game can be traced back for at least 150 years, which gives us 1747-8, when the inhabitants disported themselves at the "ba'," apart from any club or organisation. The Green, or Common, then existing and situated at the Back Wynd, and extending to the Burn to the north-east of the Parish Churchyard, seems to have been the resort, the front portion of the graveyard being sufficient in olden times for the needs of the parish as regards sepulture. Tradition tells of the great feats in kicking done on the spare ground. It is said that one David Cunningham, who resided in "The Dragon", could kick the ball over the kirk. "Eh, me, he wis a graund hand! Nane could beat Dauvid at kicking o' the ba'." David must have been a modern Samson. It is supposed that in David's day the north aisle of the church was not built. It would be an astounding feat to do such a thing in the present day. An ancient custom that held sway in Dunning was "Ba' Money" for the scholars. This existed long before the advent of the parochial system of education, or the more modern School Board system. Some of the older inhabitants still remembered the custom. When a couple got married and were leaving or coming into the village, the "Ba' Money" (eighteen pence) was demanded, and paid. Each couple were "mulet" in the 1s 6d, and no remission was made on account of being a widow or widower. The practice in Dunning coincides with that of the Guildry Incorporation of Perth about the same time. The earliest information leads to the opinion that the game was played among the parishioners, rather than parish against parish. In these days there were no goalposts, nor any specially prepared apparatus of any kind, other than a line drawn to define the distance of the contending parties. This line was further marked by some big stones or small pins placed in the ground. It was quite common for a field to be selected with a wall at the end, and, if possible, two trees some 9 feet to 12 feet apart, and to have only one goal - a sort of single wicket football. But where the park permitted, even although the extent might be a large one, there were "goaling trees" at both ends. The game was decided, as now, by time. Players were allowed to kick or run with the ball as in present Rugby. Matches were generally played on Han'sel Monday on Gallet-Knowe (Gallows-Hill). Line drawing 5.4kb The first attempt at using goal-posts was in 1832, at the passing of the first Reform Bill. At that time a company of the 78th Highlanders was stationed at Dunning. They had a regular guard-house, leading off from the Tron Square. The Highlanders used to indulge in the game, and at the time to which we refer, great preparations were made for a match between two sides in the company, which duly came off on the Crofts Farm. A resident of Dunning yet alive remembers seeing the white poles at each end of the field. The result of the game cannot be given, as in those days the soldiers were thought not to be "canny", and the inhabitants kept well back from the play. Some 55 or 56 years ago a great game took place among the villagers on Han'sel Monday in a park almost directly opposite that where the Highlanders played. The players were all heavy weights, and the game was long remembered on account of the number of kicks, falls, and tumbles received. Some years later a stubborn contest took place on Kelty Castle estate, then owned by the Drummonds (now Lord Rollo's) in a field on the "Dookit Lane", between teams from "The Dragon" and "Dunning". The game was one of extraordinary keenness as well as stubbornness, and so well matched were the players in eagerness for the honour of their respective sides that after "five hours" duration neither party had scored a goal. The players again and again responded in the most spirited manner to the calls of their captains, and the game gave promise of being carried into the darkness of the night, when some of the older inhabitants of the town interfered and induced the suspension of hostilities. The last of the old contests in Dunning was played about 45 years ago at the North Crofts, where a fierce contest took place between ploughmen and the weavers. To begin with, every man was clean and tidy, dressed in white moleskin trousers, each side wearing a distinguishing scarf round the waist. The struggle was something terrific, and, at the close, clay and blood adorned nearly all the contestants, and the game ended another battle of Sheriffmuir. In the Dunning games, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, and even thirty aside were played, and where grievances existed the football match was the place to wipe them out. The style of play and the rules then in existence lent themselves to this abuse. No fouls nor corners existed, and we fancy a referee was never once thought of. Might was right, and go as you please the "modus operandi". The modern Association game was introduced into Dunning some fourteen or fifteen years ago, largely through the instrumentality of the Honourables Eric and Herbert Rollo, Percy Parminter, son of Lord Rollo's private chaplain, Peter Jones, & c. The youths of the village at once formed themselves into a club to revive the glories of the "ba'". Of the first matches of the new Club one was with Pullars', the then leading Club of Perth, and the game ended in a win for Pullars. On the following Saturday, the Perth Abercorn visited Dunning, and got defeated 14-0. Such a performance gave the club a great start. For the past four or five years they have competed for the Perthshire Cup and also for the Scottish Cup. They have never as yet won either, but it is not a little remarkable that "Duncrub Park" have done better in national competition than in the county one. In 1895-6 they only succumbed after a hard struggle to the Dundee Wanderers at Dundee, and last year to the famous Edinburgh Hiberians at Perth. Messrs. T. and J. Wilson, M'Cathie, Callum, Crow, Mailer, Jas. Marshall, Wm. Cunningham (now a member of the Heart of Midlothian Committee), & c., have all at one time or another done good service for the club, and at the present moment their representative, Mr. Harry Christie, is President of the Perthshire Association, and Hon. President of the Perthshire League. Duncrub Park had an invitation to the League, but after considering the matter, decided not to join. This year, Duncrub fell early in the national and county competitions, with the result that the game has gone back as regards enthusiasm, but it is hoped that such a state of matters may soon pass away.


