If you look at an old map the two roads up both sides of the river Nochty are equally bordered by dwellings. Now if you take the road up the west side you will find no occupied dwellings after Lost farm. Looking across from the road on the east side the only visible dwelling on the west side is the imposing ruin of, Belnaboddach Farm, perching high on the banks of the river Nochty
The site of Belnaboddach raises a number of curiosities.
Firstly is the meaning of the name:
The following snippets indicate the different versions of the name
In Irish Gaelic ‘a Bodach’ (Irish, plural Bodaich) is a mythical spirit or creature, rather like the Bogeyman. The word is a Scottish Gaelic term for "old man" although historically it was used as a pejorative term to refer to peasants or farmers (bothach) by the warrior class amongst the Scots.
In regions of Wales and Scotland, a bodach is a term for an imp or a faery, often one of the shapeshifting, mischievous variety; this term, though derogatory in nature, was often used with affection, translating closest to "scoundrel" or "rascal".
Belnaboddach (Strathdon). Baile nam bodach, "town of the old men."
In Strathdon is Belnaboddach ‘town of the clowns.’ (altna-boddach the burn of the clown or churls or it may mean burn of the spectres) therefore Belnaboddach may be the town of the spectres, or ghosts.
In view of the depopulation of the area the meaning ‘the town of the ghosts’ is very appropriate.
Second is the question whether the site of Belnaboddach farm is also the site of the ‘Gentleman’s House’ which is mentioned in various sources.
Gentlemen's seats in this Parioch are as followes
…Opposite to the Church on the N. side of Don, and at the mouth of the River Nouchtie, is Invernochtie, 2 miles N.N.W. from the Church upon the W. side of Nettie and S. side of Noughtie is Invernettie ; a short mile N.W. from the Church is Belnaboddach on the S. side, and Ledmackay on the N. side of the River Nochtie,…….
Walter Macfarlane lists a gentleman's house at Belnabodach in the early 18th century, of which no trace remains (Macfarlane, 1906-8, i, 20).
If you look at the Roy Military Map of 1750 you will see an entry for ‘Coryhale’ at the site of the present farm and an entry for ‘Balnaboloch’ further up the Glen and further up the hill. Is this the site of the ‘House of Belnaboddach.
From Wanderings in the Highlands you can read a meeting with Mr Farquharson the owner of Belnaboddach on two occasions:
…‘On we went, as hard as we could walk, until we reached Bellabeg, where we turned up Glen Nochty on our way home. About a mile up the Glen and we reached Belnabodach, an estate belonging to my friend Francis Farquharson, Esq. We called on Mr Farquharson, and were received with true Highland hospitality. During our conversation, Mr Farquharson favoured us with some account of the Clan Farquharson, and of the connection which his family had with that once powerful Highland sept. He is descended from the leading branch of the family of Invercauld, and his fathers settled in Strathdon about a century ago. They were a warlike race, as most Highlanders were, and loved the sound of the bugle better than the rush of their native river. That is the reason why so many of his relations have been soldiers, and the present proprietor of Belnabodach inherited a portion of his sires' enthusiasm, and also entered the army, but sold out after a time, and now occupies his spare hours in reading collections from his well-filled library.
Leaving the house of Belnabodach, we walked over the cultivated part of the estate, in company with Mr Farquharson. It carries an admirable stock of cross cattle. The estate is of about 458 acres, half cultivated, and half in rich pasture. The situation is pleasant, on the south side of the Nochty. From the house a beautiful view of Strathdon is obtained. On the opposite side of the Nochty is Invernettie, now become the property of the Rev. Mr Watt, minister of Strathdon. Torrincroy, away on a height above Invernettie, also belongs to that gentleman, who bought it from the Earl of Fife a few years ago.’……
…….Soon we came in sight of Castle Newe, the beautiful seat of Sir Chas. Forbes, Bart. We were very much disappointed that the light did not linger a little longer, so that our companion, Mr Smith, might view the beauties of this princely mansion, but it could not be. We could only dimly trace its outlines through the gathering gloom and the trees. Reluctantly, therefore, we turned our backs upon it, and continued our journey up Strathdon until we reached Belnaboddach, where we were to spend the night with Mr Farquharson.
