Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Bellie

Bellie, a parish partly in Elginshire, partly in Banffshire, and in its Elginshire or SW section containing the town of Fochabers, 3 miles W by N of Fochabers station in Speymouth parish, this being 6¼ miles ESE of Elgin. and 3¼ N by W of Orton Junction. In it are also the villages of Auchenhalrig, 3 miles NNE of Fochabers, Upper and Nether Dallacby and Bogmuir, 3, 4, and 3 3/8 miles N by E; Tynet, at the mouth of the Spey, 4¾ miles N; and Enzie, 3¼ miles ENE. Bounded N by the Moray Firth, E by Rathven and Keith, S by Keith and Boharm, and W by Speymouth and Urquhart, it has an extreme length from N to S of 71/8 miles, a breadth from E to W of from 21/8 to 4½ miles, and a land area of 13,212 acres. The Spey, through a network of channels, flows 6 miles along all the western, and the Burn of Tynet 5½ miles along the eastern, border, while the Burn of Fochabers runs 3½ miles north-westward through the S of the parish, and falls into the Spey at Fochabers. The coastline, 2¼ miles long, is raised only 15 and 22 feet above sea-level; and the surface is low for 2 miles inland, as also along the strath of the Spey, which has wandered some 2 miles westward from its original mouth; but it rises S and E to 109 feet near Upper Dallachy, 158 near Auchenhalrig, 210 at Ordiga, 657 at Braes Cairn, 866 at Whiteash Hill, 401 at Ordiequish Hill, 624 on Dougglasshiel Moss, and 819 on Thief's Hill, which culminates just within the Boharm boundary. Prevailing rocks are a dark red sandstone and a conglomerate of the Devonian formation, the former of which has been quarried for building, whilst a plentiful débris of both in loose decomposed strata has been much used for roads and garden walks. The soil of the low lands, though light and sandy, is fairly productive, but that along all the coast to the breadth of ¼ mile is utterly barren, and that of the SE uplands mainly moorish, about a third of the whole area being arable, a third under wood, an eighteenth pasture, and the rest mostly moor. The antiquities include a stone circle at Cowicmuir, an artificial 'Court Hillock,' some tumuli, and a military work, once thought to be Danish, and next identified with Ptolemy's Tuessis, which Skeue, however, places in Boharm parish; to these must be added the Bog-of-Gight portions of Gordon Castle. On April 12,1746, four days before the battle of Culloden, part of Cumberland's army forded the Spey above the old church of St Ninian, 1½ mile N by E of Fochabers. Anciently held by Urquhart Priory, this was the parish church till 1797, when it was translated to the town, where are also Free, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic churches and Milne's Free School. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon is chief proprietor, but one other holds an annual value of between £100 and £500. Bellie is in the presbytery of Strathbogie and synod of Moray, its minister's income being £240; but a south-eastern portion of the civil parish is included in the quoad sacra parish of Enzie. A public school at Bogmuir, with accommodation for 203 children, had (1879) an average attendance of 111, and a grant of £94, 4s. 6d. Pop. of civil parish (1791) 1919, (1841) 2433, (1861) 2292, (1871) 2317, (1881) 2370, of whom 1093 were in Banffshire; of quoad sacra parish (1871) 2013, (1881) 2047.—Ord. Sur., shs. 85,95,1876.

(F.H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4); © 2004 Gazetteer for Scotland)

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a parish"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 4th order divisions")
Administrative units: Bellie ScoP       Banffshire ScoCnty       Moray ScoCnty
Place: Bellie

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