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"BELLIE has been imagined by some to be the Gaelic word Bellaidh, signifying 'broom;' but others, more justly, reckon it a compound of the two Gaelic words Beul-aith, meaning 'the mouth of the ford.' This etymology is perfectly natural, as, a little above the church, there was, till the prodigious flood in 1768 destroyed it, and opened various channels, one of the finest fords upon the Spey. There his Royal Highness, with his Majesty' s army, passed with great safety in 1746, a few days before the battle of Culloden, the Duke of Kingston's light cavalry leading the van. A gentleman once would, jocularly, have this place Bel-lieu. Indeed, Bellie's hill is a most beautiful spot, commanding a delightful prospect of Gordon Castle, of the river and part of Murray, of the Murray Firth, and the mountains of Sutherland and Caithness. Bellie extends from S. to N., near 6 measured miles, and from E. to W. almost 4. It is bounded on the N. by the Murray Firth, and on the W. by the river Spey. A considerable part of this space, to about 4 miles from the sea, is contained within the ancient banks of this river, which are very high. What these banks enclose may be considered as the range or territory of the Spey at this place, though it has greatly shifted its channels in different periods."

From The Statistical Account for Scotland, 1791-1799 Volume XVI, Banffshire, Moray & Nairnshire.


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Bellie area or see them printed on a map.


Church Records

  • OPR Dates: Baptisms 1709-1854, Marriages 1723-1854, 1776-1849, Burials 1791-1852.

Description and Travel

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The transcription of the section for Bellie from the National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868).

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Historical Geography

The parish of Bellie has a convoluted history. It was long divided between the counties of Moray and Banff, and in 1835, it and Rathven (its neighbour to the east) each gave up part of their territory to form the new "quoad sacra" parish of Enzie (which belonged to Banffshire). Enzie had its own OPRs from 1835 and became a civil Registration District in 1855. At the time of the great reform of parish and county boundaries in 1891, Enzie is not mentioned, but much of its territory is apparently returned to the parish of Bellie, and transferred to the county of Moray - but Enzie continued in existence as a Registration District until 1936! If you think this does not make much sense, then join the Club.

Against this background, it is difficult to give hard and fast advice as to the genealogical implications. The best recommendation is probably that, if you have ancestors belonging to any of the places listed below, you should be prepared to search for them in the records for both Moray and Banffshire, and in the parishes of Bellie, Enzie and Rathven.


Names, Geographical

The following are listed in the official documents for the 1891 reform as being transferred from Banffshire to Moray:

Auchenhalrig, Auchinreath, Upper Auchinreath, Nether Auchinreath, Lower Auchinreath, Bellie, Bellie Bridge, Boghead, Bogmuir, Braes, Braewynor, Burnside, Byres, Carsemoor, Chapelford, Cowiemuir, Culriach, Cunninghaugh, Nether Dallachy, Upper Dallachy, Dryburn, Floods, Gordon Castle, Lion's Den, Loanend, Longhow, Newlands, Quarry garden, Raefflin, Roman Camp, Ryeriggs, Starryhaugh, Tugnet, Tulloch, Tulloch Moss, Tynet, Tynet Park, Blair of Tynet, Lower Mill of Tynet, Wellheads, Whitegate. Information supplied originally to GENUKI by Gordon Troup.