Next morning dawned clear and bright, and we sallied forth, just as the sun had arisen above the eastern hills, to have a look at the surrounding country. Our first walk was along the southern side of the estate of Belnaboddach, where we noted some of the improvements Mr Farquharson had lately made, and marked the advancement of former ones since we last visited the district. Returning along the northern side of the estate, we talked of the present depressed state of agriculture, and the relative effect which it had on landlord and tenant. Such a theme could not be otherwise than interesting when we looked around and saw the lateness of every kind of crop. After breakfast, we ascended the highest hill in the neighbourhood, and had a beautiful view of Strathdon and the Deeside hills, conspicuous among which were Lochnagar and Morven, names which Byron has rendered immortal. Looking further westward, we could see the dark masses of the Grampians looming directly before us, capped with eternal snow, while at our feet lay the fine wooded hills of Strathdon, with patches of cultivation along the banks of the river. Further down and the tall spire of the Parish Church divided attention with the more distant Castle Newe.
Descending again to Belnaboddach, we dined, and started on our homeward march, Mr Farquharson accompanying us a considerable distance on our way, in fact, nearly half-way to Glenlivet, where, bidding him good- bye, we hurried forward, so as to pass the treacherous swamps of Monsack ere night would settle down. We at length reached the top of the Ladder, and were soon descending its steep breast into the Braes of Glenlivet.
In the 1696 Poll Book the residents at Belnaboddach were:
WILLIAM FOREES of Belnaboddach
His particular valuatione within the parioch of Invernochtie is £50. 7. 6
The hundreth pairt wherof is £0 10 0 Nota
The forsaid hundreth pairt is not divyded amongst the tennents in the poll list given up but the heritor is to pay the same in a soume.
Belnaboddach his owne particular poll is £4 and of generall poll 6s inde both is £4 6 0
Item his wyfe (Agnes, baptised 16th September, 1674 ; married, 19th August,
1697, ) together with his two children John and Issobell Forbesses payes of generall poll each of them 6s in all is £0 18 0
Item John Roger his servant his fee £10 per annum fortieth part whereof is 5s and generall poll 6s inde both is £0 11 0
Item Charles Shaw also his servant his fee £8 per annum fortieth pairt whereof is 4s and generall poll 6s inde both is £0 10 0
Item Mary M Cadie his servant lass her fee £4 per annum fortieth pairt whereof is 2s and generall poll 6s inde both is £0 8 0
Item James Cattanach tennent and his wyfe their generall poll is £0 12 0
Item John Gillenders tennent and his wyfe their generall poll is £0 12 0
Item William Simer tennent and his wyfe their generall poll is £0 12 0
Item Alester Wattle tennent and his wyfe their generall poll is £0 12 0
Item John Forbes tennent and his wyfe their generall poll is £0 12 0
£9 13 0
Details available from the Glen Nochty Home Page
As noted in the section from ‘Wanderings in the Highlands’, the Farquharson family was very well connected with significant families in the area.
Firstly to the Forbes family and the connection with Bombay jock who supplied the money for the building of Newe Castle
George Forbes first Laird of Skellater,
m (1) before 1593 Euphemia Skene,
m (2) Margaret Forbes, died 1632
William Forbes b 1615 son of George Forbes, second Laird of Skellater, fought with Montrose, commanding 200 men at the Battle of Battle of Alford 1646
m (1) Isobel Forbes of Newe who died in 1656,
m (2) Agnes McIntosh of Kyllachy,
m (3) Isobel Tomson,
m (4) Janet Forbes, died before 1700
George Forbes, son of William Forbes third Laird of Skellater,
m (1) Farquharson of Allargue,
m (2) in 1675 Isobel Forbes of Newe, died in 1716.
