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Road junction from bridge, Dunblane. - geograph.org.uk - 1505186.jpg
Part of Dunblane town centre
Stirling UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within the Stirling council area
Population9,000 (2011)
OS grid reference NN779007
  Edinburgh 34 mi (55 km)
  London 359 mi (578 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DUNBLANE
Postcode district FK15
Dialling code 01786
Police Scotland
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
56°11′02″N3°58′03″W / 56.183827°N 3.967410°W / 56.183827; -3.967410 Coordinates: 56°11′02″N3°58′03″W / 56.183827°N 3.967410°W / 56.183827; -3.967410

Dunblane ( /dʌnˈbln/ , Scottish Gaelic : Dùn Bhlàthain) is a small town in the council area of Stirling in central Scotland, and prior to 1994 inside the boundaries of Perthshire. It is a commuter town, with many residents making use of good transport links to much of the Central Belt, including Glasgow and Edinburgh.


Dunblane is built on the banks of the Allan Water (or River Allan), a tributary of the River Forth. Dunblane Cathedral is its most prominent landmark. Dunblane had a population of 8,114 at the 2001 census, which grew to 8,811 at the 2011 census; both of these figures were computed according to the 2010 definition of the locality. [1]

Origin of name

The most popular theory for the derivation of the name "Dunblane" is that it means "fort of Blane", commemorating Saint Blane (or Blán in Old Irish), an early Christian saint who lived probably in the late 6th century. His main seat was originally Kingarth on the Isle of Bute. He or his followers may have founded a church at Dunblane; the cult of Blán possibly came there with settlers from what is now Argyll in later centuries.

The earliest spellings of the name Dunblane are of the form Dul Blaan, the first element being a Pictish word for 'water meadow, haugh' which was borrowed into Scottish Gaelic. There are parallels to Dul Blaan in such Scottish place-names as Dalserf, Dalmarnock and Dalpatrick, all of which commemorate saints.


The earliest evidence for Christianity on the site are two cross-slabs of the 10th to 11th centuries which are preserved in the cathedral. Incorporated into the later medieval building, but originally free-standing, is an 11th-century bell-tower, whose height was increased in the 15th century. The nave and aisleless choir are 13th century. Dunblane did not have a rich or extensive medieval diocese (37 parishes), and the cathedral is relatively modest in scale, but its refined architecture is much admired, as is its setting overlooking the valley of the Allan Water.

Jim Dawson recorded a brief history of the first 1000 years of Dunblane's history as presented by Dr Murray Cook, Stirling Council's Archaeologist https://soundscapesofstirling.co.uk/videos/murray_cook_lecropt/?fbclid=IwAR2c2tW_Eby2q7LgUpKPiyyOd5mhUsnGVFR33u286_tGDk5Ngw2ObbOAw6s

After the Reformation, the nave of the cathedral was abandoned and soon became roofless and used for burials. The choir was retained as the parish church. The nave was re-roofed and the cathedral provided with new furnishings by Robert Rowand Anderson between 1889 and 1893. During the boom years of the Hydropathy movement in the 19th century, Dunblane was the location of a successful hydropathic establishment (see photo below). [2]

Since the early 1970s the town has grown extensively and is now regarded as a highly sought-after commuter town due to its excellent road and rail links and good schools. Dunblane is close to the University of Stirling's campus at Bridge of Allan, and is a popular location for academics.

Japanese Wagyu beef is now being raised in Dunblane.

Governance and status

The town was a royal burgh and part of Perthshire until the 1975 abolition of Scottish counties, from which point it became part of Stirling District in Central Region. In 1994, the regions were themselves abolished and Dunblane's only local authority became Stirling Council. In addition, Dunblane has an active community council.

Until 1983, Dunblane was part of the Kinross and Western Perthshire constituency of the UK parliament, being represented by predominantly Unionist (and Conservative) MPs. After 1983, it became part of the Stirling constituency, and since then has been represented by Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs. In the Scottish Parliament, Dunblane is part of the Clackmannanshire and Dunblane constituency and the Mid Scotland and Fife region. It shares a ward with Bridge of Allan in council elections.

Dunblane is often referred to as a city, due to the presence of Dunblane Cathedral. However, this status was never officially recognised. [3] [4]

Landmarks, facilities and civic life

Dunblane currently has three supermarkets, a Tesco (opened in 1996) and a M&S Foodhall (opened in 2009), [5] as well as a local Co-op (opened after the Marks and Spencer). Among other shops, the High Street has two independent butchers and one remaining bank, the Bank of Scotland

Over the course of 6 years, a small group of young local boys and their parents raised money to build a skatepark in the Laighills. The skatepark was completed on 23 February 2007 and has already been visited by Death skateboard team and by the Vans UK Tour.


