PERTHSHIRE, an inland and most extensive county, nearly in the centre of Scotland, bounded on the north and north-west by Inverness-shire; on the east by the county of Forfar; on the south-east by the counties of Fife and Kinross; on the south by the Firth of Forth, and the counties of Stirling and Clackmannan; on the west by Argyllshire; and on the south-west by the county of Dumbarton. It lies between 56° 4' and 56° 57' (N. Lat.) and 3° 4' and 4° 50' (W. Long.), and is about 77 miles in length and 68 miles in extreme breadth; comprising an area of 5000 square miles, or 3,200,000 acres; 30,796 houses, of which 28,993 are inhabited; and containing a population of 137,390, of whom 64,978 are males and 72,412 females. This county, the name of which is of doubtful and disputed origin, was anciently inhabited by the Caledonians, and, from its situation on the north side of the wall of Antonine, was among the last of those portions of the kingdom which the Romans attempted to add to their dominions in Britain. The latest struggle for the independence of their country made by the Britons against their Roman invaders, was the battle near the Grampians between Agricola and the Caledonians under their leader Galgacus, who, after having routed the ninth legion of Agricola's army, was at length finally subdued. For centuries the county of Perth was the metropolitan county; its chief town was the residence of the Scottish kings till the reign of James III.; and the abbey of Scone, from a very early period to a comparatively recent date, continued to be the place of their coronation. But the history of the county is so identified with the general history of the kingdom, that any further detail would be superfluous.
It was anciently divided into the districts of Monteith, Gowrie, Perth, Strathearn, the Stormont, Breadalbane, Rannoch, Balquhidder, and Atholl, all of which were stewartries under the jurisdiction of the great landholders to whom they gave titles, but which, since the abolition of heritable jurisdictions, have ceased to be under any peculiar authority. Prior to the fall of episcopacy the county formed two large sees, the bishops of which had their seats respectively at Dunkeld and Dunblane; but from that period, it has been almost wholly included in the synod of Perth and Stirling. It comprises several presbyteries, and sixty-nine parishes, besides parts of other parishes. Two sheriffs-substitute are appointed by the sheriff, who reside respectively at Perth and Dunblane; and for civil purposes the county is divided into the districts of Perth, Blairgowrie, Weem, Culross, Auchterarder, Crieff, Dunblane, Carse of Gowrie, and Cupar-Angus, in each of which petty-sessions are held by the magistrates, and quarterly small-debt courts by the sheriffs-substitute. Perth (the county-town) and Culross are royal burghs; and the county contains the towns or villages of Alyth, Auchterarder, Blairgowrie, Bridge-of-Earn, Callander, Crieff, Cupar-Angus, Doune, Dunblane, Kincardine, Stanley, and other places; several of which are burghs of barony.
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