Township: Balephuil

Map Reference: Balephuil 2

Name Type: watercourse

Meaning: Although Cameron derived this name from the Celtic saint Do-Bhi (see Johnston 1991, 94, and see Baile mhic Eòdha above), this is likely to be a simplex Norse name derived from ON býr ‘farmstead’. Phonologically, this appears to come from the East Norse býr rather than the West Norse bær. Macniven makes the case that on Islay this implies that part of the Scandinavian settlement came from eastern Norway (Macniven 2015, 78).
Donald Sinclair, West Hynish, had the tradition that a 'Viking princess' was buried here: 'She was buried in Balephuil ... a princess. On your left hand side when you're leaving Balephuil, before you reach Angus MacArthur [NL962412] ... that's where she was brought up ... Solbhaig Bheag Nighean an Loch, Lochlannan Bhaile Phuill [small Solbhaig daughter of the loch, the Vikings of Balephuil]' (Donald Sinclair, Balephuil, SA1972.135; see Balabhaig below). Sólveig is an attested female Old Norse personal name.
There is a Ballinaby (Baile na *Býr) on Islay (Macniven 2015, 292), and a Loch Bee on South Uist; 'in Shetland býr occurs eight times as a simplex' (Sigmundsson, in Gammeltoft et al., 2005, 213); By is recorded twenty times as a farm name in Norway (OR); Bøur is a settlement name in the Faroe Islands (KO); and Bær occurs nineteen times as a farm name in Iceland (SAM).

Other Forms: Abhuinn a’ Bhèidhe, 1878 OS 6inch 1st edition
Abhainn Bhì, multiple oral sources

Abhuinn a' Bhèidhe - ONB, p213 "The Nourishing River"

Related Places: Keand-dauar on the Pont map of 1662 comes from Ceann dobhair, Handbook to the Islands of Coll and Tiree, Hector MacDougall and Rev. Hector Cameron, Archibald Sinclair, p.104.

Information:The Tiree Baptist church used to perform baptisms here until the channel was cleared out - Jean MacPhail, Balephuil, 9/1994

When the Baptists did their baptisms at the Amhainn Bhi they ”chur stad air an uisge” by damming up the stream before hand to get enough water to totally immerse someone. John Brown from the Sliabh, Balephuil, was baptised and got on his bicycle and cycled home soaking wet. Mairi Campbell, Corrairigh, 7/2008



Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: multiple

Informant 2: OS