Bellie & Speymouth Parish Church of Scotland

Former Ministers

Former minister of Bellie and Speymouth Parish Church

Rev Alison Mehigan2015
Rev Alison C Mehigan.
Rev Alison was ordained and inducted into the charge of Bellie linked with Speymouth on 31 October 2003. Having felt a call to the Ministry from her teenage years, she gained her BD at Aberdeen University, graduating in 1982. To gain experience of life in preparation for her ministerial role, she decided to enter the workplace prior to ordination. Prior to serving as minister at Bellie linked with Speymouth, Rev Alison previously held positions as Technical Administrator with BP; Marketing Support Co-ordinator then later, Administration and Personnel Manager with Petroleum Engineering Services Ltd; more recently as Engineering Department Co-ordinator with the University of Aberdeen. Rev Alison was the first minister of the united charge of Bellie and Speymouth, following the union of the congregations in January 2015. She translated to Nairn Old Parish Church on 30 October 2015.


Former ministers of the former Bellie Parish Church

1567 – 1588
Rev George Hay.
Served as minister at Bellie in conjunction with Rathven. Robert Grant was his Reader between 1574 and 1588.

1590 – 1599
Rev John Knox.
Presented by James VI as Reader at Dundurcas in October 1576, which he held until 1580. In 1585, he became Minister at Keith and then translated 1586 to Ruthven before translating to Bellie in 1590.

1601 – 1607
Rev Thomas Hay.

1607 - 1663
Rev William Sanders.
Reputed to have served as a minister for 77 years and died at age 107. Alexander Innes was his assistant from 1643 to 1655 and James Horne was his assistant from 1656 to 1659.

1663 – 1699
Rev William Annand.
Originally called in 1659, his settlement was delayed until Mr Sanders demitted his post. Born in 1635, Mr Annand was the son of John Annand, minister at Inverness.

1702 – 1708
Rev Charles Primrose.
Ordained to Bellie on February 1702, he translated to Forres in 1708.

1709 – 1750
Rev Thomas MacCulloch.
Born at Cromarty in 1670, he was educated at Edinburgh University. Licensed by the Presbytery of Elgin in June 1707, Mr MacCulloch was Ordained to Birnie in July 1708. He translated from Birnie to Bellie in May 1709.

1751 - 1769
Rev Patrick Gordon.
Born at Denend, Keith in 1705 and educated at King's College, Aberdeen, Mr Gordon was Schoolmaster of Aberlour from 1720 until 1725, and then of Bellie between 1725 and 1731. A missionary at Enzie from 1731 to 1738, he was ordained and admitted to Rhynie in 1739. He was presented by the Duke of Gordon to Bellie and translated in October 1751.

Rev John Rose.
A former minister of Leswalt, he was presented by Alexander, Duke of Gordon, but revoked his acceptance.

1771 - 1809
Rev James Gordon.
Born in 1727 and educated at King's College, Aberdeen, Mr Gordon graduated M.A. in 1747. Before serving as minister of Bellie, he was chaplain to the Royal Scots Fusiliers in Gibraltar in 1753. He was presented by the Duke of Gordon to Bellie and was admitted in March 1770. Mr Gordon was the first incumbent minister of the new Bellie Church in the Square of the new town of Fochabers in 1797, having already occupied the new manse built next door in 1788.

Rev John Anderson1809 - 1819
Rev John Anderson
. Born in 1759, Mr Anderson was the son of local farmer George Anderson and Helen Shand. He was ordained in Kingussie in July 1782 and admitted to Bellie in September 1809. He was appointed a Commissioner to the Duke of Gordon in 1819 and, in anticipation of also retaining the office of Minister, sought to appoint William Rannie as his assistant. Presbytery refused to sanction this and the matter was referred to the General Assembly of May 1819. They also disapproved, stating that Mr Anderson could not be both Commissioner to the Duke and Minister as "engaging in such secular employments is inconsistent with the full and faithful discharge of [a minister's] .. spiritual functions". After demitting the charge, Mr Anderson as Commissioner to the Duke continued to live in the Manse at 11 The Square (later named Darnley House). It was 1959 before the church purchased back the house so that it could once again become the parish Manse.

1819 - 1837
Rev William Rannie
. Born in 1788 at Boyndie and educated at King's College, Aberdeen, Mr Rannie was initially presented by the Duke as an assistant to Mr Anderson, before succeeding to the full charge in 1819.

Rev David Dewar1837 - 1843
Rev David Dewar
Born in Tillycoultry in 1796 and educated at Edinburgh University, Mr Dewar was appointed master of the Duchess of Gordon's private school and chaplain at Gordon Castle in 1830, before being ordained into the ministry in 1837. He served as minister of Bellie until 1843, when the Church split over the right of 'patronage' (the right of a wealthy patron to install a minister of his or her own choice into a parish), which became a point of contention between those who held that this infringed on the spiritual independence of the church and those who regarded it as a matter of property under the state's jurisdiction. Mr Dewar left Bellie Church along with several members of the congregation to form the Free Church in the village. He remained a well-respected minister in the North East of Scotland. He died in 1885.

