Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
The most important settings within the town of Perth are Simon Glover’s house in Couvrefew, or Curfew Street, and the Dominican monastery–which had been founded in 1231–at the junction of Blackfriars Wynd and Couvrefew. The architecture of the monastery is Gothic, including secret passages and a council-room, where the political conspiracies underlying the plot are hatched. Glover’s daughter Catherine, the novel’s claimant to the eponymous title, becomes caught up in these convoluted machinations after attending the monastery’s church on Saint Valentine’s Eve, where the rivalry between her two lovers–the armorer Henry Gow, whose smithy is in Mill Wynd on the western side of the town, and Conachar, heir to the chieftainship of Clan Quhele–first flares up. A sharp contrast is drawn between the gloomy monastery and the hill of Kinnoul outside the town, where Catherine takes instruction from a Carthusian white friar. There she observes an oak tree whose precarious situation–in the cleft of a rock split by lightning–symbolizes her own perilous situation.
Other featured locations within the town include the council house on the High Street, where Sir Patrick Charteris of Kinfauns presides–which is as gloomy as its equivalent in the monastery–and the High Church of Saint John’s. The latter location is a natural selection as the meeting place for the trial by ordeal, by virtue of the fact that Saint John is the town’s patron saint. The arena for the fight in which Henry defeats the assassin Bonthron is marked out in the nearby Skinners’ Yards.
*River Tay. Scottish river on which the town of Perth stands. It follows a winding course eastward, then southward, from Loch Tay and then proceeds eastward from the town to the Firth of Tay. The novel’s major settings outside the town are all distributed along the river. The river’s eastward reach features in a significant expedition from Sir John Ramorny’s bankside house in the town, which proceeds under the town’s old bridge–whose Gothic arches were washed away in 1621–to the gibbet where Bonthron is hung and then to the fishing village of Newburgh on the edge of the firth, from which the party subsequently strikes south through the forest to Falkland Tower, a hunting lodge in Fifeshire (the present-day Falkland Palace is a much later construction). The northern reach is featured in Simon Glover’s expedition to the mansion of the Booshaloch, below Tom-an-Lonach (which Scott translates as Knoll of the Yew Trees, although it actually means “meadowy hill”), from which Loch Tay can be seen; the hut where Simon confers with the recently elevated Conachar is nearby.
The Inch, where the crucial conflict takes place–in Scott’s version between the branch of Clan Chattan occupying Perthshire and South Invernesshire and the ill-fated Clan Quhele–is on the bank of the Tay, not far from Falkland. The Abbey of Scone and the Castle of Kinfauns play host to the representatives of the two rival clans before the contest.
*Canongate. District of Edinburgh described in the novel as the “Court end of town.” The series to which The Fair Maid of Perth belongs is titled “Chronicles of the Canongate” after it.