Perth and Kinross

©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland


A village of Strathearn, Perth and Kinross, Dunning is situated on a site of ancient settlement to the north of the Ochil Hills, 7 miles southwest of Perth. Dunning is associated with St Serf, an early Christian saint who is said to have slain a dragon here and to have established Dunnyne, one of his favourite foundations. St Serf died at Dunning and was allegedly buried at Culross. Dating from the mid-12th century, the impressive Norman steeple of St Serf's Church dominates the village. Rebuilt in 1811, this building incorporates an ancient stone bearing a Celtic cross pointing to the existence of an even earlier church on this site. The Dupplin Cross, which formerly stood near Dupplin Castle is now located within the church. In January 1716 Jacobite soldiers burned the village, an event marked by the planting of a thorn tree that was eventually blown down in 1936 but subsequently replaced twice. The village was rebuilt in the 1790s by John, 8th Baron Rollo who also laid out adjacent land to the south at Newton of Pitcairns for weavers' cottages. Following the development of the weaving industry, the population of Dunning reached a peak of 2200 in the mid-19th century. Thereafter, the village declined and its important livestock market was removed to Perth. Antiquities nearby include a standing stone, the site of a Roman marching camp and a monument to Maggie Walls who was 'burnt here - as a witch' in 1657. While there is no evidence for the demise of Maggie Walls, it is certain that six people were executed in Dunning for witchcraft in 1663.

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