Dunblane railway station 2019 at Dunblane station - platform 1.JPG
Dunblane railway station

The town is served by Dunblane railway station, which has regular services to Stirling, Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is also a stop on the Caledonian Sleeper from Inverness, and several other long distance trains to Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, and even London. Formerly, Dunblane station was also the junction for services over the scenically attractive route to Doune, Callander and Crianlarich, where the line joined the still extant line from Glasgow to Oban. The route to Oban via the popular Callander line closed in 1965.

Dunblane is the northernmost station of Network Rail's Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme, which includes electrification.

Dunblane is the point at which the M9 motorway ends and joins the A9 dual carriageway north towards Perth. The A9 formerly went through the centre of Dunblane, but a bypass was completed in 1991 and the old road became the B8033. The rapid expansion of the town has led to a large increase in local car usage, resulting in considerable parking problems.


Dunblane Cathedral in February 2012 Dunblane Cathedral 2012.jpg
Dunblane Cathedral in February 2012

Dunblane Cathedral is remarkable in having retained more of its late-medieval choir stalls than any other Scottish church building (except King's College Chapel, Aberdeen), and also is noted for its organ. Further fragments of medieval woodwork from the cathedral are displayed in the town's museum, formerly the Cathedral Museum, situated nearby. Though still used as a parish church, the building is in the care of Historic Scotland. To the south of the cathedral are some stone vaults of medieval origin, which are the only remaining fragment of the bishop's palace.

Adjacent to the cathedral, Scottish Churches House was (from the 1960s until its closure in 2011) a centre for ecumenical study and the former headquarters for Action of Churches Together in Scotland. It now operates as a hotel, featuring a medieval chapel in the grounds.

Leighton Library

The old town centre retains a number of historic buildings in addition to the cathedral, including the 17th century Leighton Library, the oldest private library in Scotland open to the public (on selected days in summer). A well-preserved late medieval town-house nearby (which was probably built as the manse of the Dean of the medieval cathedral) houses a local history museum (open in the summer; free entry). A modern extension has recently been completed within its interior courtyard to provide additional exhibition space and allow disabled access.

Dunblane Centre

The Dunblane Centre is a purpose-built youth, family, arts, sports and community centre. It was built after a community vote chose that option for money from a consolidation of several funds which were created in the aftermath of the 1996 tragedy. [6] It opened in 2004 and receives no state finance, and is entirely self funding, relying on user revenue and fundraising. It is run by the Dunblane Youth and Sports Centre Trust (Charity No. SC027397), [7] with a board of trustees from the community. It was built next to the site of a former Shell petrol station which now houses an M&S food hall.


Dunblane Hydro Hotel Dunblanehydro angela mudge.jpg
Dunblane Hydro Hotel

The north side of the town is dominated by the Dunblane Hydro Hotel, currently owned by the Hilton Hotel Group and operated under the Doubletree brand. The Victorian building sits in wooded grounds on the top of a steep and wide grass slope. Dating from the late 19th century, it has been redeveloped and extended several times but still retains its main building relatively intact. It originally housed extensive spa and therapeutic bath facilities (like the other Scottish "Hydros", such as Crieff and Peebles).

Clubs and societies


There are currently around two thousand pupils in schools in Dunblane.

Dunblane Primary School

Dunblane Primary School is on Doune Road, on the western side of Dunblane. The school has a large playing field (with a basketball court), regularly used for extra-curricular activities and by local clubs. A council-run nursery is attached to the school, in a separate building.

In 1996, the school's gym was the scene of the Dunblane massacre. The school reopened within days, and the old gym was quickly demolished and replaced with an extension at the other end of the building. The former gym site became a memorial garden. Newton Primary School was still under construction at the time of the massacre, so Dunblane Primary was one of the largest primary schools in Scotland. It is still a very large school, with at least two classes per year group, with additional multi-age or "composite" classes being created where demand requires it.

Dunblane Primary's uniform consists of blue polo shirts and red jumpers (except Primary 7, whose jumpers are black). The colour of the school logo on jumpers varies by house. The houses are named after local castles; Airthrey (red), Doune (blue), Drummond (yellow) and Kilbryde (green).

St. Mary's Episcopal Primary School

St Mary's is the oldest and smallest primary school in Dunblane, located near the middle of the town. It has been on its current site in Smithy Loan (near the Fourways roundabout) since 1850. St Mary's was established as a church school for poor children under the incumbency of the first rector of St Mary's Episcopal Church, Canon Henry Malcolm. It was renovated and extended in 1997. [8]

St Mary's had two teachers until the 1970s. There are now four classes covering the seven primary years, plus a nursery class. The St Mary's uniform consists of blue polo shirts and green jumpers. The houses are Cromlix, Keir, Kilbryde and Kippenross.