Ian Philip of Leadketty and Albie and Shona Sinclair of Quarry Road had a fascinating day finding out what to do when a field has been found. Shona describes what happened:

"We attended an introduction to fieldwalking in Coupar Angus and tried out what we had learned at the site of Coupar Angus Abbey. The day started with a fascinating account of how Colin Richards found, by fieldwalking, the remains of a settlement which proved to be a major archaeological site in Orkney. With our appetites whetted, Mark Collard then explained "how to do it" - the technique of arable fieldwalking.

WHY? To find and record places where there is evidence of human settlement and to find artefacts.

WHO? Anyone - young or old.

WHERE? Any recently ploughed field (except scheduled monuments) - with the farmer's permission of course! Fieldwalking does not harm the fields as walkers only pick up anything seen on the surface, they do not dig.

WHEN? Anytime the field has been ploughed and allowed to weather for about 3 to 4 weeks.

WHAT? Anything that is there! After examination, finds can be thrown away if not important.

HOW? First and foremost, accurate records MUST be kept. Knowing where things are found is very important as this helps build a pattern of use. A sample only is collected and accuracy of plotting finds the key to the whole process. Expensive equipment is not required - garden canes, tape or string and freezer bags are all that is needed. A grid of 20 metre squares is measured out using the tape and canes. Depending on how many people are available or how detailed the information required, it can be 1 person or up to 10 people per square. Each person has 1 bag per square, marked according to the grid. Walkers pick up everything in their line of sight only and put it in the bag for that particular square. Later, the archaeologist examines the contents of each bag and discards anything not of use. The finds are then plotted and recorded. The experts can now see if anything significant has been found.

Line drawing 7.8kb

"In the afternoon, we tried out the theory for ourselves at Coupar Angus Abbey. Around 20 "pupils" walked the grid set out by the archaeologists and we all found lots of things. We found Mediaeval pottery (Albie's forte!), butchered bones, slag from metal working, glass, stone roofing material and mortar (and a lot of bird droppings that looked like pottery at first glance!)

It was exciting to see what everyone had in their bags and fascinating to hear the experts enthusing about something that looked like a common or garden stone. We didn't even mind the rain!

We discovered that fieldwalking is really not difficult and that we could become hooked quite easily! Mike King, archaeologist from Perth Museum, is planning to do some fieldwalking around Dunning in the Autumn and if our trial run is anything to go by, it should be very exciting and fun!



On Sunday, 25th April a party of 10 doughty members of the Society, led by Colin Young, braved the elements and set out to do a tour of several derelict farms situated around Craigbaikie Hill to the east of the road from Dunning to Yetts O'Muckhart. Despite the threat of rain, the group set off on foot from Blaeberry Toll following paths through the forestry. The first farm visited was Broadheadfold, empty for some years, but with the steading and house still partially roofed, and evidence of a water mill and pond.

Having crossed the Water of May, they found Wester Bankhead, described as now being only a "rickle o' stones" and from there on to Rashiehill, the home of Rutherford, whose gravestone is the oldest in St. Serf's churchyard. This had been a substantial farm with it's own horsemill. From here the group forged on to Maidsmill where there are two large buildings and evidence also of a horsemill.

The final farm on the tour was Knowehead, the last of these remote farms to have been abandoned. The buildings are still roofed and still retain the horse and cattle stalls. Nearby is an unusual building in the shape of a cross, with ornate chimneys and stonework. It appears to be some kind of Victorian folly and it would be interesting to discover some more about it. The outing took most of the day, and although it had been intended to make a video of the whole trip, because of the weather it was only possible to film a small part of it. It is hoped to make a return visit at some later date.


