Township: Balephuil

Map Reference: Balephuil 3

Name Type: shore

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: Bee, 1541 ER xvii, 648
Bee, 1542 ER xvii, 527
Bee, Retours ARG i no. 82
Location unknown, but possibly Balephuil
Tràigh a’ Bhèidhe, 1878 OS 6inch 1st edition
Traigh-Bhi, Cameron 1932, 355
Trài’ Bhì, multiple oral sources

Tràigh a' Bhèidhe, ONB, p213, "Nourishing Beach."

Related Places:

Information:Na Baird Thirisdeach, ed. Rev Hector Cameron, An Comunn Thirisdeach, 1932, p 355: "Bhuail i air Traigh-Bhi againn"

The competition for seaweed on Tràigh Bhì was fierce in his father’s time. The grazing committee had to make a rule that no seaweed could be lifted before 9 am! John MacPhail, Balephuil, 11/2004.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: OS

Informant 2: multiple

Informant 3: Niall M Brownlie, Bailtean is Ath Ghairmean, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p 152