Parish of Belhelvie

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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1791-99: Belhelvie
1834-45: Belhelvie

Belhelvie, a post office hamlet and a coast parish of E Aberdeenshire. The hamlet lies towards the middle of the parish, 5¼ miles ESE of New Machar station, and 8 miles N of its post-town, Aberdeen.

The parish is bounded N by Foveran, E by the German Ocean, S by Old Machar, W by New Machar and Udny. It has an extreme length from N to S of 51/8 miles, a breadth from E to W of from 2¾ to 5¼ miles, and a land area of 12,184 acres. The coast, for 5¾ miles, is all a beach of fine sand, backed by low bent-clad sandhills, beyond which lies a narrow alluvial belt of greensward, so nearly level that in 1817 the Ordnance Surveyors chose it for measuring their base-line of 5 miles 100 feet, the southern extremity of that line being 168 and the northern 120 feet above the sea. Further inland the surface is very undulating, and rises westward to 191 feet near Wester Hatton, 255 near the hamlet, 321 at Moss-side, 245 at Hill of Ardo, 455 at Overhill, and 548 at Beauty Hill, whose summit, however, lies just outside the bounds. Seven burns flow eastward to the sea, the Newtyle and Blackdog on the northern and southern boundaries, with the Menie, Orrock, Hopeshill, Eggie, and Pottertown between; and some of the numerous springs are strong chalybeates, others impregnated with sulphuret of iron. A dyke of trap, from 4 to 6 furlongs broad, starts from the Blackdog's mouth to run north-westward through the entire parish, and at one point is flanked by serpentine. Granite is almost the only rock SW of this dyke, but does not occur to the NE, where peat-moss underlies the sandy links. At least one-half of the arable lands of S and W has been reclaimed from moss or moor within the past 50 years; the loams and clays -of the central, northern, and eastern divisions have been longer cultivated, and are much more fertile. Plantations of larch and Scotch firs, with clumps of hardwood trees, cover a considerable area, but all are stunted by their eastward exposure. The Hare Cairn is sole survivor out of several tumuli, stone circles, and suchlike prehistoric monuments; but a gold torc armlet or neckring, discovered in this parish, has found a resting-place in the Edinburgh Antiquarian Museum, and is figured on p. 105 of its Catalogue (1876). The chief mansions are Menie Houses (Misses Turner) in the NE, Balmedie House (W. H. Lumsden) in the E, and Belhelvie Lodge (Major-Gen. Sir H. Burnett Lumsden) near the hamlet; 10 proprietors holding each an annual value of £500 and upwards, 4 of between £100 and £500, and 1 of from £20 to £50. Belhelvie is in the presbytery and synod of Aberdeen; its minister's income is £256. The new parish church, at Drumhead, 1 mile NE of the hamlet, was erected in 1878 at a cost of £3150. A handsome Gothic structure of grey granite, it is seated for 540, and is surmounted by a belfry, which rises to 70 feet. Its predecessor stood 1¼ mile further NNE, and, partly dating from pre-Reformation days, is now represented only by the W gable, a Caroline monument to one of the Inneses of Blairton, and a beautiful kirkyard. There are also a Free church (1843) at Pottertown, 13/8 mile S by W of the hamlet, and a U.P. church (1791) at Shiels, 1¾ mile NNW. The public schools of Balmedie (in the E), Craigie (NW), Menie (NE), and Wester Hatton (SE), with respective accommodation for 133,80,80, and 80 children, had in 1879 an average attendance of 69,62, 46,- and 64, and grants of £30,10s., £50,6s., £33,16s., and £49,6s. Valuation (1881) £13,622,8s. 9d. Pop. (1801) 1428, (1841) 1594, (1871) 1833, (1881) 1850.—Ord. Sur., sh. 77,1873.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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