A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875
Inverurie was, in former times, written Inneraury, Ennerawrie, and Hennerawrie, and latterly Inverury. The prefix "Inver" is found singly in several instances in Aberdeenshire, it simply means "a confluence," and in its combination with other terms, such as lire, or Oir, which is the Gaelic for Ury, and signifies "the river of the margin." The Inbhir, or Inver, makes it to be Inbhir-ure, or "the confluence of the river of the margin," which is very descriptive of the Ury in its lower course, being along the margin of the valley, before it falls into the Don, below an artificial mound called the Bass, or Bas, which, in Gaelic, signifies "death," whence we learn that the Bass must have been a place for the execution of criminals in ancient times. Sir James Balfour, Lord-Lyon-King-at-Arms, l660, says, "Ye river Ury springs from the hills of Faudlane, near Gartlie Castle, hard by Strathbogie, and falls in ye river Done, a little below ye church of Inverury, near the old fort or mount called ye Basse. Ye inhabitants here have this foulishe ald ryme always in their mouthe" :--
"When Dee and Don runs both in one,
And Tweed shall run in Tay,
The little river of Inverury
Shall bear ye Basse away."
-M.S. Advocates' Library, Edinburgh.
The parish is bounded on the west and north by the parish of Chapel of Garioch, on the east by the parish of Keith-hall, and on the south and south-east by the river Don and the parishes of Kintore and Kemnay.
Its greatest breadth, in a direct line from south to north, is three miles, and its greatest length, also in a direct line from east to west is 4½ miles. The whole area is computed to be 4,995½ acres.
The broad flat valley of the Ury extends from the Don along the northern boundary of the parish by Howford and Conglass to the burn of Balquhain, which bounds it with Chapel of Garioch on the west. The narrower valley along the Don runs from the confluence of the Ury by Ardtannies Mill and Manar, to the burn of Ervie, which bounds the parish also with Chapel of Garioch on south-west. The lowermost point in the parish is at the confluence of the Ury with the Don, and it is 170 feet above sea level, the roadway on the old bridge over the Don is 201 feet nine inches, and the bridge on the Fetternear road at Burnervie is 230 feet. The church of Inverurie is 195 feet, and the town-house is 190 feet above sea level. The bridge over the Ury at Howford is 199 feet, the old toll house at Drimmies is 235 feet, and the highest point on the Ury, at the influx of the burn of Balquham, is about 204 feet. From the bridge of Howford the ground rises towards the west in gradual slopes (where, and at the burgh boundary on the Gardens-mill road is 245 feet), to the top of the hill of Knocking-lews, which is 781 feet above sea level, and the highest land in the parish. From the Don, on the south, the ground rises very abruptly from the river, in steep ascents to the hills of Ardtannies and Manar, and westward by the ridge of Aquhorthies. The hill of Ardtannies, which overlooks the valley of both rivers and the town of Inverurie, is 524 feet above sea level.
The Coning, or Cunying Hillock, stands to the west of the main street in the east end of the burgh roods. It is a small artificial mound of earth, covered by some stunted Scots firs, and said to be the burial place of Aodh, or Eth, a Pictish "king, who reigned for a short time, and died at Inverurin in 881." Ardtannies is of Gaelic derivation, being from Ard-teine, which signifies "the height of the tire." It may also be of heathen origin, and refer to a place where fires had been specially lighted. Knockinglews, in Gaelic Cnoc-cinn-ghlas, "the knoll, or head of the grey point ;" and Conglass is from Caoin-ghlas, which signifies "the end of the grey point." The ruins of the chapel of St. Apolonarius, the patron saint of the parish, are upon the farm of Polinar, on the lands of Manar, formerly Badifurrow.
[A New History of Aberdeenshire, Alexander Smith (Ed), 1875]