Beauly Abbey was founded by the Valliscaulians, a branch of
the Benedictines. It was the second of three such establishments, the first being at Ardchattan in Lorne, the third at Pluscarden in Elgin. Its founder was John Bissett of
Lovat in 1230. In its ruin can be found a large Aisle dedicated to St. Katherine. A side chapel is the burial place of the Mackenzies of Gairloch.
In 1841, the village of Beauly and the four to five miles around it comprised nearly two thirds of the population of eighteen hundred. Of these, approximately 100 were Catholics and 50
Episcopalians. Attendance was generally good. The Church of Scotland Minister besides preaching in Beauly, also held services in Cannich school and at Glenstrathfarrar. Two
Catholic priests looked after the Beauly area, one at Wester Eskdale and the other at Fasnakyle.
In 1847, the first Free Church was opened at Balblair, it was
built with voluntary labour. The first Minister was the Reverend Andrew W. Mackenzie, who was a notable evangelistic preacher, Gaelic scholar and member of the Inverness Gaelic
Society. He gave the inaugural lecture on the 19th October, 1871. Following the disruption a revived interest in religion took place. In the 1890s during his Ministry the Church held seven hundred
worshippers and was well filled at Gaelic services. On Communion Sundays in July, so many came from neighbouring parishes that the services had to be held in the open air. By 1875, the Church of Scotland
opened St. Columbaís Mission Church in Beauly. This was the first time instrumental music had been used. Four years later the Free Church opened in Croyard Road. Another Free Church was built at Fasnakyle.
In 1893 further disruption took place. With the Declaratory Act which permitted Ministers and office bearers to interpret the Westminster Confession of Faith with freedom of conscience, many people
became disturbed and feared the introduction of modern ideas. This saw the formation of the Free Presbyterian Church. They took over the Old Parish Church at Balblair.
The parish of Kilmorack was named after St. Moroc, a Culdee monk of Dunkeld, whose
life is celebrated on the 8th November. In 1437, records show that there was a "Vicar of Kilmorok". Lands were granted at the Kirktown of Kilmoricht in 1521 to Thomas
Fraser of Lovat, by Robert, Bishop of Ross. The parish church (shown above) was built on the banks of the river Beauly, by the falls in 1786. It was not kept in good repair and
maintenance had to be done in both 1835 and 1890-91. This building was on the site of a much older church. The parish today comes under the auspices of the Inverness Presbytery.
One of the most noted of Ministers at Kilmorack was Thomas Chisholm. He was born on the 14th December, 1680, the son
of Alexander of Teawig. His ordination was marred by a "rabbling" of both men and women who surrounded the Church. Sanctuary took place in the Manse, where they were pelted by sods and rocks. It was
impossible to proceed further, so the following day at Kiltearn, he was finally ordained and inducted. The previous incumbentís widow, Jean Baillie, refused to leave the Manse as she claimed her late
husband had built it. After two years of constant struggle she was finally paid the sum of one thousand pounds. Thomas had a very rough time, due to two thirds of the
parish being Catholics and many of the Episcopalian faith. Eventually, things became calmer and he remained Minister for fifty seven years. He died on the 6th January, 1768.
When a John Knox visited Fasnakyle, Clachan, Aigas and Inchully in 1786, he found that the Protestant clergy when arriving at their
"preaching stations" in inclement weather found the people in the same condition as themselves - drenched through and shivering with the cold. They were exposed to the weather all through
the service, having no buildings to preach in, and living in hovels. Whilst the Catholic priests live and preach in buildings in excellent repair.
But the Protestants had a stipend, although small, with the Catholics depending on their flock giving them alms.
In Strathglass lived the Reverend John MacPherson, a parish priest of the Jesuit mission. He was a collector of Gaelic poetry and it has been suggested that he translated Ossianís poems. He never
published his manuscripts and they were lost for some time. They came into the hands of Father John Farquharson, who in 1775 left them in the Scots College of Douai. Unfortunately, they got into the hands
of young men who did not understand Gaelic and a late Principal of the College saw, as a student there, the papers being used as kindling for the fire.