Bellew, Christopher Dillon (1763–1826), catholic gentleman and activist, was the eldest son of Michael Bellew of Mount Bellew, Co. Galway, and his wife Jane, daughter of Henry Dillon. Born into a wealthy catholic family, one of the few that had prospered during the penal era, he became involved in the struggle for catholic emancipation, joining the Catholic Committee in the early 1790s. One of the sixty-eight Roman Catholic members who seceded with Lord Kenmare (qv) in 1791 because of the committee's perceived sympathies with revolutionary France, Bellew first came to prominence during the Catholic Convention (3–8 December 1792), as representative for Co. Galway. Disillusioned with the Westmorland (qv) administration, which was attempting to bury the catholic question, Bellew moved that the petition in favour of catholic rights should be presented by a deputation directly to the throne rather than indirectly through the viceroy, a proposal that met with immediate support. Chosen as one of the five delegates to present the petition before the king, he set out for London accompanied by Theobald Wolfe Tone (qv), the committee's secretary, travelling through Belfast and Scotland to shorten the sea journey. Disregarding Westmorland's advice, Henry Dundas, the home secretary, met the delegates at the end of December and agreed to present them before the king at a levee on 2 January 1793. The petition was given to the king by hand, rather than read to him, and George III treated the delegates with great respect, speaking individually to them. On 7 January Dundas assured them that his majesty would look favourably upon any proposal that would create a genuine union of his subjects, but warned against becoming involved in any radical agitation. Bellew appears to have drifted out of politics over the next few years, retiring to his Mount Bellew estate. He resurfaced in February 1807 as one of the first signatories of the petition from the reformed Catholic Committee that met in Dublin.
While not engaged in one of his forays campaigning for catholic rights, Bellew administered his estate. In 1793 he was believed to have an annual income of £5,000, and by 1800 the estate was estimated to amount to 10,000 acres. Respected for his intellectual abilities, he amassed one of the finest libraries in the west of Ireland; a catalogue of his collection was published in 1813 and contained almost ninety-two full pages of entries. A fair administrator, he also served on the Galway grand jury for twenty years before his death, and was generally popular with his tenants, who admired his generosity and work for emancipation.
On 27 October 1794 he married Olivia Emily (d. September 1856), only daughter of Anthony Nugent of Pallas, styled 4th Lord Riverston. Bellew died at his home at Mount Bellew on 23 April 1826 and was succeeded by his only son, Michael Dillon Bellew, who achieved some prominence as the first catholic sheriff in Co. Galway, and was created a baronet in 1838.