Deanston first acquired its name in 1500, when Walter Drummond (the Dean of Dunblane) inherited the lands now known as Deanston from the Haldanes of Gleneagles. The Scots word ‘dean’ was coupled with the Scots Gaelic term ‘toun’, meaning farm/settlement, to make Deanston.
Deanston was largely an agricultural area until John Buchanan and his brothers from Carston had the foresight to convert an existing flax mill into a water-powered carding and roving factory with the latest machinery. Designed by Arkwright, inventor of the water-powered spinning frame, the mill was opened in 1785 as the Adelphi Mill, after the Greek word adelphoi meaning ‘brothers’. The mill was powered by the River Teith and was one of the first half-dozen mills of this type to be built in Scotland.
Its opening signalled the start of a period of great change for Deanston, which was inhabited with Highlanders who had been evicted in the Clearances and were reluctant to work in the mill. After a difficult start, the mill’s fortune was transformed by the arrival of Kirkman Finlay (of Glasgow merchants James Finlay & Co) and the vibrant James Smith, who was installed as manager in 1806/7, aged just seventeen, and remained at the helm for 35 years. Smith embarked on a massive modernisation of Deanston between 1811-1833, building a new spinning mill, a village, housing, roads, a new weir, new gas works, a large weaving shed, Deanston School, and a fish-ladder to give salmon access to the upper reaches of the river - the original model of which can be seen at the distillery today. His biggest innovation was the engineering works which built machinery for Catrine Mill, as well exporting to all parts of Britain and Europe. Smith’s talents did not end with the modernisation of the mill, as he also became famous for his deep soil drainage system known as ‘Deanstonisation.’ -Source: Wikipedia