Balquhidder Kirk

Built by David Murray, Lord Scone, in 1631, the now ruined Kirk was established on the site of a pre-Reformation chapel, once visited by King James IV.

The new Parish Church dates from 1855 and was built by the then Laird of Stronvar, David Carnegie, (no connection with the steel millionaire Andrew Carnegie).

This was a beautiful spot, the scenery and the old church was awesome.  And the old library turned into a coffee/tea shop made for the perfect setting.

Balquhidder History

Christianity was brought to this Glen by St. Angus, whose ancient stone effigy now stands in the Kirk.  The first church on this site was built by the Celtic abbot Labhran some 800 years ago.  The Clan MacLaren, the original clan of the district, took their patronymic surname from the Labhran (MacLabhruinn).  The MacLaren Chiefs, buried within the old Kirk, descend from the 6th century Scots King Lorn Mor and in the middle ages, they were cadets (kinsmen) of the Earl Strathearn.

Six hundred years ago, the MacLarens found themselves forced to defend their lands.  A great battle took place against the Buchanans of Leny on the slopes just East of where you now stand, below Creag and Tuirc (The Boar's Rock), which is both the traditional rallying place and the war cry of the MacLarens.  None of the Buchanans survived the battle.

In the 1500's, the MacGregors, driven out of their original holdings in Argyll by the Campbells, launched successive raids on Balquhidder and gradually moved in.

The famous (or notorious) Macgregor chieftain Rob Roy (1671-1734) lived the last years of his turbulent life in the WEstern end of Balquhidder Glen.  In 1734, Rob Roy unsuccessfully disputed land with his neighbour, John MacLaren of Invernenty.  Rob Roy lost the clan duel that followed and died of his wounds on 28th of December 1734.  The duel took place in a field directly South of here on land still farmed by the MacLaren Chief today.

There remains some debate over the whereabouts of Rob Roy's grave.  Early Victorian accounts refer to a funeral in Balquhidder on New Year's Day, 1735.  Parish records are silent; and the Caledonian Mercury of 9th of January 1735 reported his death but not a funeral.  The flat stones that mark the grave are of much greater antiquity. The railings and headstone are of more recent construction.  If local tradition is correct, Rob Roy may be interred in the MacGregors' burial ground on the island of Inis Cailleach on Loch Lomond, or in Glengyle on Loch Katrine.  Balquhidder is connected to Loch Lomond through Bealach non Corp, or Pass of the Corpses, on the route formerly used by the MacGregors to carry their dead further West to their original lands.

There are inscriptions at the site in the kirkyard Rob Roy's wife and two youngest sons.  However, it seems unlikely that Robert, alias Robin Oig, is buried here.  Having fled after shooting John MacLaren in the back, he was later hanged in Edinburgh for abduction and manslaughter.