Map of Stories

Bella Higgins

Bella Higgins (1890 – 1962) was born Isabella Stewart – oldest child of Old Jock Stewart of Perthshire, champion piper, and Agnes MacPhee of Kintyre. She and her sister Maggie married two brothers, Andy and Donald Higgins, respectively, and went to Ireland with them to avoid the draft in WW1. Bella kept a caravan, and would travel Ireland playing the pipes and dancing. The rest of Bella’s family joined them in Ireland for many years, where they also fished for pearls in Antrim.

Bella became a great storyteller, a craft she learned from within her own family, and from other Travellers in Scotland and Ireland. She returned to Scotland, and the whole family settled in their homeland of Blairgowrie and Rattray. Her brother Alec married Belle Macgregor; that family later became known as ‘The Stewarts of Blair’.