“In response to the recent feature about Blackford, may I point out some inaccuracies and provide some facts regarding the village,” emails Willie Mclaren. “A condensed history was completed about six or seven years ago and can be obtained from the Historical Society or the village store.
“The article stated that the church on the hill was rebuilt in 1738 after it had been destroyed by fire. There has been a church on this site since before the Reformation and the first reference to it is in 1544. The ruined church which is there now is the third church built on that site.
“The second church was destroyed by fire when the schoolmaster went away curling and a boy started throwing burning peats which set fire to the church. The present church was opened in 1959 and the congregation celebrated 150 years in 2009.
“The Parish of Blackford was originally the Parish of Strageath and what is thought to be the bell from the abbey of Strageath was then used in the belfry of the Old Church on the hill. The inscription on it proves that it is prereformation.
“Blackford has always been famous for the quality of its water and the Highland Spring plant has grown to employ a workforce of more than 500. The distillery also produces a fine whisky from the water.
“In the past Blackford was famous for boots and beer records show that King James V1, after his coronation in 1488 drank ale at Blackford.
“There were three breweries and two boot factories in full production until the depression in the 1920s forced their closure. One of the boot factories supplied the Highland regiments during the First World War. During the Second World War Blackford was a garrison town.
“I will never forget the last Sunday in April 1944 when the soldiers, who were moving south the next day in the build up to D Day, occupied the entire body of the kirk with the congregation seated in the balconies.
“The last hymn was Onward Christian Soldiers and the swell of the music made you feel they were trying to lift the roof off. It was a very emotional occasion.”