ROTHESAY, a royal burgh, a sea-port, the countytown, and a parish, in the county of Bute, 89 miles (W. by S.) from Edinburgh; containing, exclusive of the new civil parish of North Bute, and the village of PortBannatyne, 6056 inhabitants, of whom 5789 are in the burgh. This place, anciently called Cill-a-Bruic, or "the church of St. Brock," derived its present name Rothesay, signifying in the Gaelic language "the King's Seat," from a castle erected here about the year 1092, by Magnus, King of Norway, to secure the conquest he had recently made of the Western Isles. The castle, around which a small town had arisen, belonged to the family of the Mac Rodericks in the reign of Alexander III., and was then burnt by the Norwegians under Haco, who made himself master of it, after a loss of 300 men on the part of the garrison: it did not, however, remain long in his possession, being retaken upon the defeat of his forces by Alexander III. at the battle of Largs in 1263. During the reign of John Baliol it was seized by the English, who in 1311 surrendered it to Robert the Bruce. The castle was subsequently taken by Edward Baliol, who fortified it, and kept possession of it till its capture by Robert II., who made it occasionally his residence during the years 1376 and 1381. Robert III. in 1398 assembled a council at Scone, and created his son, David, Earl of Carrick, Duke of Rothessy; and in 1401 he conferred upon the town all the privileges of a royal burgh. In the reign of James III. the dukedom of Rothesay, which was the first ducal dignity in Scotland, was made hereditary in the heir apparent to the throne, who at his birth, or immediately on his father's accession, becomes Prince and Steward of Scotland, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of the Isles, and Baron Renfrew.
   The family of Bute, who were hereditary keepers of the castle, continued to reside in it till 1685, when it was besieged and taken during the civil wars by the Marquess of Argyll, by whom it was burnt. The remains, which are inclosed within a circular wall defended by four round towers, are more remarkable for their great strength than for their style of architecture or their picturesque appearance. After its various devastations, the town gradually recovered its original importance, and became a place of considerable trade, and the chief mart for the exchange of their respective commodities between the Highlanders and the Lowlanders. It continued to increase in prosperity till the year 1700, when, on the erection of Campbelltown, to which place many of its inhabitants removed, it began to decay; and in 1760 nearly one half of the houses had been deserted, and suffered to fall into ruin. In this languishing state it remained till 1765, when, a customhouse being erected, it was made the principal port for the landing of all colonial produce previously to its being shipped for Ireland. The subsequent establishment of the herring-fishery, and the introduction of the cotton-manufacture by an English company, greatly contributed to its prosperity; and it rapidly increased in extent and population.
   The town is beautifully situated at the head of the bay of Rothesay, in the Frith of Clyde, on the east side of the Island of Bute; and consists of several spacious and well-formed streets, where of the principal are, Highstreet, Montague-street, Princes-street, Argyll-street, and Bishop-street, from which various smaller streets diverge in different directions. The houses generally are substantial, and well built of stone; and along the shores of the bay are numerous handsome mansions and pleasant villas. The streets are lighted with gas, and the inhabitants amply supplied with water from wells in the town. The facilities for seabathing afforded by the beach, and the discovery of a sulphuretted spring of great efficacy, have rendered this a fashionable watering-place; and during the summer months the town is resorted to by numerous visiters, for whose accommodation there are lodging-houses and comfortable inns. The Rothesay Public Subscription Library, established in 1792, has a collection of 1500 volumes; the Rothesay Youths' Library, established in 1818, has about 1200 volumes. Two public reading and news rooms are supported by subscription, and are regularly supplied with journals and periodical publications; and in connection with the Farmers' Society, instituted in 1825, a periodical called The Bute Record of Rural Affairs is published in the town. The society, also, has a library of works on agriculture.
   The principal manufacture is that of cotton, for which there is a spinning-mill, driven by water collected for the purpose in reservoirs, and in which 355 persons are engaged. Two power-loom factories afford employment to many persons. There are also distilleries, tanneries, yards for ship and boat building, works for the making of nets, several cooperages, and various handicraft trades; and a considerable number of people are occupied in the West Highland and northern herring-fisheries, and in the curing of fish, of which 20,000 barrels are annually cured. The trade of the port consists chiefly in the exportation of cloth, leather, barley, potatoes, turnips, and other agricultural produce, herrings, and white-fish; the imports are, cotton, hides, grain, coal, lime, salt, barrel staves, and freestone. The number of vessels belonging to the port is fifty-eight, of the aggregate burthen of 3000 tons, and navigated by nearly 300 men; and a large number of boats, also, are employed in the fisheries. The harbour is safe, and accessible to vessels of 300 tons: the approach is facilitated by a lighthouse at the entrance of the bay, and is defended by a battery on the shore, mounted with several pieces of cannon. Five steam-boats ply between this place and Glasgow, varying from eighty to 100 tons' burthen each, and from fifty to seventy horse power: there are likewise two steam-boats employed in the Greenock traffic.
