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Dunblane

Dunblane High Street

Dunblane, in Perthshire, is situated on the left bank of Allan Water, a tributary of the Forth, 5 miles North by West of Stirling. It is a place of great antiquity, with narrow streets and old-fashioned houses. The leading industry was the manufacture of woollens. The cathedral is situated by the side of the river, and was one of the few ecclesiastical edifices that escaped injury at the hands of the Reformers.

The first church is alleged to have been erected by Blane, a saint of the 7th century, but the cathedral as founded by David I. in 1141, and almost entirely rebuilt about 1240 by Bishop Clemens. Excepting the tower, which is Early Norman and was probably incorporated from the earlier structure, the building is of the Early Pointed style. It consists of a nave (130 ft. long, 58 ft. wide, 50ft. high), aisles, choir (80 ft. long by 30 ft. wide), chapter-house and tower. Ruskin considered that there was nothing so perfect in its simplicity as the west window, the design of which resembles a leaf.

After the decline of episcopacy the building was neglected for a long period, but the choir, which contains some carved oak stalls of the 16th century, was restored in 1873, and the nave roofed and restored in 1892-1895, under the direction of Sir Rowand Anderson, the architect. From the time of the Reformation the choir had been used as the parish church, but since its restoration the whole cathedral has been devoted to this purpose. The new oak roof is emblazoned with the arms of the Scottish and later British monarchs, and of the old earls of Strathearn. Several members of the families of Strathearn and Strathallan were buried in the cathedral, and three stones of blue marble in the floor of the choir are supposed to mark the graves of Lady Margaret Drummond (b. 1472), mistress of James IV., and her two sisters, daughters of Lord Drummond, who were mysteriously poisoned in 1501. An ancient Celtic cross, 6 1/2 ft. high, stands in the northwestern corner of the nave. Robert Leighton was the greatest of the bishops of Dunblane, and held the see from 1661 to 1670. The library of 1500 volumes which he bequeathed to the clergy of the diocese is housed in a building with an outside stair, standing near the cathedral, and the Bishops Walk by the river also perpetuates his memory. Of the bishops palace only a few ruins remain.

The battlefield of Sheriffmuir is about 2 1/2 miles East of the town. A mile and a half South of Dunblane is the estate of Keir which belonged to Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, the historian and art critic. The duke of Leeds derives the title of one of his viscounties from Dunblane.



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