Newton Primary School

Newton Primary was opened in 1996. The name of the school comes from Newton Farm, which goes back as far as the Charter of 1655 when Oliver Cromwell confirmed James Pearson of Kippenross as the owner. The streets that encircle the school, Newton Crescent and Ochiltree (named after the Bishop of Dunblane from 1429 to 1447), are reflected in the school's logo, which includes a tractor and a celtic cross.

Around 440 pupils attend Newton Primary. Like the other two primary schools in Dunblane, it also has an attached nursery. Newton Primary's uniform consists of white polo shirts and royal blue jumpers.

Dunblane High School

Dunblane High School has roughly 800 pupils and 60 teachers and is fed mainly by pupils from Dunblane's three state primary schools. The school is in the south west of Dunblane on Old Doune Road. The current building was completed in November 2007, later being formally opened by Jamie Murray. It was constructed on the playing fields of the previous 1970s structure, the old campus being sold for residential development and the playing fields moved to the other side of the bypass. The current building includes some theatre facilities, a fitness suite, a dance studio, several pupil lounges, and an all weather sports pitch that was originally built for the old building. The building was the first Public-Private Partnership school project in the Stirling Council area. Complaints were made that it had inadequate catering facilities, and was the only Stirling school built without a swimming pool. The school has not had a library since 2011.

In 2013, the school was listed in the top ten performing schools of Scotland relating to academic achievement, [9] with well over three quarters of its roll progressing to higher education. It has a large extra-curricular base, including the Make A Difference Group (MAD), a charity committee.

In 2019, the school was named as Scotland's second best performing state school as 76% of school leavers had achieved five or more highers in 2018. [10]

Dunblane High's uniform has been, since 2010, a white shirt with black trousers or skirt, "Blu Tack" blue knitwear and a royal blue blazer (and a black blazer with light blue braiding for S6). Ties vary by year group. The houses are Ramoyle (red), Sheriffmuir (yellow) and Kilbryde (blue).

Queen Victoria School

Queen Victoria School is a co-educational boarding school for children of those in the British Armed Forces, and is managed and funded by the Ministry of Defence. It is situated roughly 1 mile (2 km) north of the town centre, in a secluded area overlooking the A9. The school's chapel is a notable example of Scottish medieval revival architecture, based on the 14th century Dominican (later parish) church of St Monans in Fife.


On 13 March 1996, local man Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and their teacher, Gwen Mayor, in Dunblane Primary School's gymnasium before killing himself. He used his licensed weapons and ammunition.

There is a memorial to the 17 victims in the local cemetery and a cenotaph in the cathedral. There are also stained glass windows in Church of the Holy Rude, St Blanes and Lecropt tempering the Children and their Teacher. The funds raised in the aftermath of the tragedy were used to build a new community centre (the Dunblane Centre). Following the incident, the government passed legislation banning ownership of all handguns—firearms under 60 centimetres (23.6 in) in overall length, in the United Kingdom.

Tennis players Jamie Murray and Andy Murray were in the school at the time of the massacre.

Areas and landmarks

Notable former and current residents

Related Research Articles

Dunblane massacre 1996 mass shooting at Dunblane Primary School, Dunblane, United Kingdom

The Dunblane school massacre took place at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, Scotland, on 13 March 1996, when Thomas Hamilton shot 16 children and one teacher dead and injured 15 others, before killing himself. It remains the deadliest mass shooting in British history.

Doune Human settlement in Scotland

Doune is a burgh in the district of Stirling, Scotland. Doune's postal address places the town in Perthshire which is also its Registration County, although administratively Doune is under the control of Stirling Council. Doune is assigned Falkirk postcodes starting 'FK'. The village lies within the parish of Kilmadock and mainly within the area surrounded by the River Teith and Ardoch Burn.

Stirling (council area) Council area of Scotland

The Stirling council area is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, and has a population of about 94,330. It was created under the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994 with the boundaries of the Stirling district of the former Central local government region, and it covers most of Stirlingshire and the south-western portion of Perthshire. Both counties were abolished for local government purposes under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

Newton Mearns Human settlement in Scotland

Newton Mearns is an affluent suburban town and the largest settlement in East Renfrewshire, Scotland. It lies 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Glasgow City Centre on the main road to Ayrshire, 410 feet (125 m) above sea level. It has a population of approximately 26,993, stretching from Whitecraigs and Kirkhill in the northeast to Maidenhill in the southeast, to Westacres and Greenlaw in the west and Capelrig/Patterton in the northwest.