William Forbes of Edinglassie d 1692, son of (1), m Elizabeth Elphinstone, their son
John Forbes, 3rd of Invernettie married Rachel Forbes (below) and was believed killed in the 1715 rising. John Forbes' son was
William Forbes 4th of Invernettie b 1682
Lachlan Forbes son of (1)
Nathaniel Forbes son of (1)
John Forbes son of (2) of Inverernan born about 1664 died a prisoner in Carlisle 1716
m 1684 Elspet Stewart (nine sons and two daughters)
m 29 Dec 1709 Margaret Alexander daughter of the Minister of Coldstone (who later married Revd Donald McSwain of Strathdon). Her eldest son Alexander Forbes 1710 - 1787 succeeded to Inverernan m Jean Alexander b1713 d1785 son John d 1807 son Charles d 1771 aged 22
Barbara Forbes daughter of (3), m Grant of Tullochgorum
Elspet Forbes daughter of (3), m 22 Nov 1702 John Stewart of Drumin
Janet Forbes daughter of (1)
Elspet Forbes daughter of (1)
John Forbes son of (1), Laird of Ledmacoy (which included Invernettie from 1673 and Belnabodach)
m (1) - Brown
m (2) in 1675 Katherine Stewart of Lesmurdie (Note 1). He died in 1684.
Alexander Forbes m (1) 1682 Isobel d of Duncan Catanach, inherited Invernettie, m (2) Elspet Anderson 'of Tomaclen', Alexander died 1694 without male heir
William Forbes who inherited Belnabodach:
(see Poll book of 1696 above)
(The Valuation of 1667 Wm Forbes of Balnabadoch valuation £50-11-6 but the property must then have been acquired by John Forbes of Invernettie, Ledmacay and Belnabodach who died in 1684, when Belnabodach passed to his son William and then to William's son John. William Forbes had sasine of the lands on 2nd December, 1657, proceeding on precept, granted by John Earl of Mar, in his favour, 5th November, 1657. There was a contract of marches between William Forbes of Newe and John Forbes of Buchaam, dated 20th July, 1669.)
m (1) in 1681 [GD1/404/6] Mary Stewart second daughter of James Stewart of Lesmurdie
(daughters Agnes 1682 and Isobel 1684)
m (2) in 1693 Isabel Forbes of Edinglassie
(sons John and Joseph –
John m 7 Nov 1706 Janet Robertson daughter of the Minister of Strathdon and in 1711 John Forbes and Janet Robertson had sasine (ownership) on Belnabodach, and that John afterwards sold these lands.
their son William became Minister of Towie)
m (3) Agnes Forbes baptised 1 6th September, 1674 ; married, 19th August, 1697 youngest daughter of William Forbes of Newe: sons
Nathaniel of Auchernach,
William of Corriebreck
James Forbes (1735 - 1829) was the son of William Forbes of Corriebreck and his wife Jane Michie, and grandson of William Forbes of Belnabodach.. The main references to him in A. and H. Tayler's The House of Forbes ((Third Spalding Club, 1937) concern his purchase of the estate of Newe from his bankrupt relative Major John Forbes, 9th Laird of Newe, which he re-sold, for a considerable profit, to 'Bombay Jock' Forbes, founder of the Bombay mercantile business, Forbes and Co. Later, c. 1782, he purchased Seaton Estate in Old Aberdeen, and settled here with his wife, Margaret Gordon, daughter of Rear Admiral William Gordon of Banff. Their only surviving child and heiress, Elizabeth Forbes, married Lord James Hay (1788 - 1862), second son of George, 7th Marquis of Tweeddale (1753 - 1804), in 1813, and they subsequently lived at Seaton with her father, who died in 1829, aged ninety-two.
George of Culquhonny and
Hugh d 1769)
John Forbes inherited Ledmacoy m 1685 Jean Anderson of Candacraig who died in 1745. John Forbes' testament in 1708 left 700 merks to be divided between his daughters Agnes, Isobell, Jean and Helen.
Helen Forbes married Peter Farquharson in Miln Town of Auchollie and she died in 1734 (CC 1/6/30 at 18 July 1749). John Forbes' only surviving son was
Nathaniel b 1697 who inherited Ledmacoy.