   By charter of Robert III., confirmed by one of James VI. in 1594, the government of the burgh is vested in a provost, two bailies, a dean of guild, a treasurer, and twelve councillors. There are no incorporated guilds; and the only privileges of the burgesses are, freedom to trade within the burgh; and exemption from one-half of the customs paid by strangers. The fees for admission are, for strangers as merchant-burgesses £3. 3., and as artificers £2. 2.; and for the sons and sons-in-law of burgesses, one-half only of those sums. The magistrates have civil jurisdiction within the burgh to any amount; their criminal decisions are limited to petty offences. As the county-town, the sheriff's and commissary's courts are held here. The magistrates of the burgh formerly had an admiralty jurisdiction extending over the whole coasts of the county of Bute; but since 1820 it has been discontinued. The original town-hall, in the Watergate, becoming ruinous, another was erected in 1614, in Castle-street, almost contiguous; and in 1832 the present building, occupying the sites of both, was raised at an expense of £4000. It is a handsome structure in the castellated style, with an elegant tower in which are two illuminated dials; and contains the courts for the sheriff, magistrates of the burgh, and county justices of the peace, and a spacious hall for the transaction of the public business of the town and county, in which is a portrait of the Marquess of Bute. The buildings comprise also the gaol for the county, which is under excellent regulations. The burgh was formerly associated with those of Ayr, Campbelltown, Inverary, and Irvine, in returning a member to the imperial parliament; but since the Reform act, it has been thrown into the county. The post-office has two or three deliveries daily from Greenock and Glasgow; and branches of the Royal, Western, and Clydesdale Banks have been established in the town. The market is on Wednesday, and fairs are held annually on the first Wednesday in May, the third Wednesday and the following day in July, and the last Wednesday in October. Facility of communication is afforded by roads kept in excellent repair by statute labour and contributions from the Marquess of Bute and others, and which are consequently free of toll.
   The parish once included the larger portion of the Isle of Bute, and was bounded on the north-east and north-west by the Kyles of Bute, which separated it from the county of Argyll; on the east by the Frith of Clyde; and on the west by the sea, which divided it from Arran. It extends, inclusively of North Bute, recently made a distinct parish, for nearly ten miles in extreme length, and is about three miles in average breadth; thus comprising 20,530 acres, of which 6605 are arable, 3652 meadow and pasture, 724 woodland and plantations, and the remainder hill pasture, moor, and waste. The surface, which is generally hilly, is intersected with two beautiful and fertile vales; one extending from Rothesay bay, on the east, to the bay of Scalpsie on the west; and the other, to the north of the former, from Kames bay to the bay of Etterick. The highest of the hills is Kames hill, which has an elevation of 875 feet above the level of the sea; the only others of any importance are Barone and Common hills, respectively 530 and 430 feet high. They all command extensive and richly diversified prospects. There are no rivers; but several lakes are scattered over the surface, whereof the largest is Loch Fadd, of which the western shore is richly wooded, and on which is a picturesque house called Kean's Cottage, built by the tragedian of that name. The coast, about thirty miles in circuit, is indented with several bays: the principal are, Rothesay and Kames bays on the east; and Scalpsie, St. Ninian's (opposite to which is the island of Inch-Marnock), and the bay of Etterick, all three on the west. The shore is chiefly shelving rock, and gravelly.
   The soil on the more elevated lands is generally shallow, in some places light, and in others a stiff retentive clay alternated with moss; in the valleys, a rich alluvial loam of great fertility; and in other parts, moor and moss. On the shore of St. Ninian's bay is a valuable bed of rich marl. The crops are, grain of all kinds, potatoes, turnips, and the various grasses: the system of husbandry has been carried to great perfection under the auspices of the Marquess of Bute, and through the stimulus afforded by the Bute Farmers' Society, who hold regular meetings for the distribution of prizes. The lands have been drained and inclosed, and much of the waste brought into cultivation; the farm houses and offices are substantial and well arranged, and numerous neat cottages have been built by the marquess on the farms of his tenants, for the labourers, each of whom has attached an allotment of land. Great attention is paid to the dairy, and the cheese made here is equal in quality to the best Dunlop, and brings an equal price in the market; the cows are chiefly of the Ayrshire breed, and considerable numbers of cattle and sheep are reared in the pastures. The plantations are mostly oak, ash, elm, beech, larch, and fir; and in the grounds of Kames Castle are some stately planes and chesnut-trees. The rocks are composed of red sandstone and conglomerate; and the substrata, to the north of Rothesay bay, are mica, clay, and chlorite slates, traversed by veins of trap and quartz. The rateable annual value of the parish, including North Bute, is £13,823. Kames Castle, the seat of James Hamilton, Esq., consists of an ancient and lofty tower to which a handsome modern mansion has been added, and is finely situated at the head of the bay of that name, in grounds richly embellished. Mount Stuart, the splendid seat of the Marquess of Bute, is not more than about five miles distant, in the parish of Kingarth.
