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Tour Inchture In The Carse Of Gowrie

Just south of the busy A.85 dual-carriageway between Perth and Dundee, 7 miles west of the latter, is the village of Inchture. As its name implies, once an island in the flooded Carse of Gowrie. It must have been a very low island, for its eminence is hardly noticeable in the level flats; indeed the church and churchyard are alleged to be built up 6 to 8 feet artificially, presumably to afford suitable burial facilities in the early days. Tuir, in Gaelic means a dirge, or lament for the dead, and it may be that the original inch got its name thus; although another claimed derivation is innis-t-ear, the island to the east. Today there is a neat red-stone estate-type village, with church, school, hotel and a shop or two, all under an avenue of tall old trees, and rather attractive.

The parish church is distinctly ambitious for so small a community; but the parish itself is fairly large, and now incorporates the former parish of Rossie. The Gothic building dates from 1834, and is unusual in having handsome red ashlar stone at front and sides, but only harling at the rear, an economy the present author has not seen elsewhere in a church. It stands amongst many ancient gravestones, with another Kinnaird vault below the building, additional to that at the old chapel at Rossie.

Most of the antiquities of this parish are in the higher ground of the Rossie area, and dealt with under that name. A battle was allegedly fought near the ruined castle of Moncur, across the main road to the north of the village, in 728, when in a civil war Hungus, or Angus, defeated Nectan and gained the leadership of the Picts.

The Parish covers 5330 acres, of which no fewer than 1200 are described as foreshore or have been reclaimed from the firth. A long dead-straight road of 2 miles runs down over the rich flat cornlands to salt water at Powgavie. Pow or poll is the name given to the sluggish streams or stanks which drain the carse. At Powgavie there was formerly a harbour, once quite important, where there was a hamlet and alehouse, all now gone and only a sea of reeds and rushes remaining. At low tide, the Powgavie Burn winds its way out through the mud-flats and sandbanks of Dog Bank for almost three miles. Some of the farms in these fertile carselands have odd names-such as Maggotland, Mammiesroom, Waterbutts and Unthank. At Grange, 3 miles south-west of Inchture, there is a sizeable community, amongst scattered orchards and broiler-houses. Inchture district is famous for the cultivation of strawberries. All this Carse of Gowne, of course, claims the title of the Garden of Scotland.

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