? Marjory eldest daught of John Forbes of Ledmacay m 1670 [GD1/404/5] Arthur Forbes of Culquhannie
Violet Forbes unmarried d1698
Agnes (or Nan) Forbes m 1674 Duncan Anderson of Candacraig
Elspet Forbes became third wife of Willliam Elphinstone of Bellabeg
Jean Forbes m 1679 Duncan Catanach in Tolduquhill
Helen Forbes m 1676 John Grant of Blairfindy
Isobel Forbes m 1686 Alexander Thomson in the Culsh
? Rebecca Forbes unmarried
Diana Forbes b 1682, m 1707 Roderick Farquharson
Rachel Forbes m John Forbes of Invernettie her cousin. It seems that this John Forbes was married a second time to Mary Grant and had two surviving sons
Harry and three daughters
Bettie, Rachel and Clemie and that Henry died at Cartagona in 1741 (Aberdeen University MS 3175/M/A42 Missives of the purchase of Invernettie by the Earl of Fife).
Sophie daughter of (2), m Lumsden of Corrachree
Secondly the Family of Isabella Forbes sister of Bombay Jock and who married into the Farquharson family.
William Forbes, fifth of Newe
m. Helen, daughter of Arthur Forbes of Culquhanny, his cousin,by whom he had four sons and four daughters : , died l0th January, 1698, and was interred in the Church of Strathdon He was succeeded by his eldest son.
William, his heir.
Patrick, merchant in Aberdeen, and had one son who died without succession. Patrick Forbes had sasine of the lands of Mill of Newe and that portion sold by Arthur Forbes of Culquhanny, 16th May, 1670, proceeding on a disposition of these lands by the said William Forbes to the said Patrick Forbes, dated 14th February, 1670.
George Forbes b 1668 third son of William Forbes (fifth Laird of New) and succeeded Farquharsons to become first Forbes of Bellabeg, died 1745,
m (1) Isobel Forbes of Asloun in 1701
m (2) [according to Burkes Peerage 1856] Isabel d of William Meldrum of Hatton who was the mother of the following:
John Forbes of Bellabeg b 1707 (m Christian Shepherd d Rev John Shepherd, Minister of Logie Coldstone) this John Forbes died in 1791
George Forbes b 1738 d 1799 DD Minister at Leochel; eldest son
John born 1771 died in wreck of 'Hastings' 1787,
Sir Charles Forbes his second son b 1773 of Newe and Edinglassie;
nephew and heir of John Forbes, Bombay, was created a baronet of the United Kingdom, 4th November, 1823 ; and was, in error, served heir male general to his great-grandfather, William Forbes V. of Newe, on 12th March, 1830 ; to his ancestor William Forbes of Daach, on 4th October, 1830; and to his cousin Alexander, third Lord Forbes of Pitsligo, on 12th January, 1833.
George his fourth son b 1778 d 1834 was Minister of Strathdon for 25 years and married Mary Anne Forbes 1779-1848 daughter of Capt Alexr Forbes and heiress of Inverernan ( their son
Sir John Forbes 1817-1906 was another who gained a GCB in India)
Isobel Forbes m 1756 Peter Farquharson then of Tullochcoy, later in Belnabodach (QPR 1756 17 Sept: Patrick Farquharson & Miss Betty Forbes eldest lawful daughter to John Forbes of Bellabeg ) (About 1776, by which time Belnabodach was owned by the Earl of Fife, its lease was taken up by Peter Farquharson, who until 1772 had been Laird of Tullochcoy in Crathie, Deeside.
John Forbes b 1743 d 1821, merchant in Bombay (Bombay Jock), who purchased the estate of Newe, 12th September, 1792, from James Forbes of Seaton
Anne m 1760 James Gordon, 6th of Croughly who died in 1813 aged 86, She died at Laggan in 1818 aged 81
George Forbes wine merchant in London
William Forbes baker in Banff
Isobel Forbes m Nathaniel Forbes of Ledmacoy
George Forbes, baker in Aberdeen
Jean Forbes m (1) Thomas Anderson in Drumaline m (2) James Lindsay
Finally the Farquharson Family a famous family from Invercauld Deeside. This connects the Farquharson and the Forbes family.
