Innerpeffray Library staff hunting out a particular book
Photo Credit: Blue Noun

“For the Benefit of All”

Welcome to our English language school blog.


A wonderful concept at any period in history, but truly innovative for its time:

“For the Benefit of All”

The Library of Innerpeffray was Scotland’s first free public lending library.

It’s an amazing visit! 


As a modern-day visitor, you can handle the same 16th and 17th C. books locals would have travelled miles to take advantage of the unique opportunity to borrow.


Today we are going to give you a flavour of this very special language school visit that we offer to our English immersion language guests. 

“A Hidden Gem”

Spend a bit of time on Trip Advisor and you will see this description of Innerpeffray Library again and again. 

I’ve included a few quotes here to demonstrate its charm and attraction to visitors. 


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Innerpeffray Library
Photo Credit: Blue Noun

The History of the Library

The Library and School at Innerpeffray were founded by David Drummond 3rd Lord Madertie in around 1680 and was the first free public lending library in Scotland.

Madertie was a member of the Drummond Family, still one of the most important landowning families of the area.

John Knox, a Protestant minister during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, had decreed that every person should be able to read in Scotland and have access to books (making the literacy level in Scotland far higher than in England during the Enlightenment).

David Drummond decided to gift his own collection of books to the Library to benefit future generations.

At the time, it was unheard of for anyone to make books available to others free of charge.

Local people of all ranks could come and borrow a book to read to improve themselves and their knowledge and understanding of the world, both on local and worldwide topics.

Books to wow English learners!

Of primary interest on a Language School visit to Innerpeffrey, is the library’s historic collection of books. 

Books that include varied subjects including witchcraft, animals, farming, medicine, European history (and a more recently gifted collection of rare early Scottish books and documents).
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Language School Visit Innerpeffray Library old books

Innerpeffray Library books
Photo Credit: Blue Noun



But it isn’t just the ancient old leather bound books on display that makes this an amazing experience – what is really unique about the library of Innerpeffray is that they will actually allow you to handle and read these amazing books – something usually reserved for scholars. There is a small reading room where you can curl up and explore these treasures..”


Trip Advisor Review

The Library’s Location

As a visitor, you can enjoy the short, looping Heritage Trail to the River Earn and explore the whole site at Innerpeffray, which is seeped in tangible history, from Roman times to living memory, including St Mary’s Chapel and graveyard and Innerpeffray School (the local school until 1947).

A view of ruinous Innerpeffray Castle is also a short walk away, and the Roman road from Braco to Perth along the Gask Ridge (with its linked series of Roman forts and watchtowers) also passes through Innerpeffray.


I like to imagine the early book borrowers crossing the landscape, excited about the information tucked under their arm.



“We were staying in the area intending to visit Roman sites but the weather was so frightful that we researched attractions with roofs. One was Innerpeffray library and we were enchanted and impressed with it. It’s an attractive Georgian building in a tranquil, remote wooded setting which houses books from the C17 onwards, on a multitude of subjects, which can be examined in situ or even borrowed. On display were manuscript poems by Robert Burns among others. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteer was on site to give us the history of the place. It really is worth searching out and I wish we could have spent more time there.”


Trip Advisor Review

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Innerpeffray Library books
Photo Credit: Blue Noun

Settle Down and Read

Explore the beautiful surroundings, but do leave yourself plenty of time to soak in the atmosphere of the old library by settling down with a book to actually spend time reading.

This will transport you into what at first feels like an alternative world – but which is revealed to us as exactly our own world – from another moment in time.

Crieffs Cowches Artist Katy Galbraith

Blue Noun’s Kenny at Innerpeffray Library 
Photo Credit: Blue Noun



“Almost stumbled upon this place by accident..so glad we did. Greeted by ‘The Keeper of the Books’ who introduced us to the history. We then went upstairs to be hosted by 2 guides who explained everything on display. Upon mentioning our home town they sought out references to it. We spent 90 mins there and we could have spent more. Highly recommended. The true definition of a ‘hidden gem’.”


Trip Advisor Review

A Guided Tour

There are few historical sites that have offered such a strong and tangible taste of history: its experts and curatorship are superb.
Blue Noun English Language School visitors will have a guided tour of the whole site and an introduction to the collection by its staff – including the opportunity to discover antique books relating to their own country, interests or profession.
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Innerpeffray Library Tour
Photo Credit: Blue Noun

Visit Perthshire Drovers Tryst

Innerpeffray Chapel
Photo Credit: Blue Noun

English Language School Visit | Innerpeffey Chapel


Innerpeffey Chapel is a must see.

If you read this English language School blog, you’ll know we’re big fans of places where you can explore on your own.

It’s not that we’re unfriendly!

There’s just something magical about being alone in a historic space that allows the imagination to flow.

Anywhere that you have to push open a wooden door and enter a space otherwise standing empty and timeless.

Trust me, come and visit us and you’ll get this experience and see!

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Visit Perthshire Drovers Tryst

Innerpeffray Chapel
Photo Credit: Blue Noun

Artists talk | Roman Remains


As mentioned, Innerpeffray is sited on a ridge of Roman forts that crossed the landscape in a line, their remains still visible. 

This knowledge helps to place the historic library in a landscape of time and populations. 

Exploring one of the forts near Innerpeffray we found chantarelle mushrooms growing. I made this little video as I was impressed by the thought that this little fungus had been part of the Roman soldier’s diet. A real taste in time. 

A Taste in Time
Film Credit: Blue Noun

Innerpeffray Library | Further Reading

Thank you for reading about our Language School Visit to the historic Innerpeffray Library.

Find out more, including getting the Library of Innerpeffray’s ‘Book of the Week’ here.

If you would like another blog exploring historic Scotland’s built environment, try:


Our English Language School Visit Stirling Castle

paint splatter

A quick note from the author

We began the Blue Noun blog back in 2019, when we called ourselves a ‘language school’ (we now call ourselves a language hub) and we were building up our business completely from scratch.

Our first few months were spent making friends in the community, researching homestay hosts for our language guests and finding out about all the good local places and activities to take our language learning guests.

In 2021 we moved the Blue Noun website to a different platform. We had the option of deleting these old blogs – they are very different form our current, more pedagogic style of posting, but I think they are quite charming to see how our young business grew, turning from a language school run by an artist – into a language hub which really began to focus on coaching artists in English by immersing them in creative environments.