Perth and Kinross

A forestair in Central Dunkeld
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

A forestair in Central Dunkeld

An ancient burgh town in Perth and Kinross, Dunkeld is situated on the River Tay 15 miles (24 km) north of Perth. A monastery is thought to have been founded here before 700 AD by St Adamnan, the biographer of St Columba whose relics were brought here from the west when Kenneth Macalpin united the kingdoms of the Picts and Scots in 846 AD and made Dunkeld and Scone his joint capitals.

The Cathedral Church of Dunkeld was built over a 250 year period between the mid-13th and late 15th centuries. After the destruction of Dunkeld in the 1689 Battle of Dunkeld, the centre of the burgh was moved eastwards to its present position and the cathedral grounds were incorporated into the grounds of a house of the Dukes of Atholl. The tomb of the 'Wolf of Badenoch', Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan (d.1405), is in the Cathedral Church whose Sacristy contains early carved stones including the 9th-century Apostles Stone.

Stanley Hill, a wooded backdrop to the village, is an artificial mound in the form of a fortification raised in 1730 by the Duke of Atholl. The National Trust for Scotland now owns 20 houses in the burgh including the Ell Shop which takes its name from the ell or weaver's measure fixed to the wall outside. The Canadian statesman Alexander Mackenzie (1822-92) lived in Dunkeld. Mary Queen of Scots (1542-87) stopped here in 1564, while the village was also visited on several occasions by Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901) and the authoress Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943), who is remembered in the Beatrix Potter Garden created in nearby Birnam in 1991. Artist John Everett Millais (1829-96) painted several of his works in vicinity of Dunkeld.

The 209-metre-long Dunkeld Bridge over the Tay was built in 1809 as a tollbridge by Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834) who was surveyor and engineer to the Commission for Highland Roads and Bridges. It was at Dunkeld that the Hybrid Larch was first discovered amidst the plantations of the Atholl Estate. A popular tourist centre, Dunkeld has antique shops, art galleries, a visitor centre, golf course and Museum of the Scottish Horse Regiment.

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