James Farquharson of Tullochcoy (eldest son of James Farquharson of Tullochcoy m 1687 to Agnes Ochterlony) m 1727 to Marjory or May Farquharson (daughter of Charles Farquharson of Monaltrie and Elizabeth Farquharson of Inverey)
Jean Farquharson m 1750 Donald Couts (and after his death another of same name), living at croft of Balnalan in 1772
? May Farquharson m 1747 John Anderson in Milton of Lawsie
Peter Farquharson b 1733 (m 1756 Isobel Forbes 1733-1780 d John Forbes of Bellabeg), disponed the feu of Tullochcoy in Crathie in 1772 and took the tenancy of Belnabodach in Strathdon in 1776, (About 1776, by which time Belnabodach was owned by the Earl of Fife, its lease was taken up by Peter Farquharson, who until 1772 had been Laird of Tullochcoy in Crathie, Deeside). died 1801
Children as below
Children of Peter Farquharson Belnabodach
James Farquharson of Tullochcoy (eldest son of James Farquharson of Tullochcoy
m 1687 to Agnes Ochterlony)
m 1727 to Marjory or May Farquharson (daughter of Charles Farquharson of Monaltrie and Elizabeth Farquharson of Inverey)
Jean Farquharson m 1750 Donald Couts (and after his death another of same name), living at croft of Balnalan in 1772
? May Farquharson m 1747 John Anderson in Milton of Lawsie (Crathie OPR)
Peter Farquharson b 1733 (m 1756 Isobel Forbes 1733-1780 d John Forbes of Bellabeg), disponed the feu of Tullochcoy in Crathie in 1772 and took the tenancy of Belnabodach in Strathdon in 1776, died 1801 (nb testament?)
James Farquharson (below) c 1758 (m 1785 Isabel McHardy daughter of James McHardy) died Ballater 1843 tenant of Belnabodach,
Peter Farquharson c 23 Jan 1787, Major in Madras Army, m Mary Macgillivray d Ballater 1849 without children (info from FG)
Margaret Farquharson c 18 Apr 1789
James Farquharson c 29 Jun 1790 d 1805
John Farquharson b Aug 1792, Colonel in Bombay Army, m Margaret d of Peter Farquharson of Corrachree, d 1871 without children (FG)
Isabel Farquharson b 6 Aug 1794
Penelope Farquharson b 6 Jul 1796 m 15 Mar 1827 William Taggart (1799-1861, son of Charles Taggart in Kildrummy) in St Nicholas, Aberdeen, she died 23 Dec 1870 in Aberdeen. They lived at Rorandle, Monymusk. Their children included Margaret Lumsden Taggart who married Charles Reid and lived in Logie Buchan, where was born Margaret Reid, grandmother of Heather Whittaker, living in Gloucestershire
Alexander Farquharson c 16 Sep 1798, tenant of Asloun in Alford parish, d 1877 without children
Mary Farquharson born 1801 m 1832 Revd Charles McPherson 1791-1846, Minister of Tomintoul
James McPherson 1835-1912 unmarried, Major in 8th Regt, succ brother in Corrachree (FG) (see Note 2)
Margaret Isabella McPherson c 1837 m William Skinner, Minister of Tarland
John Cosmo McPherson 1839-1905 unmarried, Aberdeen University records show he attended Marischal College 1854-58 and was awarded silver pen, became Colonel ( RE ), CB 1890 later KCB, he changed his surname becoming Col John Cosmo Farquharson of Corrachree, Director General of the Ordnance Survey 1894-99
Mary Anne McPherson 1841-1903 m (1) John Ferguson of Old Deer m (2) Dr Robert Garden of Aberdeen
Anne McPherson 1844-1905 m 1868 James Ferguson of Aberdeen
Charles Peter Farquharson McPherson 1846-1914 died in New Zealand descendants include Alan McPherson, living in Singleton, New South Wales, Australia
George Farquharson c 4 Jun 1803, attended Marischal College (later Aberdeen University) 1819-1823, m Helen Cameron, Carr Bridge, Inverness-shire, d Belnabodach Dec 1841 She married (2) John Michie Semeil 16 May 1852
