Perth, town (1991 pop. 41,916), Perth and Kinross, central Scotland, on the Tay River. It was called St. Johnstoun until the 17th cent. Perth is famous for its dye works and cattle markets. Other industries are linen and wool factories and whiskey distilling. Points of interest include Tay St., beside the river, and the Inches, parks that were formerly islands in the Tay.
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.