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Logierait in days gone by held a place of strategic importance as it was situated at the junction of the Rivers Tay and Tummel, with ferries over both rivers. The name Logierait comes from the Gaelic words ‘laggan’ (a hollow) and ‘rath’ (fortress). From ancient times its situation beside the great highway from Perth to the north helped to increase its importance. In 1791 its population was recorded as 200 people, today there are about 60.
St Cedd who was passing through the area from Iona with his brother St Chad to Lindisfarne, founded the church in 650. Today’s church was rebiult in 1904 – 06 to designs by John Stewart of Dunkeld, the churchyard contains many interesting historic items to see.
There are a number of beautiful decorated memorial stones. There is a Pictish Cross behind the pulpit. You will see an old Pictish stone with Pictish symbols on one side and a more modern interlaced design on the other. (A small Pictish cross-slab, although damaged, the lower part of a horseman on the back, with a serpent round a straight rod while the front bears a decorated cross with four small circular raised bosses.
A stone walled enclosure contains the burial ground of the Stewarts of Ballechin, lineal descendants of Robert II, known as a race of big boned, strong and brave swordsmen who took part in all the Atholl raids and forays, including the Argyllshire raid. They fought with Graham of Claverhouse at Killiecrankie, under Patrick Stewart, and at Culloden.
Within the walled enclosure you will also find three excellent examples of iron mort safes, (two full size and the third is for a child), they are heavy cast iron coffin covers which were used around 1828 to prevent body snatchers from removing newly buried bodies to sell in Edinburgh for medical examination. The mortsafes were lowered on to the coffin and removed some time later once the corpse was considered of no use for resale.
The oldest monumental stone in the churchyard was for long on the burial ground of the Stewart Robertsons of Edradynate but has now been set up securely in the vicinity of the church entrance porch. It is believed to be of Pictish origin. One side is incised with a cross while the other depicts a horseman trampling upon the traditional serpent transfixed by a lance. The stone is the subject of a paper by A. Anderson of Pitlochry published in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Vol. XII p.561.
The names Stewart, Robertson, Reid and Ferguson predominate among the burial grounds in the churchyard.
The early ferries were rowed across by the ferryman but in 1820 the artist and inventor James Fraser who was the millwright at Dowally (about 2 miles south from Logierait as the bird flies) designed the new Logierait ferry. The particular problem with the ferry crossing at this spot was the swift flow of the River Tay and the ferry had to cope with this flow. The design consisted of two boats placed side by side connected by a platform. The ferry had a revolving wheel on the boat that pulled the ferry along a chain. The ferry was capable of carrying two loaded carts with the horses yoked up. It is said not a single life was lost during it operation until it was replaced by a bridge in 1880.
The first reference to a court at Logierait was made in 1457 when John Stewart was created Earl of Atholl by King James I. The courthouse by all accounts was apparently of fine proportions that it was described as the noblest apartment in Perthshire at the time. Designed by Lady Margaret Nairn, wife of William the brother of the 1st Duke of Atholl, circa 1707. 1710 Thomas and John Clark were paid £200 for building the courthouse. Described as 21 metres long with galleries each end. One hundred lairds and gentlemen of Atholl sat here in frill session under Atholl or his hereditary Commissioner, Stewart of Ballechin, on great occasions until the abolition of the heritable jurisdictions in 1746. After the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745 600 prisoners were sent here by Lord George Murray, Lieut.-General of the army of Prince Charles Edward. It was used to administer justice until 1746 following the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden when the government in Westminster removed the powers of local courts to administer their own local law and order.
On 4th June 1717 Rob Roy MacGregor was imprisoned at Logierait Prison for a single day on account of his feud with the Duke of Montrose – as a result of being pursued by Montrose he took refuge in Atholl. The Duke of Atholl negotiated with Rob Roy terms were upon Rob Roy would surrender in exchange for being let free by the Government in Edinburgh. Under the Duke’s protection Rob Roy surrendered and was committed the prison at Logierait. The Duke took great pride in announcing to everyone of his rich catch.
Rob Roy did not like this situation at all, so planned his escape, which he managed to succeed in when a messenger came to the door of the prison. Some accounts suggest Rob Roy got his guards drunk; whilst the messenger was talking to the guards he leapt on to the back of the messenger’s horse and rode away.
It is also reported that Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army held 600 prisoners captured after their rout of Government forces at the Battle of Prestonpans were held here 1745.
The large iron gates (yetts) that belonged to the prison can today be seen on display at Blair Castle.
Stuart Kings Hunting Castle, the Execution Mound and Atholl Monument.
To the north of the village stands the Atholl Monument erected 10th August 1865 to the 6th Duke of Atholl who died 1864 by his tenants. It was said “They had lost a good and kind friend …. A good landlord, faithful husband, an affectionate father and a true friend”. The Duke it is claimed revived and maintained the national Highland Games. He also was the one who revived the Atholl Highlanders in their present form.
The Atholl Monument was erected on the site of the old execution mound where prisoners were put to death following sentence at Logierait Court having been held in Logierait jail awaiting the arrival of the executioner to carry out his grisly task. It was also called the ‘Rath’ where is castle once stood.
It is believed the height of the ‘rath’ above the high bank of the Tummel, just north of the present road bridge over that river, which forms the ‘rath of Logierait’, a very early fortified position, surrounded on the sides not facing the river by a deep fosse or dry ditch, above which a few traces of wall masonry remain. The unrivalled strategic situation of the rath, above the confluence of the rivers Tay and Tummel and their straths in the very middle of Atholl seem, according to ancient records, to have caused it to be chosen as centre and seat of the Celtic Earls of Atholl of the royal house of Dunkeld. On the forfeitures of these descendants of the Celtic Earls after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Atholl passed by charter of King Robert the Bruce to Walter the High Steward, and after the Stewarts ascended the throne, the castle on the rath became a favourite royal residence of Robert II and Robert III, continuing to be used as a hunting scat until after the reign of James III, when it fell into disuse and became the hanging knoll of the Court of Regality.
William Wordsworth with his sister Dorothy dined here on the 6th September 1803 on the tour of the Highlands. The Inn was a focal place for the village it is said that Gaelic choirs trained in the hotel, concerts and country-dances. It was said “the rafters of the hotel rang to the music and joyous ‘hoochs’ of the village dancers.” We know Gilbert Jamieson rented Logierait Inn from 1818 to 1858. In the early 1900s the Smith family ran the hotel. In May and November each year the Factor of Atholl Estates for many years collected the dues from the tenant farmers and house tenants at Logierait Hotel. He also discuss any problems which needed attention. This practice did not cease until the late 1950’s
All along the hillsides are traces of former dwellings. Tullypowrie and Inver of Tullypowrie were once considerable villages. Desire for a higher standard of life than could be won from the high steep slopes was no doubt the chief cause of this depopulation for there is no sad history of evictions here, as in so many places. In this respect, the Atholl family bears a particularly good name; it is said by the local people that no one was ever evicted from the Atholl lands, a statement which is substantiated by the author of the New Statistical Account of the parish who, writing around 1840 when great areas of the Highlands had been subjected to ruthless clearances, states that ‘the change in the agricultural system pursued by the landlords has not been so great as to make any difference observable in the number of the rural population in the Logierait parish,’
From your accommodation in Highland Perthshire why not book an executive and private day tour of the Scottish Highlands with Heartland Tours Ltd? The business is operated by Pitlochry local, Eddie Thomson. Eddie has a keen knowledge of the Scottish Highlands and can take you on a half or full day tour of your choice.
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Please call us on 01796 482 423 for all table bookings and enquiries about Logierait Inn.