   The ecclesiastical affairs are under the superintendence of the presbytery of Dunoon and synod of Argyll. The minister's stipend is £276. 1. 3., with a manse, and a glebe valued at £30 per annum; patron, the Marquess. The parish church, a plain structure erected in 1796, is in good repair, and contains 955 sittings. A second church, to which a district comprising a population of 2457 persons was assigned as a quoad sacra parish, by act of the General Assembly, in 1834, under the designation of New Rothesay, was built in 1800 at a cost of £1300, raised by subscription; it is a neat structure containing 830 sittings. The minister's stipend was £180, derived from seat-rents, and of which £100 were secured on bond; with a good manse, but no glebe. A Gaelic chapel in connexion with the Free Church has been likewise erected, at an expense of £550, by subscription, and contains 600 sittings. An elegant church for the accommodation of the northern district of the isle, was erected and endowed by the Marquess of Bute in 1836; and a civil parish, by the designation of North Bute, has been assigned to it out of Rothesay. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the United Secession, Reformed Presbyterians, and Independents; and an episcopal chapel. The parochial school is conducted by a master and assistant: the master's salary is £38., with a house, and two spacious school-rooms partly built by the marquess; the school is well attended, and the fees are considerable. There are eleven other schools, of which one is partly endowed by the marquess; two have houses rent free, and the others are supported exclusively by the fees. Several friendly societies, and a savings' bank in which are deposits to the amount of nearly £8000, have tended to diminish the number of applicants for parochial relief. Near Etterick are the remains of a Druidical temple, in tolerable preservation; and in various parts of the parish are others in a less perfect state. Numerous ruins of hill fortresses are still left, though many have been removed for the use of the materials; there are vestiges of various ancient chapels or oratories; and of several tumuli, one has been opened and found to contain a great number of human bones. Among the most distinguished persons identified with this place are, Robert III., King of Scotland, who died here in 1406; Robert Wallace, Bishop of the Isles, who died in 1669, and was interred in the church; and the celebrated John, Earl of Bute, prime minister to George III., who was also buried here. Matthew Stewart, professor of mathematics in the university of Edinburgh, son of Dr. Dugald Stewart, minister of this parish, and father of the late professor Dugald Stewart, of Edinburgh, was born here in 1717. The place gives the title of Duke of Rothesay to the Prince of Wales, born on the 9th of November, 1841.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rothesay — ist der Name folgender Orte: Rothesay (Schottland), Stadt auf der Isle of Bute, Schottland Rothesay (New Brunswick), Ort in New Brunswick, Kanada Siehe auch: Herzog von Rothesay, ein Adelstitel Rothesay Klasse, eine Klasse von Fregatten der Royal …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rothesay — may be: *Rothesay, Argyll and Bute, on the Isle of Bute, Scotland *Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada*Duke of Rothesay …   Wikipedia

  • Rothesay — Rothesay, so v.w. Rothsay …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Rothesay — (spr. róth ßē), Hauptstadt (royal burgh) der schott. Insel Bute, an einer schönen Bai, mit Schloßruine, stattlichem Rathaus und Grafschaftsgebäude, Hafen, Werft, großer Landungsbrücke, Seebädern, Heringsfischerei und (1901) 9323 Einw. R. wird… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Rothesay — (spr. rothsĕ), Hauptstadt der schott. Grafsch. Bute, auf der Nordostküste der Insel Bute, (1901) 9323 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Rothesay — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Deux villes ont pour nom Rothesay: Rothesay, en Écosse. Rothesay, au Nouveau Brunswick (Canada). et la Paroisse de Rothesay, au Nouveau Brunswick Voir… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rothesay — /roth see, say/, n. a town in the Strathclyde region, on Bute island, in SW Scotland: resort; ruins of 11th century castle. 6524. * * * ▪ Scotland, United Kingdom       royal burgh, coastal resort, and chief town of the island of Bute, Argyll and …   Universalium

  • Rothesay — Original name in latin Rothesay Name in other language Baile Bhoid, Baile Bhid, Rothesay, Rothesay, Bute State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 55.83648 latitude 5.05508 altitude 9 Population 4912 Date 2013 07 11 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • ROTHESAY —    (9), popular watering place on the W. coast of Scotland, capital of Buteshire, charmingly situated at the head of a fine hill girt bay on the NE. side of the island of Bute, 19 m. SW. of Greenock; has an excellent harbour, esplanade, &c.;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Rothesay — geographical name royal burgh SW Scotland on island of Bute population 5408 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.