Friday, 10 August 2012

The Village and Parish of Blackford

Village and Parish of Blackford

 

 



As is the case with Crieff , Muthill and Auchterarder , Blackford is both a Parish and a village. The village in terms of amenity has benefited from the re alignment of the A9 which bi passes it to the south and ensures that a degree of sanity returns to the everyday passage of life !  Civic pride in the form of the Blackford Historical Society has helped generate a good level of enthusiasm  amongst its citizens  .(http://www.blackfordhistoricalsociety.org.uk/ ) . This is a superb and informative site and well worth a look  !

The demise of hand loom weaving and the once booming brewing trade could have left the village on its economic uppers and transformed it into yet another commuters ‘ haven . The growth of the natural spring water industry and Highland Spring has provided an influx of jobs and an injection of money to the area . The former breweries of Thomson , Sharp and Eadie are  long gone but the old buildings that were  Thomson’s have been transformed into dispensers of the  new “ water of life “ . The old prohibitionists of yester year must be chuckling away to themselves in their eternal resting place !


The Old Parish Kirk high on the hill above the village. Must have been some " pech " up to attend Sunday worship !

The comparatively modern Tullibardine Distillery on the site of an old brewery was structured by,believe it or not , by a Welshman , William Delme Evans back in 1947  . A period of  uncertainty came to an end with the opening of an impressive Visitors Centre next to the Distillery . Run by Baxters of  Fochabers it is a most excellent addition to the local Tourist Industry .


Important to the infrastructure of the village is the disused Blackford Railway Station. On one of my historic rambles through the old kirk yard set atop the hill overlooking the village , I was clearly aware of the number of giant lorries trundling down Moray Street en route to the Highland Spring Factory . Surely common sense must prevail and try to re establish the railway as a key component in the domestic and industrial structure of Blackford .

On an historic aspect , much of Blackford’s fascinating past was recounted in Marshall’s Historic Scenes in Perthshire published by Oliphant in 1880 . Although somewhat dated in present day terms it was an assiduously prepared and well presented account of the parish in days gone by . Standing stones abound throughout the Strath , no less than  in Blackford . Gleneagles and Sheriffmuir  have well  preserved relics . The Romans of course were no strangers to the parish and apart from the extensive camp at Ardoch ,  they had a presence on the Moor of Ardoch, Loaninghead and at Barns .


The Collegiate Kirk of Tullbardine lies within Blackford Parish
The pre Reformation Chapel at Tullibardine is well preserved and the  restoration work carried out by Historic Scotland has not been too soon . Located near the site of the old Tullibardine Castle the Chapel was called the College or Provostry of the fifteenth century .. It was cruciform and the Murrays were buried in the choir . Other Chapels include that of the Haldane family in the proximity of Gleneagles House which of course is nothing to do with the Hotel of the same name !
Other historic buildings include Kincardine Castle , seat of the Graeme or Graham family . The Graemes have an ancient pedigree extending back to William de Graham an Anglo- Norman knight who arrived here in the reign of David 1. His descendant some five generations later married Annabella, daughter of  Robert , Earl of Strathearn and with this betrothal gained Aberuthven where the Graham sepulchre was duly erected .This marriage saw the Grahams become  masters of the lands of Kincardine which had formerly been in the possession of Malise , younger brother Earl Robert . Kincardine Castle was burned by the Covenanters in 1646 and was never restored .

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