is derived from craobh, the Gaelic for "among the trees" and began
to be seen in documents dating from the 12thC and was granted its Charter
We have only glimpses of life in these
times from documents but the town had a mill by 1444.
Castle, 4 kms south of Crieff, was founded in 1491 by Sir John Drummond
under license from James IV.
Powerful local families fought each
other. In 1511 in the old church of Monzievaird just west of the town, 'many'
Murrays along with their families were burnt
when Drummonds and
Campbells set the building alight.
By mid 17thC a road existed south to
Dunblane and the River Earn was probably first bridged around 1660. In 1672
Crieff became a burgh of barony. The town held the country's most important
cattle market and was famous for hanging lawless Highlanders!
Rob Roy Macgregor visited the town on many
occasions, often to sell cattle.
In 1716 Jacobites burnt the town on
their way back from the battle of Sheriffmuir.
The huge cattle sales continued to
take place. In 1723 30,000 cattle sold at one great fair with many driven
south 800km to Smithfield in London.
Around 1730 a military road was driven
from Tummel Bridge in the north and in 1742 the road was further improved
to take carriages north via the Sma' Glen.
In 1731 James Drummond, 3rd Duke of
Perth, laid out the town's central James Square and establishing a textile
industry with a flax factory.
Bonnie Prince Charlie held his last
war council in the Drummond Arms Hotel before he was finally defeated at
Culloden in 1746.
After 1746 Rebellion the Drummond estates
were forfeited to the Crown until 1784. The Commissioners who were in charge
continued to develop Crieff as an industrial centre based on tanning and
bleaching. In 1748 there were no less than 5 breweries and a paper making
factory was opened in 1763. In 1775 Glenturret Distillery opened.
Although cattle markets continued,
the huge sale held each October, the Tryst, moved to Falkirk in 1770.
The town was involved in the cotton
industry - yarn was bought in Glasgow, garments woven locally and returned
for sale. In 1770 the hand-loom weavers organised themselves into a Society
and in 1786 a Weaver's Hall was erected in Commissioner Street.
Mains gas became available in the town
from 1842, the same year that Queen Victoria visited. The railway arrived
in 1856 and mains water was laid from 1872. The Hydro Hotel was built in
1868. In 1922 the Crieff Electric Supply Company began generating and provided
some electric lighting locally.
The fifties saw the last cattle markets.
An event which marked the end of centuries of 'trysts'. In 1951 the last
passenger trains ran from Perth. Rail buses operated for a while but in 1964
the line closed completely.
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