A very successful tour of Dunning village was led by Ken Laing and Peter Duncan. 19 members of the Clackmannan Historical and Field Society started the tour with a short talk held in St. Serf's, followed by a walk around the features of historical interest in the village. Kirsty and David Doig kindly allowed the group to eat their packed lunches in their garden and in the afternoon David escorted them on a walk up the den. The group intends to return the favour and a visit to Clackmannan will take place in the coming year.


Angus Watson

The presence of "s" at the end of a farm or estate name can indicate that there was at some time a division of the land into two or more units. Sometimes the "s" hasn't survived to the present day, perhaps through a quirk of fashion or because at some stage there ceased to be multiple holdings bearing the same name. "Balquhandy" (OS square 0311) consisted of two parts by the 15th century ( e. g. "de duobus Buchquhandiis", of the two " "Buchquhandies", 1488). There are references to "North" and "Over" Balquhandy from at least the 17th century, but by the mid 19th we have "Easter", "Middle" and "Wester". There are spellings of the name with and without "s" up to the end of the 17th century, then it begins to stabilise in more or less its present form.

"Corb" (square 0008) flirted intermittently with an "s" between about 1650 and 1800 and then settled for the singular. In the 15th century there were "Ovir" and "Nethir" Corb. By 1829 we have "North" and "South" Corb, but I do not know whether these names represented the same parcels of land throughout the centuries.

Sometimes, on the other hand, the "s" does survive in the present-day form. The "s" of "Quilts" (square 0212) is no doubt due to the existence in the 18th century of "Little Cuilt" and "Mickle Cuilt". "Pitcairns" (square 0212) changes from singular to plural in the late 16th century, and from the same time we find references to a threefold division. Traces of this can still be seen in nearby names. "Middle Third" was "Pitcairns Middle Third" ( e.g. in Perthshire Cess Book 1752 ). I have seen no traces of a "Pitcairn East Third" but "Pitcairns West Third" (square 030130) survives in the name of the hill "Knock of West Third" (square 0312).

In the Ochils area as a whole the placename that best illustrates how names can reflect land-division is "Quoigs" ( square 8305, S of the A9 near Balhaldie ). Not only does it have that tell-tale "s", but the name itself indicates division as it comes from Gaelic "Coig", five, perhaps originally in the form "Coigeamh", a fifth. In the 15th and 16th centuries the collective name had an "s" (e.g. "le Coigis de Strathalloun", the fifths of Strathallan, 1513) while names of individual component holdings did not (e.g. "Bereholme Coig" and "Littil Coig", 1477). By the 17th century though, the "s" occurs in all cases (e.g. "Littil Quoiges", 1650). On this evidence then, a notion of the sense of the name "Coig" lingered on for some time after the Gaelic ceased to be a living language in the area. When this memory faded, the "s" became a part of the name instead of the sign of the plural and the spellings ceased to show an easily recognisable connection with the Gaelic "Coig".

As for the derivation of the other names I've mentioned, "Quilts" is probably from the Gaelic "Cuilte", (place) tucked away at the back of something. If it doesn't look "tucked away" now don't forget that the present house is by no means certain to be on the site to which the name was first given, somewhere between six hundred and a thousand years ago.

"Pitcairns" is "Peticarn" in 1283, probably representing Gaelic "Peit a' chairn", the share of land (i.e. holding) with the cairn. "Peit" was a Pictish land - division term borrowed by the first incoming Gaels, so "Pitcairns" is likely to be one of the earliest Gaelic names in the area.

"Corb" is tricky, but I have a theory! It appears as "Crob" in 1428 and so may originally be Gaelic "Crobh" (written "Crob" in early times), a hand, a paw. The inversion of the "r" and the vowel, called metathesis, is very common in Scots: "Grass" and "Gers", or "Third" and "Thrid" for instance. There is also a Corb in Alyth parish and it too appears as "Crob" earlier. As for the hand, if you look on the OS map at the contours on the North side of Corb Law (square 0009), you will see a marked resemblance to a hand with clenched fingers and outstretched thumb. If some early Gaelic settler noticed this shape on the ground, then our name is explained.

"Balquhandy" too is uncertain, but the early forms (e.g. "Buchondy", 1428) at least prove that originally it was not a "Bal-" name at all, but began with Gaelic "Both" or "Buth", a cottage, small dwelling. The second part of "Buchondy" may indicate that there was a link with Condie (square 0712 & c.), but that name is too tricky. Two possibilities are that "Condie" is a watercourse name or perhaps represents a Gaelic personal name.

