The village stands on low lying ground to the south of the River Isla. To its south the southern edge of Strathmore is defined by the gentle slopes of the Sidlaw Hills.
Most visitors encounter Meigle as they drive along the A94 between Perth and Forfar. The initial impressions of the village are of solidity and of redness: many of the buildings, including the church, are built from a reddish stone.
There are exceptions to the general colour scheme, the most striking of which is the Kinloch Arms Hotel. This stands on the south side of "The Square", a name that has been overtaken by the way the A94 now presses on through the village. Nearby on Forfar Road is a fairly ordinary stone house which carries carvings of two coats of arms on its front wall and a set of initials on its gable end. We have not been able to uncover its story.
Much of Meigle stands on roads that form a loop surrounding the church. The church you see today was built in 1870 to replace an earlier church built in 1793 that had been destroyed by fire. This in turn replaced one built in the early 1400s. Christianity in Meigle seems to have had much more ancient roots, however, and legend suggests that a church was first built here by monks from Iona in the very early 600s.
Over the following few centuries, it seems that Meigle became an important religious centre and a capital for Pictish kings, possibly including King Pherath (or Uurad) who ruled Pictland from 839 to 842. The main evidence for this comes in the form of the many magnificent Pictish carved stones that have been found in and around the village. These form one of the most important collections to have been found in Scotland and many are on display in the Pictish Stones Museum housed in the old school just behind the church.
One of these stones, which carries a depiction of a human surrounded by four beasts, has given rise to the legend that Queen Guinevere or Vanora is buried at Meigle. The story goes that Guinevere was kidnapped by Pictish King Mordred, and held near Meigle. When she was released, it is said that King Arthur, believing she had become romantically attached to Mordred, had her put to death by being pulled apart by wild animals, and her remains were buried at Meigle. The carvings are a little faded, but sadly for the legend they look much more likely to represent the biblical story of David and the lions.
But while Queen Guinevere probably isn't buried in the churchyard at Meigle, one famous ex-resident of the village is. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 5 December 1905 until 3 April 1908. His Scottish home was at Belmont Castle, just to the south of Meigle, and after his death in 10 Downing Street on 22 April 1908 he was buried in Meigle. He is commemorated by a plaque on the exterior wall of the church.
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