Strategically located between the Highlands and the Lowlands, Perth was long an important military fortress. It was the capital of Scotland from the 11th to the mid-15th cent. James I of Scotland was murdered there in 1437. John Knox preached his famous sermon against idolatry in the Church of St. John in 1559; the resulting iconoclasm leveled the city's four monasteries. Gowrie House (no longer standing) was the scene (1600) of a plot to seize James VI (James I of England; see Ruthven , family). James I in 1618 issued the Five Articles of Perth, which opened the battle between crown and church. The earl of Montrose took the city after the battle of Tippermuir in 1644; Oliver Cromwell seized it again in 1651. It was held by Jacobites in 1689, 1715, and 1745. A prison was built in 1812 for French prisoners of war.
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