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Coordinates: 56°30′N 4°00′W / 56.500°N 4.000°W / 56.500; -4.000
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Historic county

Perthshire within Scotland
 • 19752,528 sq mi (6,550 km2) (5th)
 • Succeeded byTayside Region
StatusLocal government county (until 1975)
Land registration county (1996–)
Chapman codePER
GovernmentCounty: Perthshire County Council (1890–1929)
Perth and Kinross County Council (1929–1975)
Modern: Perth and Kinross Council (1996–)
Lieutenancy: Lord Lieutenant of Perth and Kinross
 • HQPerth (county town and administrative centre)
 • MottoPro Lege et Libertate
('For Law and Liberty')

Coat of arms of the county council

Perthshire (locally: [ˈpɛrθʃər]; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt), officially the County of Perth, is a historic county and registration county in central Scotland. Geographically it extends from Strathmore in the east, to the Pass of Drumochter in the north, Rannoch Moor and Ben Lui in the west, and Aberfoyle in the south; it borders the counties of Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire to the north, Angus to the east, Fife, Kinross-shire, Clackmannanshire, Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire to the south and Argyllshire to the west. It was a local government county from 1890 to 1930.

Perthshire is known as the "big county", or "the Shire", due to its roundness and status as the fourth largest historic county in Scotland. It has a wide variety of landscapes, from the rich agricultural straths in the east, to the high mountains of the southern Highlands.

Administrative history

County Offices in York Place, the former headquarters of Perth County Council

Perthshire was an administrative county between 1890 and 1975, governed by a county council. Initially, Perthshire County Council was based in the south wing of Perth Sheriff Court.[1] However, from 1930 onwards, a joint local government council was formed with the small neighbouring county of Kinross-shire, linking the two. Perth County Council was subsequently based at the County Offices in York Place, Perth.[2][3]

In 1975, the administrative county was superseded by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and split between the Central and Tayside Regions:

  • West Perthshire (the area west and south of Killin including Callander, Crianlarich and Aberfoyle) was included in the Stirling District of the Central Region.
  • The parish of Muckhart and Glendevon was made part of Clackmannan District Council, also in the Central Region.
  • Longforgan was included in the City of Dundee District, in the Tayside Region.
  • The remainder of Perthshire was combined with Kinross-shire and the Angus parish of Kettins to form the Perth and Kinross District Council in Tayside.

The two-tier system introduced in 1975 was superseded by a system of unitary authorities in 1996. The districts of Tayside and Central Scotland all became unitary authorities, with Longforgan being transferred from Dundee to Perth and Kinross. The majority of historic Perthshire lies in Perth and Kinross. The exceptions are the southwestern part that is now in the Stirling council area and a few parishes that are now in Clackmannanshire. Perth and Kinross also contains some areas that were not historically in Perthshire, such as Kinross-shire. The lieutenancy areas in the same area are mostly coterminous with the council areas. Perthshire still exists as a registration county.



Prior to the 1890s Perthshire's boundaries were irregular: the parishes of Culross and Tulliallan formed an exclave some miles away from the rest of the county, on the boundaries of Clackmannanshire and Fife; while the northern part of the parish of Logie formed an enclave of Stirlingshire within the county.

Following the recommendations of the council boundary commission appointed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, Culross and Tulliallan were transferred to Fife, and the entire parish of Logie was included in Stirlingshire.

Coat of arms


The coat of arms of the County of Perth appears to have been granted for use on the colours and standards of the volunteer and militia units of the county raised at the end of the eighteenth century. The Earl of Kinnoull, a native of Perthshire, and commanding officer of the Perthshire Gentlemen and Yeomanry Cavalry, was also Lord Lyon King of Arms at the time, and he presented the arms to the county in 1800. The grant document was discovered in the Lyon Office in 1890, and forwarded to the newly formed Perth County Council.

The shield is very similar to the Scottish royal arms, reflecting that Perthshire was the home county of the House of Dunkeld and contains the former royal capital, Scone. Further royal references are made on the canton, which shows Scone Palace surmounted by the Crown of Scotland. The crest is a Highland soldier, reflecting that the famous Black Watch were formed in the county.[4] The supporters are an eagle and a warhorse, the former from the arms of the city of Perth.



By the 1890s the county contained the following burghs, which were largely outside the county council's jurisdiction:

  • Royal Burgh of Perth (which was styled a city)
  • Burgh of Auchterarder (formed 1894: reinstated as a royal burgh in 1951)
  • Burgh of Aberfeldy (police burgh from 1887)
  • Burgh of Abernethy (burgh of barony from 1458/9, police burgh from 1877)
  • Burgh of Alyth (burgh of barony from 1488, police burgh from 1834)
  • Burgh of Blairgowrie (burgh of barony 1634, police burgh 1833)
  • Burgh of Rattray (police burgh 1873)
  • Burgh of Callander (police burgh 1866)
  • Burgh of Coupar Angus (burgh of barony 1607, police burgh 1852)
  • Burgh of Crieff (burgh of barony 1674, burgh of regality 1687, police burgh 1864)
  • Burgh of Doune (burgh of barony 1611, police burgh 1890)
  • Burgh of Dunblane (burgh of regality of the Bishop of Dunblane 1442, police burgh 1870)

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 divided burghs into two classes from 1930: large burghs, which were to gain extra powers from the county council, and small burghs which lost many of their responsibilities.