Francis purchased Belnaboddach from Lord Fife, d unmarried 1909 James b 16 April 1841 m Janet Macgregor, Parkvilla, Strathdon in 1863, when they emigrated to Dunedin, New Zealand, where they had five sons and three daughters of whom son Francis b 1870 m 1900 Ethelwin Watkins inherited Belnaboddach)
Katherine Farquharson born 1805
Ann Farquharson m 1828 Andrew Robertson, surgeon in Crathie
Duncan 1838-1907 unmarried
Jane m 1848
Joanne Farquharson m 1860
Patricia m 1874
Alexander Farquharson c 21 Mar 1764 died Nov 1800 ( 2nd officer of 'Asia' en route to Bombay)
George Farquharson c 17 Oct 1766
Francis Farquharson c 17 Sept 1769
? Charles Farquharson c 1786 (son of Peter Farquharson in Belnabodach according to Strathdon OPR?) Gorge Forbes, fourth laird of Skellater m Isobel Gordon of Balbithan
Information and comments from grave stones relating to Belnaboddach:
Erected A. D. 1824 by James Farquharson Esq. Balnabodach,
Sacred to the memory of James Farquharson of Tullochcoy, who died in 1760 ;
and his spouse May Farquharson, who died 1729,
Peter Farquharson of Tullochcoy, born 1733, died 1801 ;
Isabella Forbes, his spouse, Born 1733, died 1780.
George, Francis, and Donald, their sons, the former died 1787, the two latter in their infancy. James and Katherine, son and daughter of James Farquharson, Balnabodach and Tullochcoy,
The son died in 1805, the daughter in 1807, Ann, daughter of James Farquharson of Balnabodach, and wife of Dr Robertson, who died at Indego, 31 August 1842, aged 34.
James Farquharson. of Inverey, a younger brother of Donald, first of Monaltrie, was ancestor of the Tullochcoy branch of the clan. He took an active part in Montrose's Wars, and after the slaughter of his nephew, Donald Oig, at Aberdeen, he commanded the Deeside Highlanders, and was at the battle of Alford, to the success of which he materially contributed. His wife was Agnes Ferguson, daughter of the minister of Crathie, by whom he had a large family. To his son Lewis he gave the property of Auchendryne, and to James that of Tullochcoy, in Aberarder. The latter married Agnes Ochterlony, daughter of the minister of Fordoun, in the Mearns, and built a new mansion house at Tullochcoy, upon a lintel of which, still extant, are carved in relief : — I, F. : A. O. 1693,
Their son, James (who died in 1760), married a daughter of Monaltrie ; and it is a tradition that Tullochcoy having joined the Farquharsons at Culloden with seven sons, he and they all fell in battle, and the succession devolved upon the above Peter, when a boy, in 1746. Peter's wife of Invercauld. Late in life he removed to Belnabodach, in Strathdon, a farm which some of his descendants still occupy. The first mentioned in the following tablet was Peter's eldest son : —
In memory of James Farquharson of Balnabodach, who died at Ballater, 10th October 1843, aged 85 years ; and Isabella McHardy, his wife, who died at Balnabodach, 9th September 1827, aged 64 years. This tablet is erected as a mark of filial respect and afi'ection by their three sons, Peter, John, and Alexander Farquharson, 1844, Also of their younger brother, George Farquharson, who died at Balnabodach, 26th December, 1841, aged 38 years,
Peter and John (above-named) obtained commissions in the H.E.I.C.S. The first died at Ballater in 1849, aged — , where a marble tablet is erected to his memory in the church ; and the latter is Lieut.-Col, Farquharson of Corrachree, Logie-Coldstone. He is the oldest surviving grandson of the last laird of Tullochcoy, also representative of the Inverey family, the direct line, with its branches of Balmoral and Auchendryne, having become extinct.