Doune Castle Castle in Scotland

Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune, in the Stirling district of central Scotland. The castle is sited on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith. It lies 8 miles (13 km) north-west of Stirling, where the Teith flows into the River Forth. Upstream, 8 miles (13 km) further north-west, the town of Callander lies at the edge of the Trossachs, on the fringe of the Scottish Highlands.

Dunblane Cathedral Church in United Kingdom

Dunblane Cathedral is the larger of the two Church of Scotland parish churches serving Dunblane, near the city of Stirling, in central Scotland.

Saint Blane Scottish bishop and confessor

Saint Blane was a Bishop and Confessor in Scotland, born on the Isle of Bute, date unknown; died 590. His feast is kept on 10 August.

Máel Ísu or Malise II is the fifth known mormaer, or earl, of the Scottish region of Strathearn. He was the son of Robert, 4th Earl of Strathearn.

Strathblane Human settlement in Scotland

Strathblane is a village and parish in the registration county of Stirlingshire, situated in the southwestern part of the Stirling council area, in central Scotland. It lies at the foothills of the Campsie Fells and the Kilpatrick Hills on the Blane Water, 12 miles (19 km) north of Glasgow, 14 miles (23 km) east-southeast of Dumbarton, and 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Stirling. Strathblane is a dormitory village for Greater Glasgow, and has a total resident population of 1,811.

Linlithgow Human settlement in Scotland

Linlithgow is a town in West Lothian, Scotland. It was historically West Lothian's county town, reflected in the county's alternative name of Linlithgowshire. An ancient town, it lies south of its two most prominent landmarks: Linlithgow Palace and Linlithgow Loch, and north of the Union Canal.

Blair Drummond Human settlement in Scotland

Blair Drummond is a small rural community 5 miles northwest of Stirling in the Stirling district of Scotland, predominantly located along the A84 road. Lying to the north of the River Forth, the community is within the registration county of Perthshire.

The Dunblane, Doune and Callander Railway was opened in 1858 to connect Callander and Doune with the Scottish railway network. When promoters wished to make a connection to Oban, Callander was an obvious place to start, and from 1880 Callander was on the main line to Oban. The railway network was reduced in the 1960s and the line closed in 1965. Oban is now served by a different route.

Muthill Human settlement in Scotland

Muthill, pronounced, is a village in Perth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland. It lies just west of the former railway line connecting Gleneagles and Crieff, 3 miles south of Crieff. The line closed between the two points on 6/7/1964. The name possibly derives from Moot hill, a place of judgement.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld diocese of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld is one of eight dioceses of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in Scotland. On 9 January 2014, Stephen Robson was enthroned as the diocese's ninth bishop.

St Blanes Church, Dunblane church in Scotland, UK

St Blane's is a Church of Scotland church located in Dunblane, Scotland. The evangelical congregation is within the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Stirling. The Gothic Revival church building opened in 1854 as the Free Church and is now a category B listed building.

Kingarth Human settlement in Scotland

Kingarth is a historic village and parish on the Isle of Bute, off the coast of south-western Scotland. The village is within the parish of its own name, and is situated at the junction of the A844 and B881. In the Early Middle Ages it was the site of a monastery and bishopric and the cult centre of Saints Cathan and Bláán.

Milton of Campsie Human settlement in Scotland

Milton of Campsie is a large village in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland roughly 10 miles (16 km) north of Glasgow. Nestling at the foot of the Campsie Fells, it is neighboured by Kirkintilloch and Lennoxtown.


  1. "Dunblane (Stirling)" . Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  2. Bradley, James; Dupree, Mageurite; Durie, Alastair (1997). "Taking the Water Cure: The Hydropathic Movement in Scotland, 1840-1940" (PDF). Business and Economic History. 26 (2): 429. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  3. Beckett, J V, City status in the British Isles, 1830–2002, Historical urban studies. Aldershot 2005
  4. "UK Cities". Department for Constitutional Affairs. 2002. Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  5. Dailyrecord.co.uk (27 February 2009). "Bubbly marks opening of Dunblane's new M&S". dailyrecord. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  6. "Welcome to the Dunblane Centre". Dunblane Centre. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  7. Dunblane Youth and Sports Centre Trust (SC027397) Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  8. "St.Mary's Episcopal Primary School". Stmarysepsdunblane.org.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  9. Scotland’s best performing schools revealed The Scotsman, 20 December 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  10. "Revealed: The top 50 state schools in Scotland 2019".
  11. "Scotland Women star returns to roots for talent campaign". STV News. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  12. "New Bishop of Brechin ready to 'roll up sleeves'".