Of the twelve burghs in Perthshire, only Perth was made a large burgh. There were ten small burghs: Blairgowrie and Rattray being united into a single burgh. In 1947 Pitlochry was created a small burgh.

Civil parishes

Perthshire and Clackmannanshire c. 1851.[5] Parishes outlined in red

In 1894 parish councils were established for the civil parishes, replacing the previous parochial boards. The parish councils were in turn replaced by district councils in 1930.

Following the boundary changes caused by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, the county contained the following civil parishes:



In 1930 the landward area of the Local Government councils (the part outside of burgh boundaries) was divided into five districts, replacing the parish councils established in 1894:

  • Central District
  • Eastern District
  • Highland District
  • Perth District
  • Western District


The uncharacteristically flat lands of the Carse of Gowrie

The county forms part of the Highland geographic area; it consists of predominantly mountainous and hilly land within the Grampian Mountains, interspersed with numerous lochs and glens. The highest point is Ben Lawers at 1,214 m (3,983 ft), making it the 10th highest peak in Scotland.[6] Most towns are fairly small, with the larger ones being clustered in the flatter south-east of the county. In the far south along the borders with Clackmannanshhire and Kinross-shire lie the Ochil Hills, and in the south-east part of the Sidlaw Hills lie within the county, continuing on into Angus. Perthshire borders the Firth of Tay in the south-east, which provides access to the North Sea; along the north shore lies the Carse of Gowrie, an extremely flat area of land given over to agriculture. Within the Forth can be found the small island of Mugdrum.



Lochs and Reservoirs

Typical Perthshire scenery around Loch Garry
Ben Vorlich rising above Loch Lubnaig
Loch Loch from summit of Ben Vuirich
The Loch of Butterstone as seen from Benachally Monument


Ben Vrackie: View west to the Lawers range, Schiehallion, lochs Tummel and Rannoch, and very distant Glen Coe peaks

Glens and straths



The River Tay at Perth
Bridge of Earn from Moncreiffe Hill
Dull welcome sign
Pool of Muckhart


Dunkeld & Birnam railway station

The Highland Main Line railway line connects Perth to Inverness, and in the far west the West Highland Line criss-crosses the Perthshire-Argyllshire boundary. Other lines in the south-east link Perth to the towns of Fife and Stirlingshire.

Parliamentary constituencies


Following the Act of Union, Perthshire returned members to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1708.


  • The Royal Burgh of Perth originally formed part of the Perth burghs constituency along with burghs in Fife and Forfarshire. The Representation of the People (Scotland) Act 1832 made Perth a separate burgh constituency.
  • The remainder of the county returned a single member as the parliamentary county of Perthshire. The parishes of Tulliallan, Culross, Muckhart, and the Perthshire portions of the parishes of Logie and Fossaway were annexed to constituency of Clackmannanshire and Kinross in 1832.



In 1885 seats in the House of Commons were redistributed: Perthshire received three seats.

  • Perth remained a burgh constituency.
  • Perthshire Eastern
  • Perthshire Western



In 1918 there was a further redistribution. Perthshire was combined with Kinross-shire to form a parliamentary county, divided into two constituencies:

  • Perth constituency consisted of the burgh of Perth, the former Eastern constituency and part of the Western constituency. In 1950 it was renamed Perth and East Perthshire. The area included in the constituency was defined in 1948 and 1970 as the burghs of Perth, Abernethy, Alyth, Blairgowrie and Rattray and Coupar Angus; and the Eastern and Perth districts of the county of Perth.[7]
  • Kinross and Western Perthshire: the constituency consisted of the entire County of Kinross, the burghs of Aberfeldy, Auchterarder, Callander, Crieff, Doune, Dunblane and Pitlochry; and the Central, Highland and Western districts of the county of Perth.[7]

These boundaries continued in use until 1983, when new constituencies were formed based on the Local Government regions and districts created in 1975.



Perthshire was represented in House of Commons of the United Kingdom from 1975 to 2005.



Perthshire has two constituencies and two Members of Parliament.

Famous places


Notable people




See also



  1. ^ Penny, George (1836). Traditions of Perth, containing sketches of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and notices of public occurrences, during the last century etc. Dewar, Sidey, Morison, Peat, and Drummond. p. 313.
  2. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "County Council Offices, York Place, Perth (LB39323)". Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  3. ^ "No. 19298". The Edinburgh Gazette. 21 August 1973. p. 979.
  4. ^ Patton, David (1977). Arms of the County Councils of Scotland. Port Charlotte: Argyll Reproductions Ltd.
  5. ^ Wilson, John Marius. "The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland; or, Dictionary of Scottish topography". Edinburgh A. Fullarton. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ "walkhighlands Ben Lawers". walkhighlands.co.uk. 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b The Parliamentary Constituencies (Scotland) Order 1970 (S.I. 1970 No. 1680)

56°30′N 4°00′W / 56.500°N 4.000°W / 56.500; -4.000