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Fraser Family

St Mary's Beauly

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In 1865 The Catholic Directory contained the following entry:-

INVERNESS-SHIRE.-(Northern Part)

Beauly, 1864.

Rev. Aeneas Chisholm, . 1859.

Rev Thomas Chisholm . 1833

Public Service on Sundays at eleven o’clock; on Holidays of Obligation and Devotion at ten o’clock

Mass on Week-days at nine o’cIock.


The splendid new Church, for which the the Catholics of Beauly are indebted to the pius liberality of the Right Hon. Lord Lovat was opened for public worship on Sunday, 13th November 1864.  The opening ceremony was comparatively private.  The Church is a very handsome structure, and an ornament to the village of Beauly and surrounding country.

A Catholic School has been established in this Congregation.

ESKADALE, St Mary’s, 1826. Sittings, 800.—Rev. John Macdonald, 1841.

Public Service on Sundays - and Holidays at eleven o’clock.

Contiguous to this Church is a Catholic Cemetery, and, at a short distance,

a School, conducted by a. certificated Mistress.

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Today, the importance of Beauly's religious heritage is noted as follows:-

 Overlooking the centre of the village is the remains of Beauly Priory. The Priory was founded in 1230, and later became the burial place of the Mackenzies of Kintail. In 1571 there were four monks and a Prior in the house but by 1633 the church was 'wholly decayed'. It was said that Cromwell demolished the building to provide materials for his fort in Inverness. In 1901 the North Transept was restored and the ruin is now maintained by Historic Scotland.

Beauly originally had a harbour which was built by the monks. It was used up until World War I and exported farm produce while importing coal and lime.

The first reference to the village of Beauly is recorded around 1420 with the first setting up of the mercat (market) cross. Road communications were improved in around 1813 by George Burn, one of Telford's engineers, when he built the Lovat Bridge across the river. The village itself was improved in the 1840s by Thomas Fraser of Strichen who laid out the wide rectangular market square with streets leading from it in a grid pattern. By this time the village was becoming an important staging post in the Highlands. This was heightened by the opening of the railway link from Inverness to Dingwall, which passed through Beauly.

Dcp01794.jpg (51318 bytes)In 1900 Lord Lovat raised the Lovat Scouts to fight in the Boer War. He thought that with the skill of the Highlanders at stalking,shooting and spying, they could defeat the Boers at their own game. The Lovat Scout War Memorial was erected in the 1900s to commemorate those lost in the Boer War. This was paid for by funds raised by the local community, and has recently been restored to its former glory.

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The Historic Crucifix

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Please send information on the History of this beautiful Church to:

Mike Morrison@scalan.co.uk