Rev Robert Cushney1843 - 1881
Rev Robert Cushney
. Born in 1810 and educated at Marischal College in Aberdeen, Mr Cushney held a previous charge at Insch from 1836. Introduced by the Duke of Richmond, he translated to Bellie in 1843, where he served until his death in March 1881 at the age of 70. He had four daughters and two sons, both of whom became ministers.


Rev John Peter Watt1882 - 1898
Rev John Peter Watt
. Born in 1852, he was the son of Rev William Watt, minister of Foveran. Educated at the University of Aberdeen, Mr Watt served as minister of Hogganfield Chapel, Glasgow from 1879, before translating to Bellie in July 1882. He demitted office in October 1898 and died in June 1899.




Rev Robert Venters


1899 - 1934
Rev Robert Venters
. Born in May 1868, Mr Venters was son of John Venters, a collector of Inland Revenue. He graduated M.A. from Glasgow in 1890 and B.D. from Edinburgh in 1894. He served as assistant minister at Greyfriars, Dumfries before being ordained and admitted to Bellie in March 1899.


Rev Christopher Barnett1934 - 1947
Rev Christopher Barnett
. Transferring to Bellie in September 1934, Mr Barnett served as a forces' chaplain in Aldershot from 1939 until 1943 and in North Africa, Sicily and Italy between 1943 and 1945. He translated to Dundee, Hilltown in May 1947.



1948 - 1951
Rev John Jameson Glover
Rev John Jameson Glover
Born in March 1907, Mr Glover graduated M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1929. Before serving as minister of Bellie, he was minister of Haverton Hill, Rochdale Trinity and Walford St Stephen's and was an officiating chaplain to HM Forces. He died in August 1973.




Rev Murdo Macrae1953 - 1954
Rev Murdo Macrae
. Ordained and admitted to Stobhill in 1933, Mr Macrae was minister of Glasgow Wilton, Iona and Ross of Mull, Balquihidder and Kilarrow before he was inducted to Bellie in February 1953. He died in April 1954.




1954 - 1958
Rev Gavin Brown
. Rev Gavin BrownBorn in May 1912, Mr Brown was minister of Kirkcaldy St John's (1941) and the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam (1949) before he was inducted to Bellie in September 1954. He transferred to Falkirk Laurieston in September 1958.



Rev Alick Hugh Macaulay1959 - 1981
Rev Alick Hugh Macaulay
. Born in June 1916, Mr Macaulay graduated M.A. from the University of Glasgow in 1937. During the war, he was engaged in Church of Scotland Huts and Canteens and in the Royal Navy and also served as a forces' chaplain. He was minister of Ullapool before becoming the first minister of Bellie linked with Speymouth in 1959. He retired in June 1981 and died in February 2011.




Rev David Ferguson1982 - 2001
Rev David Ferguson
. Born in March 1936, Mr Ferguson served as assistant minister of Glasgow Possilpark during 1965 and 1966. He was ordained and inducted to Tingwall in 1966 before translating to Motherwell Crosshill in 1972 and serving as minister of Bellie linked with Speymouth from March 1982 to March 2001. He died in January 2022.



Rev Gordon Henig2001 - 2003
Rev Gordon Henig
. Translating to Bellie linked with Speymouth in November 2001, Mr Henig was previously minister of Ordiquihill and Cornhill linked with Whitehills. The early part of Mr Henig's career was spent outwith the ministry, which included several years' naval experience. He retired in 2003 and died in October 2016.


Rev Alison Mehigan


2003 - 2014
Rev Alison C Mehigan
. Rev Alison was ordained in October 2003 and was the first minister of the united charge of Bellie and Speymouth from 1 January 2015.


Former ministers of the former Speymouth Parish Church

1731 Robert Miln
1758 Thomas Gordon, who translated from Dundurcas
1785 James Gillan D.D., who translated from Kinloss
1829 John Gordon
1848 John Cushny M.A., who translated to Huntly
1872 Peter Dunn, M.A.
1890 George Birnie, D.D., first minister appointed by the congregation
1941 Richard Noble, M.A., who died in office
1955 Robert Campbell, M.A., who translated to Kirkcaldy
1959 Alick Hugh Macaulay, M.A., first minister of Bellie linked with Speymouth. He retired in June 1981 and died in February 2011.
1982 David Ferguson, who oversaw the re-union of Speymouth with Garmouth in 1988. He retired in March 2001 and died in January 2022.
2001 Gordon Henig, BSc BD, who retired in 2003 and died in October 2016.
2003 Alison C Mehigan, BD DPS, who became the first minister of the united charge of Bellie and Speymouth in January 2015