The books, the people, the story
The Library of Innerpeffray
Innerpeffray, by Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland    Telephone +44(0)1764 652 819    Email


335 years in 3 minutes - The Living Library: view a short film of our history.

The Library and School at Innerpeffray were founded by David Drummond 3rd Lord Madertie in around 1680, the first free public lending library in Scotland. Madertie was a member of the Drummond Family, one of the most important landowning families of the area, friend and brother-in-law to James Graham, First Marquis of Montrose.

The original library was "partly in the west end of the chapel of Innerpeffray and partly in that little new house lately built by me at the east end of the kirk yard." Making books available to ordinary people free of charge was unprecedented. Madertie wished the library and school to benefit the community "in time coming" and leaving them with a legacy of 5000 Scottish Merks charged his successors with the responsibility.

In 1739 Robert Hay Drummond inherited the Innerpeffray estate and responsibility for the Library and School. He raised the funds and commissioned architect Charles Freebairn to design and build a new Library building immediately adjacent to the Chapel. This handsome Georgian edifice still houses the library today

By the nineteenth century the school buildings were 'dilapidated' and a new School and Schoolmasters house were completed in 1846. Pupils came from the surrounding farms and settlements and the school was still in operation until 1946.

The Borrowers' Register is perhaps the Library's most valuable book, a handwritten record all the local people to who came to choose a book, and take it home to read. Today, families from all over the world find their ancestors in the Register, often in their own handwriting, and can hold the books they borrowed.

Read the full history of Innerpeffray in style with a copy of our limited edition book: The First Light.


When David, 3rd Lord Madertie wrote his Will in 1680, he states "I have erected a Library... which I appoint and ordain to be preserved entire... for the benefit and encouragement of young students", he set in motion an institution that was to last beyond the span of his family, over three hundred years. After his death the family endeavoured to carry out his wishes and set up a Trust Fund - The Innerpeffray Mortification - to care for the Library and School. Today the Mortification still cares for the Library, though it has adapted to the laws and needs of the years and is run by a Board of Governors, rather than the family, it is a Scottish Charity, SC013847.

Sadly, Lord Madertie's endowment has not stood the test of time, and the Mortification relies on Visitor income and fundraising to remain open. For information about how you can help the Library, please see our Support Us pages.

Robert Hay Drummond

Robert Hay Drummond

The Marquis of Montrose

The Marquis of Montrose

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