Tom-nam-brach or Tom-na-brach was a fortified site belonging to the Earls of Strathearn in the 12th or 13th centuries on the lands of Fendoch.
There is a reference to an old “castle” on this site in antiquarian notes from 1783, the last stones of which were removed in that year to build a nearby bridge over the River Almond. The castle stood at the western end of an earthwork on a hill named Tom-nam-brach and was said to be around 55m in circumference, perhaps suggesting a round shape.
Today the mound is still visible rising from a wide, largely flat area of land on a slight ridge to the south of the road through Glenalmond. Below the mound is a pile of stones, some of which are quite sizeable. They may be partially field clearance however they do appear to be arranged in a curve arcing out from the east edge of the mound towards the north.
While most of the stones are rounded boulders of varying sizes there is one rectangular dressed stone visible.
On the north side and west sides, above the road, there is what may be evidence of terracing below the mound.
The site is of strategic importance, being located at the west end of lower Glenalmond where there’s a junction of sorts between the main north to south road from Crieff up through the Sma’ Glen to Aberfeldy and Dunkeld and an old route from Loch Tay in the west to Perth in the east. It is situated high above the River Almond with commanding views up the Sma’ Glen.
The mound is recorded on Canmore with the name of Dallick however the land on which it stands is actually Fendoch. An apparent tower named Dallyk is marked on Pont’s late 16th century map of South Strathearn, however this seems to be quite clearly placed to the north of the Almond and to the west of Alt Douny moir (presumably the Dunie Burn). I believe this may represent an earlier building on the site now occupied by Dallick House. Dallick may just have been applied to the mound by Historic Environment Scotland due to its position opposite Dallick House and it is unlikely to have been called Dallick historically.
By the early 13th century the lands of Fendoch seem to have been owned by Duncan, son of Malise. His son, Conal or Conghal, received the villa of Catherlavenach from Robert, Earl of Strathearn. Conal married Ada, daughter of Ralf or Radulf, and they had two daughters and co-heiresses, Muriella or Muriel and Maria or Mary. Muriel married Malise, Earl of Strathearn, taking with her half of Tullibardine, “the lands of Buchanty, &c., being the half of Finach” and part of Lethendy. The corresponding halves of these lands went to Maria.
The last Earl of Strathearn, Walter Stewart, was executed in 1437 following his involvement in the murder of his nephew, James I. In 1443 Sir David Murray of Tullibardine received a charter of the lands of Fynnach in Glenalmond from his cousin, Robert Duncanson of Struan, which the following year were incorporated into the barony of Tullibardine by James II.
By 1450 Sir David was Bailie of the Earldom of Strathearn and Keeper of Methven Castle. Following Sir David’s death in 1451 or 1452 he was succeeded by his son, William Murray of Tullibardine, who like his father was Bailie of the Earldom of Strathearn but also Shield Bearer to the King, Sheriff of Perth and Keeper of Doune Castle (from 1456 to 1458).
In 1456 William received a fresh charter of the barony of Tullibardine from James II, which stated that “the lands of Fynach are granted in free Forest according to the meiths and marches following – namely, beginning at the Burn of Corrymorgil and so passing by the water of Almond as the said water runs to the Mill of St. Mavene and thence to the Burn called Connachon.”
In 1613 various lands in Perthshire, including the lands of Eister, Wester and Myddill Fyndoch with the forest of Fyndoche, were granted by John Murray, 1st Earl of Tullibardine, and his son William, to Patrick Lyon, 1st Earl of Kinghorne, the husband of John’s daughter, Anne. James VI granted the same lands in Perthshire to Patrick Murray, son of John Murray, 1st Earl of Tullibardine, in 1622. The grant was re-confirmed in 1624 and in 1631 Patrick granted the same lands to his second wife Elizabeth Dent, Countess of Tullibardine.
Fendoch remained in the Murray family as part of their Glenalmond estate until the early 19th century when the estate was broken up and sold by John Murray, 4th Duke of Atholl. In 1807 the Duke sold Wester, Mid and Easter Fendoch, Tomnacroiche and parts of Newton and Craignafarar, to his cousin, Charles Moray Stirling of Abercairny, for £10,500.
Later in the 19th century possible Romano-British or Romano-Belgic metalwork dating to the late 1st or early 2nd century AD was found around 700m to the east of the site and Fendoch Roman fort is around 600m to the south-east. The mound is now within farmland associated with Fort Cottage, named after the nearby Roman fort.
Alternative names for Tom-nam-brach
Feandoche; Feannach; Fendoch; Fendoche; Finach; Fynach; Fyndoch; Fynnach; Fynnache; Tom-na-brach; Tom-nam-broch