ON JUNE 27, 1850, the foundation stone was laid for the United Presbyterian Church in Alloa.

At the time it was to be known as the Alloa Townhead United Presbyterian Church. Today it has been renamed the Moncrieff United Free Church and sits in Drysdale Street.

A large crowd assembled as they listened to the future minister of the church Rev P McDowall who spoke to them from the temporarily constructed platform next to the foundation stone.

He told them they had assembled that evening for the sole purpose of laying the foundation stone at this new place of worship and his oratory went on for some time, but the crowd listened quietly.

He told them that only the truth would come from the pulpit, and he hoped that the pews would be filled with people of 'Christina character and genuine piety.'

When he finished his address, a few verses of a psalm were sung. McDowall then stated that before the stone was laid, he would inform his audience of the list of items that had been put in a bottle that was to be placed in the cavity of the stone for posterity.

These included June issues of numerous Christian magazines, along with the last two annual reports from the congregational Missionary Society.

The last Number of the Clackmannanshire Advertiser, the Alloa Monthly Advertiser of 5th May 1849, which contained an account of the Congregational Centenary, and the last two Numbers of the Alloa Advertiser were also included.

There was also a Memoranda drawn up by James Brownhill of the First UP Congregation which contained the names of the office bearers at the church and names of the Sunday School children and their teachers.

It also recorded the date of the erection of the other two churches and name of the architect involved in the church's design, John Melvin of Alloa.

The builder John Robb from Edinburgh, and the names of the carpenters, Currie & Taylor from Stirling, were also listed.

One of the most senior members of the congregation William Mitchell then came forward and laid the foundation stone, an honour he felt deeply.

The Rev Mr Wright said the Divine Blessing over the stone in a 'comprehensive and appropriate prayer'.

McDowall thanked him, the other dignitaries, and the crowd for being part of that historic moment. Shortly afterwards, the crowd dispersed.

It was expected at the time of the ceremony the church would be completed the following year, and it was.