Birnam  Perthshire


In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Birnam like this:

Birnam, a suburban village in Little Dunkeld parish, and a hill and a pass partly also in Anchtergaven parish, Perthshire. The village stands on the Highland railway, at Dunkeld station, adjacent to the right bank of the river Tay, near Dunkeld Bridge, ¾ mile SSE of Dunkeld. Of recent erection, on feus from the late Sir William Drummond Stewart, it contains a good many handsome shops and dwelling-houses-the latter chiefly let to summer visitors; and presents an aspect of cleanliness, comfort, and elegance, excelled by no other village in Great Britain. ...

At it are a post office under Dunkeld, with money order and savings' bank departments; a railway telegraph office; a spacious hotel; and St Mary's Episcopal church. The hotel is in the Saxon-Gothicstyle, with towers and other features giving it an ecclesiastical and imposing appearance; contains a public hall, so large and ornate as to be one of the finest in Scotland; and has attached to it a billiard room, a bowling green, and beautiful grounds. St Mary's (1856-57) is Early Middle Pointed in style, with severe geometrical tracery, and consists of tower, nave, and chancel. The railway station is an ornamental structure. On a neighbouring wooded eminence, Torr Hill, are a number of tasteful villas, of which Erigmore was tenanted by Mr J. E. Millais, R.A., in 1880, as earlier likewise was St Mary's Tower. Highland games are held on the last Thursday of August. Pop. (1871) 530, (1881) 600.

Birnam Hill rises to the S of the village; and, attaining an altitude of 1324 feet above sea-level, commands an extensive view of Strathmore, Stormont, Strathbraan, and Athole. It once was covered by the royal forest immortalised by Shakespeare in Macbeth; but its ancient woods have long ago been felled, and thriving plantations of firs and birches now are taking their place. ` Duncan's Camp,' where King Duncan held his court, or vestiges of a round fort, occurs at an altitude of 658 feet on its SE acclivity; and Birnam Pass goes between Duncan's Camp and the Tay, being traversed by the railway and the public road. The portal this through which Highland caterans, Montrose's force, and Prince Charles Edward's army poured from the Highlands on the Lowland plain, it is sometimes called the ` Month of the Highlands; ' it separates a Gaelic-speaking population on the N from an English-speaking population on the S; and it presents a miniature of many of the grandest of the Highland glens, with the addition of a slow majestic river. A small mountain brook enters the Tay a little above the Pass's upper end; and is spanned by a rustic seven-arched bridge called Birnam Bridge, built at a cost of about £2500.—Ord. Sur., sh. 48, 1868.

Birnam through time

Birnam is now part of Perth and Kinross district. Click here for graphs and data of how Perth and Kinross has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Birnam itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Birnam, in Perth and Kinross and Perthshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 25th April 2024

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