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Innerpeffray Library

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Innerpeffray Library

Brian Robertson

Innerpeffray Library is located in the hamlet of Innerpeffray, by the River Earn, near Crieff in Perth and Kinross.

The land here was granted to the Drummond family in gratitude for their support for Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn and remained in the family for centuries. In Tudor times St Mary’s chapel was built by the then Lord Drummond for the family’s personal use. In the seventeenth century the Drummond family was active in the Civil War on the Royalist side.

David Drummond, the third Lord Madertie was the brother-in-law of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose (having married Montrose’s sister Beatrix). It was he who requested in his will that a library be kept partly in the west end of the chapel and partly in a building he had recently constructed in the east end of the kirkyard. This was to house David’s large collection of books in religion, witchcraft, demonology and astrology. The library started in 1680 in the attic of St Mary’s Chapel and some of Montrose’s personal books, which were thankfully rescued by the family following Montrose’s execution, are in the collection.

Surviving despite his Royalist sympathies, towards the end of his years David Drummond made his substantial collection of books available to be used by local people free of any charge and created a fund to pay for their maintenance. This action was unprecedented and created the first public lending library in Scotland.

David died in 1692 and the Governors of the Innerpeffray Mortification, a registered charity under Scottish law, started to administer and maintain the collection in 1694.

His descendant, Robert Hay Drummond, commissioned the construction of the present library building and that opened in 1762. The Victorian schoolroom was added in 1846 to replace the first ‘little house’. The library continued to lend to the public until 1968.

This tranquil oasis of peace, history and learning, is not to be missed. For opening hours and further information please refer to the library website.

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