Atholl or Athole (Scottish Gaelic: Athall; Old Gaelic Athfhotla) is a large historical division in the Scottish Highlands, bordering (in anti-clockwise order, from Northeast) Marr, Badenoch, Lochaber, Breadalbane, Strathearn, Perth, and Gowrie. Today it forms the northern part of Perth and Kinross, Scotland.
In Scottish Gaelic the name is Athall, which derives from the Old Irish Ath-fhotla, or 'New Ireland' (Fotla being a traditional name for Ireland). This is thought to derive from the period of Gaelic settlement of Scotland, which was previously inhabited by the Picts.
Atholl was historically a mormaerdom or earldom. The first recorded Earl of Atholl was Matad, Earl of Atholl sometime in the 12th century. In 1703 the title was made a Dukedom by Queen Anne. The title also holds numerous subsidiary titles. These include: Marquess of Atholl (created 1676), Marquess of Tullibardine (1703), Earl of Atholl (1629), Earl of Tullibardine (1606 and 1676), Earl of Strathtay and Strathardle (1703), Viscount of Balquhidder (1676), Lord Murray of Tullibardine (1604), Lord Murray, Balvenie and Gask (1676) and Baron Percy (1722). The Barony of Percy forms part of the peerage of Great Britain; all other titles belong in the peerage of Scotland.
The right of the Earls of Atholl to hold courts for the area were ended in 1746 by the Heritable Jurisdictions Act, and the province was subsequently only subject to the jurisdiction of the sheriff of Perth. In the mid 19th century, local government reforms replaced the ancient provinces by new Counties (shires), aligned to sheriffdom boundaries; hence, Atholl formed the northern portion of the new Perthshire.
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