Scottish Towns Dunning - History

The name Dunning appears in many forms in various documents throughout the ages: DUNNYNE - DUNYNE - DONYNG - DONYONGE - DINN - DINNIN - DUNYN - DUNING. The prefix DUN referred originally to a fortress or enclosure and later became connected with hill-names.

The old family name of Dunning comes from the village, the founder being Anechal Thane of Dunning, who witnessed the Charter of the Earl of Strathearn setting up the foundation of the Abbey of Inchaffray around 1200. A Robert Dunnyng was seven times Provost of Perth from 1472 to 1492.
The family and the village appear to have parted company as there has been no trace of people named Dunning in the village for the last few centuries.

The Rollo's of Duncrub
King David Bruce died 1371 and was succeeded by Robert the Stewart of Scotland and Earl of Strathearn.
John de Rollo obtained from that Prince a charter, dated at Methven 14th February 1380-1, confirming the grant formally given to him de terris de Findony, cum "parte de Dunyn, et de terris de Drumcroube et de "Ladcathy" (that is, of the lands of Findony, with part of Dunning and of the lands of Duncrub and Ledketty).
He was private secretary to Robert III and died in the beginning of the reign of James I.

The Rollo family can trace their lineage to a much earlier period. Eric Rollo, the Dane, had obtained a settlement in Normandy as early as the 8th century and from him were descended the Dukes of Normandy (in the line of whom, passing over several generations, we come to William the Conqueror).
Eric de Rollo, a scion of the same stock, accompanied the Conqueror to England in the capacity of Secretary. A portrait of him, taken in his ninety-eighth year, is said to be still in the family.
A descendant of his came to Scotland, as many other Normans did, in the time of David 1 and obtained from that monarch a grant of houses and lands in the Lothians. From him descended John de Rollo above named who, in the following century, settled in Perthshire and founded the family of Duncrub.

The Lineage is followed down through the centuries until William, the ninth Baron. He died 1852 leaving an only son - John Rogerson Rollo, in the Peerage of Scotland and Baron Dunning of Dunning and Pitcairn in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Since his accession his Lordship has greatly extended and improved the family estates, having aquired the lands of Kelty, Boghall, Steelend, Greenhill, Midgemill and Knowhead all in the parish of Dunning. Other lands in the parish of Auchterarder were also acquired.

The impressive Norman steeple of St Serf's Church dominates the village. The endowment of the church is first mentioned in a Charter of Inchaffray Abbey dated 1219, but the remains of an old doorway in the north wall are suggestive of the existance of a much older church.
The steeple is also of an older date, probably mid-12th century. The handsome pointed arch between church and steeple was probably introduced when that older church was replaced. The mediaevil church with its open-beam, high pitched roof existed until 1811, when it was reconstructed and enlarged as seen today. Ancient stone An ancient stone, standing at the base of the tower and bearing the designs of a Celtic cross and figuration, points to an even earlier church on the site - perhaps back in the days of St Serf himself.
The graveyard surrounding the church is of great interest with many old stones, some dating back to the early 17th century. Some carry symbols of the old trade and craft guilds to signify the occupation of the person interred.

Near the roadside, a mile to the west of the village, stands the monument to Maggie Maggies Wall Wells "burnt here - as a witch - 1657".There is no record of any trial, conviction or sentence, although these were usually diligently recorded. It may be that she was one of the many unfortuanate souls, improperly condemned in those fearful, suspicious times. As it is unusual to have a memorial to a witch, particularly one with a cross, it may have been erected as a mark of shame and repentance by those responsible.

The older houses in the village date from the 18th late century. In 1790, John, the 8th Baron Rollo, whose family first arrived at Duncrub in the 14th century, instigated the re-planning and re-building of the village; all houses having to be of stone with slated roofs. Simultaneously, land at Pitcairns was feued for weavers' cottages and now forms Newton of Pitcairns.
The villagers were involved mainly in the weaving industry and by the 1850's the population had reached 2,200. The collapse of the village weaving industry due to centralisation in large industrial mills, the enclosures and co-joinings of small farmsteads, the by-passing of the village by the main Stirling-Perth route and the coming of the railway in 1847 all contributed to the demise of the village as an important trading centre; the important annual market eventually being moved to Perth.

This endearing old village, snuggling in the Ochils in beautiful Strathearn, has many attractions. The visitor will receive a friendly welcome - in the shops - in the various establishments, where good food and refreshments are served - in fact, everywhere! Dunning is also an excellent and readily accessible centre for touring. For more information relating to this fascinating town, take a look at the
Dunning Parish History Society site.

© Scottish Towns