Copyright 1992 Angus Watson


During some recent correspondence with Alastair Lawson, the "local correspondent" for this area of the Scottish Rights of Way Society, the topic of old communication routes through the Ochils arose. The following are the descriptions of two "ways" and we are seeking your help as regards any evidence of usage to further the case for ensuring that these paths may be enjoyed by future generations:

Tormaukin Hotel to Myrehaugh

"One of the oldest inhabitants of Glen Devon asked me recently whether the Scottish Rights of Way Society was aware of the route leading from just behind the Tormaukin Hotel over the hill to Myrehaugh on the Dunning road; I had to admit that the Society did not have this route on its books, whereupon the oldest inhabitant told me that he and his generation had always referred to it as the "right of way" and that it was at one time the natural route folk would take between mid-Glen Devon and points on the Dunning road such as Whiterigg and Myrehaugh; indeed, there was a time when the Dunning road did not run direct down to the Yetts as we know it today, but curved round the lower slopes of Down Mill, over St. Serf's bridge (now submerged) and joined the Glen Devon road. The route he refers to above the Tormaukin is clearly identifiable on the ground - (cart tracks in short turf) - and runs into Glen Devon Forest at its highest point, the onward track to Myrehaugh having been subsumed by forest tracks. This seems to me to be a nice little route and one which few folk use, mostly because there is no signpost and it does not appear on the OS map. I have written to the Forest office in Aberfoyle, who claim the deeds relating to the time when they took over the ground prior to planting have no reference to the right of way; I have also written to Perth & Kinross District Planning Office who likewise claim no knowledge of the route. If we were to make something of this, it would need the evidence of folk who either used it in the past, before the forest was planted (it looks about 40 years old), or have used it in more recent times, even with the forest there. I have two "oldest inhabitants" who can give evidence; can you provide any more from your area?"


"This is another story of the same sort, anent the "Butter Road", about which I wrote to you before. Again P & K District cannot help; they acknowledge that it was a right of way, but their position is that it has fallen out of use. Again, the lack of signposts and the lack of an inviting line on the map have much to do with the low level of use. I have another (separate) oldest inhabitant, this time in Crook of Devon, who still uses it about once a year and has done so for donkeys' years. There is correspondence in both P & K and Rights of Way Society files, showing that there was controversy some 10 - 20 years ago, but the whole thing was never resolved, people obviously got tired of getting nowhere and gave up. There was apparently some genuine difficulty with people coming to fish in the Queich and parking their cars across farm lanes so that the farm work was impeded, and that set one farmer against the idea of co-operating in agreeing an approved route. However, that is all water under the bridge now, and I am inclined to ask P & K to reconsider the matter. However, before doing so, I would like to gather together a little more evidence - not sworn statements or anything so dramatic, but just some indication that there are folk about who would make a statement if required. Again, we come back to the same question as before: can you, from your side of the hills, provide anyone who has used the route, either in the past or more recently?

Line drawing 3.9kb

Just to be clear, we are talking about the line from Carnbo School - the old tollhouse - north to the Path of Condie road."

So there you have two "local" mysteries that you can perhaps help to solve. It has become obvious over the years that many of you have spent some time in the Ochils, enjoying the exercise and the scenery. If there is anyone who has any knowledge of either of the routes described I would be delighted to hear from you.

Please phone Colin Young on 684 521 and he will arrange for all your information to be passed on to Alastair Lawson - we might be having him as a speaker at a future meeting but we need your knowledge now to present a case for preserving our right to access to the hills!



Sunday Sept/Oct ? ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD WALK. Exploring a recently ploughed local field to see what evidence of the past turns up. Phone ALBIE and SHONA SINCLAIR on 684 566 for details.

Sunday Sept 19 Auchterarder holds a full day of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of "the Disruption". See newspapers for details.

Thursday Sept 30 STRATHEARN'S MISTY PAST. Illustrated talk by keen local historian DR. JAMES GRANT. 7.30 p.m. Primary School.

Thursday Oct 21 TATTIE NIGHT. Adventurous evening combining memories of the famous "tattie holidays" with a "live" video-making session. 7.30 p.m. Primary School.

Saturday Nov 6 "VICTORIAN" COFFEE MORNING IN DUNNING'S MUSEUM FOR A DAY 10 a.m. Primary School. The usual coffee morning pleasures plus a chance to see young and old dressed up in Victorian costume and to visit a museum of curiosities and photos donated and loaned to the Society.

Saturday Dec 4 CHRISTMAS CEILIDH. Featuring fine local talent and starting at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall.


Back to Previous Page Return to Index On to Next Page
blank menubutton


Home St Serf's What's Available Members' Pages Crossroads and Characters History Now
Events Evacuees Favourite Links Dunning Surname Graveyard Survey Parish Census