Large scale map of Perth and Clackmannan
By STOBIE, James , 1783

The Counties of Perth & Clackmannan Surveyed and Published by James Stobie. Engraved by Thomas Conder.

British Isles Scotland
  • Author: STOBIE, James
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: James Stobie
  • Publication date: 1783.
  • Physical description: Engraved map backed on linen, folding into original brown cloth slipcover with gilt lettering.
  • Dimensions: 1655 by 1830mm. (65.25 by 72 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 11546


James Stobie (fl.1775-1804) was the estate manager for John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl. He designed several villages in Perthshire for the Duke, most notably Stanley and Pitcairngreen, so presumably knew the area well. His map was the first comprehensive study of Perthshire.

There is an elaborate title cartouche surrounded by rocks, greenery and figures, one of whom is wearing highland dress, forbidden since the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. At the upper left corner is a text concerning the history and geography of the area. Amongst other things, it notes that the sword of Robert the Bruce is kept in the castle of Clackmannan. It is dedicated to “the nobility and gentry of the two counties” with a separate message of thanks to Thomas Graham for “recommending me to your friends”. There are twelve views of important places; one of which is a view of Perth, complementing the inset map of the city at the lower left.

The views of the major seats provide some insights into the relations between the local nobility, and their involvement in empire and the Jacobite rebellions. At the lower edge is Shaw Park, the seat of Lord Charles “Patch” Cathcart, so-called because he wore a black silk patch to cover the wound he received while fighting in the Battle of Fontenoy. His daughter Mary was married to Thomas Graham, whose seat Balgowan appears at the lower right. Stobie includes a personal thanks to Graham, suggesting that he provided considerable support. Graham was interested himself in land management and urban planning, and a detailed map of the area would probably have appealed to him. A man of great spirit, he once rode ninety miles to from Edinburgh to Balgowan and back again to ensure that his wife had her jewels for a ball. Mary’s elder sister, Jane, married John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl, whose seats Atholl House and Dunkeld are both shown. Murray was Lord Lieutenant of Perthshire from 1794 to 1830.

Almost forty years had passed since the last Jacobite Uprising by the time this map was published, but the repercussions continued to shape Scottish society. Doune Castle, the seat of Francis Stuart, 10th Earl of Moray, had been used as a stronghold by Bonnie Prince Charlie and had not recovered; by the end of the century it would be in ruins. The father of James Farquharson, whose seat Marlie appears beneath the message to Graham, fought on the Jacobite side in the 1715 rising and was only allowed to keep his life and lands after pleading for clemency; James made sure to stay loyal to the Hanover government. At the lower right is Belmont Castle, seat of the Right Hon. James Stuart MacKenzie. Both he and his brother John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, were dogged throughout their political careers by accusations of Jacobite sympathies. The caption names him Lord Privy Seal of Scotland, an honour secured for him by Bute after the earl resigned. On the other hand, Taymouth, seat of the Earl of Breadalbane, was held by a branch of the Clan Campbell, who had fought on the side of the British government and formed the famous Highland Regiment, the Black Watch.

As the British Empire expanded, it became an ever more attractive career option for younger sons of the nobility and ambitious opportunists. Underneath the dedication is Castle Huntly, the seat of George Paterson, a nabob from Dundee who made his fortune as an advisor to the Nawab of Arcot and bought Huntly from the impoverished Strathmore family. His new estate enabled him to marry into the nobility; the family of his wife, the Hon. Anne Grey, held the castle centuries before. Britain’s interests in the West Indies are represented by Keir and Gartmore, the seats of Archibald Stirling and Robert Graham respectively, who were both scions of noble families who spent their early lives as planters in Jamaica before coming into their estates via distant relations. Graham was also a poet, and the author of the famous Scottish folk song “If doughty deeds my lady please”.