Muthill is a pretty little village just three miles from the town of Crieff. The way that the road zig zags through the village forms an odd kink in what is essentially a straight old Roman Road. In fact the village owes much of its existence to the roman invaders. The foundation of the village lay with the Culdee Monks who chose to settle here in the 700’s. The name of the village may seem a little strange, Muthill (pronounced Mew-thill) comes from the original Gaelic ‘Maothail’ which translated means ‘skin softening’ which implies that the original monks thought this was a comfortable place in which to settle.
The village is dominated by the church tower which at one time in the 1000’s would have stood alone as a defensive structure as well as a place of worship, the church building being added on during the 15th Century. The ruins are wonderfully atmospheric as is the ancient graveyard that surrounds them. Some of the stones have simple pictograms depicting the trade of the person who lies beneath, so old are they, crooked and eroded, but at the same time they are intrinsically linked with the beautiful village surroundings.
From the churchyard you can clearly see the modern 1826 gothic styled church, again built on the site of an earlier place of worship. For a small village there are an inordinate amount of churches at three, but rather than build new upon old and damage the resting place of many of the villagers’ ancestors a new church was built rather than demolish the old one. During the Jacobite retreat in January 1716, fleeing the battle of Sherriffmuir, Muthill was almost razed to the ground and many of the original buildings were destroyed by the fleeing soldiers. With compensation granted by the government the village was rebuilt, with many of the buildings in the village today dating back to this time of rebuilding, making many of the buildings seem uniform in appearance. Over ninety individual buildings in the village have been granted listed status, and the entire village was listed as a conservation area in the 1970’s.
Around the Area
Just to the north of the village Drummond Castle, the old ancestral home belonging to the Earls of Perth, can be found. The town of Auchterader is a short distance away as is historic and stately Gleneagles. Perth and all of the attraction of the city are a short drive away too. Muthill is a wonderful little village, filled with character yet at the same time a peaceful haven. The village museum offers an insight into the history of the village, including how one local girl, the daughter of a blacksmith, became the Empress of Morocco. There is something about the village that makes you feel at ease, it is a wonderful village to walk around and explore, the churchyards offer beauty and interest and make the perfect place for a spot of quiet reflection. Muthill is also a stopping off point for those making the coast to coast walk.