Discover the History of Alyth

At the foothills of the Grampian Mountains between the towns of Kirriemuir and Blairgowrie you’ll find the wonderfully ancient town of Alyth. This quaint little village is situated on the rolling southern slopes which are gently blanketed with the enchanting forest of Alyth. To the north of these slopes and closer to the village, the remains of ancient Alyth can be found. It is these ruins that have helped to verify the fact that the settlement has been in existence since the 11th century.

It is interesting to note that many have claimed that the village is even older. They argue that Alyth in Scotland was the location where Queen Guinevere was imprisoned by the Pictish King Mordred. However there is insufficient evidence to prove this and, until more evidence come to light, the exact founding date of the village will remain the subject of controversy. What is known is that the first church came into existence sometime during the 1200s. When one stands in this picturesque churchyard to gaze out over the town, you will find yourself surrounded by a series of arches. It is said that Robert the Bruce came to perform acts of worship in the church in 1326.

Sometime during the 1500s trade saw an increase after the construction of the packhorse bridge. This bridge enabled residents to cross the Alyth burn and make their way to the market town of Alyth. Trade flourished and by 1760, Alyth was already regarded as being a rather large village. It was so big, in fact, that it once staged nine fairs in just one year – something which was practically unheard of for a simple market town in those days. The sturdy stone packhorse bridge can still be crossed by pedestrians and it leads to the older part of the town of Alyth.

Another attraction worth considering is the Alyth Parish Church. The church bears both Gothic and Romanesque influence and it was designed by the talented Edinburgh architect Thomas Hamilton and established in 1839. The church is unusual because the high spires on the building’s exterior gives a sense of vertical height, yet the interiors have a strong sense of horizontal space. Also worth seeing is the old Forfar Carpets Works which has not been used to produce carpets since the 90s. Instead it is now owned by a company that restores vintage cars and a journey through their workshops is a great treat.

The steady growth of Alyth continued in the 1800s when the town became involved in the textile industry. The peak of this part of its history came in 1861 when the railway was established through the town. By 1870, the two mills in the town were responsible for the jobs of 350 people. Unfortunately time has taken its toll on these mills and today all that is left are the crumbling remains of these once lively buildings. If you would like to see a mill of a different kind in action, there is an active sawmill in the town where visitors can take a journey through the mill by foot and discover its inner workings. So give Alyth a try and discover this wonderfully charming town for yourself.

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