Balnauld of Strathtummel Homestead

The homesteads of Balnald have a variety of different spellings: Balnauld, Balinald, and Blinald. It is now a private house.

Balnauld of Strathtummel

Balnauld of Strathtummel, close to the Loch Tummel Inn

Originally there were two homesteads called 'Balnald' in Strathtummel. One, which is a private dwelling, is nearly opposite the Loch Tummel Inn and the other was just to the north of Borenich Farm, which sometimes had been called Balnald of Borenich. To overcome this name problem, in the 1900s, the owners of the one near to the Loch Tummel Inn changed their spelling to 'Balnauld'. This web-site uses these two spellings to distinguish between the two homesteads (e.g. with the census returns). However, in the Old Parish Records the same spelling is used for both. Consequently it is unclear as to which is meant, except when it is referred to as 'Balnald of Borenich', which is the easterly one by Borenich farm.

It is evident that 'Blinald' and 'Balnald' are spellings of the same place, as the will of John Stewart in Ballachastle and Grissell Forbes, his spouse (1762) states that their daughter Margaret was married to John Stewart in Balnauld (and that Margaretís brother, John Stewart had died in July 1762). John Stewart and Margaret Stewart in Blinald had a daughter baptised on 8th October 1769 according to the Blair Atholl OPR.

In addition there was another Balnald in Glen Fincastle to the east of Borenich, but this was in the parish of Dull. In all cases the Blair Atholl OPR refers to this as Balnald of Fincastle.

James Stobie's map of Borenich

James Stobie's map of Borenich - west section (1783)

James Stobie's 1783 map is the first one to try to reliably identify the homesteads of Borenich using the name which appear in the Old Parish Records. Unfortunately, Balnauld is not mentioned. Chamberbane and Balnabruach are not mentioned either, but there are three un-named sets of dwellings which correspond in position to these homesteads.

The next map of Borenich was produced by John Thomson in 1827. Unfortunately Thomson relied heavily upon James Stobie's work, and in some cases too heavily. Thomson drew buildings in the same positions as in Stobie's map, but confuses Balnauld and Chamberbane with Croftdouglas and Balchapel, and names them incorrectly. So it is not until 1867, with the First Edition of the Ordnance Survey map of Perthshire, that Balnald of Strathtummel is officially identified.

Site of Balnauld of Strathtummel

Site of Balnauld of Strathtummel (First Edition of O.S. map for Perthshire, 1867)

The 1841 census return shows that there were two dwellings at Balnauld of Strathtummel. One dwelling was occupied by Peter Lamont, his family and servants, who were farming, whilst the other dwelling was occupied by the blacksmith, Duncan Robertson, and his family. There is no mention of the inn.

Balnauld of Strathtummel, from the south map

Balnauld of Strathtummel from the south

The smithy was on the north side of the road with a small track running up to it from the road in both directions. The westerly end of the building is open to the air and must have been the working smithy, with the family accommodation at the east end.

The smithy from the east map

Balnauld smithy from the east

The 1851 census shows that the blacksmith, James Robertson, was also farming 3 acres, suggesting that there was insufficient work for a full-time blacksmith. However, by 1861 master blacksmith Alexander Stewart and his wife Isabella McIntosh had taken over the smithy, and ran the business for the next twenty years.

The smithy from the west map

Balnauld smithy from the west

The Loch Tummel Inn is first mentioned in the 1851 census, and is shown as three buildings in the First Edition of O.S. map for Perthshire, 1867. The inn-keeper was James Stewart, who was also a farmer of 15 acres.

The Loch Tummel Inn map

The Loch Tummel Inn

The inn does not seem to have been taking paying guests and it is quite possible that the limited accommodation was taken up by James's family and the three servants. One of these servants was Isabella McDonald who was a herd girl aged 10 years old. As the building close to the smithy was a dairy and part of the inn, Isabella was probably helping to look after the cows and assist with their milking. The ruins of the dairy were demolished recently, and a large house now stands on the site next to the 'right of way' path.

The coachhouse, stables and hayloft map

The coachhouse, stables and hayloft

Originally the inn had a separate coachhouse, stables and hay-loft, to the east of the inn itself. However, with the demise of horse-drawn vehicles, there was no further need for stables. This allowed the inn to be enlarged by converting the stables and connecting it to the main building. The old stable block now forms a bar and restaurant, but from the outside, its original purpose is clear to see.

Balnauld, itself, was probably occupied by the local school teacher, Peter McFarlane, and his family. He was recorded as teaching "the usual branches of education", probably some maths and certainly English language. The 1891 census shows that until they went to school, the local children were only speaking Gaelic. A second teacher, Miss Suzanna Stewart, was teaching needlework, reading and writing. She was living at a fourth dwelling, which might have been part of the old school, close to Chamberbane.

The Post Office next to the Lochtummel Inn map

The Strathtummel Post Office

The Strathtummel Post Office and shop was a much later addition to the area. It closed in the 1980s.

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