Cumbray, Little

   CUMBRAY, LITTLE, an island, in the county of Bute, ecclesiastically annexed to the parish of West Kilbride, in the county of Ayr, and containing 8 inhabitants. This island is situated in the Frith of Clyde, between the island of Bute and the promontory of Portincross, from each of which it is distant about two and a half miles. It anciently formed part of the domains of the Stuart family, ancestors of the kings of that line, and, on the erection of the principality of Scotland by Robert III., in 1404, in favour of his son, was concluded within its limits. It was for many years retained as a royal preserve, and in 1515 was conferred upon Hew, Earl of Eglinton, whose descendants are its present proprietors. The island, which is composed entirely of trap-rock, resting on the sandstone formation of the opposite coast, is about a mile long, and half a mile in breadth, and has an elevation of 600 feet above the sea. The surface comprises about 700 acres; but, with the exception of a few potato gardens, it does not appear to have been cultivated. There are a few ash-trees growing near the south-east extremity, but it is otherwise perfectly destitute of wood, and the rocky pasture only affords food for a few sheep and young cattle; the island is, indeed, chiefly a rabbit-warren at present, and about 500 dozens of rabbits are taken annually on the average, and sent for the supply of the neighbouring markets. Nearly in the centre is a circular tower, thirty feet in height, once appropriated as a lighthouse, and still forming a very conspicuous object from all parts of the channel; but it has long been neglected, and a lighthouse has been built upon the edge of a precipice overhanging the sea, on the west side of the island. This building, with the keeper's house and garden, romantically contrasting with the rugged crags among which it is situated, has a truly picturesque appearance. In the southern extremity of the island are several natural caverns, formed by fissures in the rock; the largest, on the east side, is called the King's cave.
   Near the old lighthouse are the remains of an ancient square fort, of which the walls, six feet in thickness, thirty-five feet in height, and nearly entire, inclose an area twenty-eight feet in length and fifteen feet wide, formed into two apartments, of which the lower has a vaulted stone roof. By whom, or at what time, it was erected is not known; but being in the possession of the Montgomerie family at the period of Cromwell's invasion of Scotland, it was surprised and burnt by his soldiers. To the north of the castle are the remains of an ancient chapel dedicated to St. Vey, who was buried here, in a tomb a little to the north of the chapel. These remains consist chiefly of portions of the walls of the chapel, which appears to have been a dependency of the monastery of Iona; the walls are about three feet in thickness, and rudely built, inclosing an area of thirty feet in length, and fifteen in width. Of the tomb, which seems to have been comprised within four walls of stone, two square stones only are left, one of which is broken into two pieces; they are ornamented with tracery, but no inscription of any kind is to be discovered. At Shanwilly point, on the north of the island, are several tumuli, some of which were opened a few years before his death by the late Earl of Eglinton, when sepulchral urns and various fragments of weapons were found.

A Topographical dictionary of Scotland. . 1856.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cumbray, Great —    CUMBRAY, GREAT, an island and parish, in the county of Bute, 2 miles (W.) from Largs; including the villages of Millport and Newton, and containing 1413 inhabitants. The name is derived from a Gaelic term signifying a bold or steep coast… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Girvan —    GIRVAN, a busy sea port, market town, and parish, in the district of Carrick, county of Ayr, 29 miles (N. N. E.) from Stranraer, and 97 (S. W. by W.) from Edinburgh; containing 8000 inhabitants. Girvan is supposed to have derived its name from …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Kilbride, West —    KILBRIDE, WEST, a parish, in the district of Cunninghame, county of Ayr, 5½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Saltcoats; containing 1885 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the dedication of its church, which was anciently an appendage of the …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Kingarth —    KINGARTH, a parish, in the county of Bute, 8 miles (S. by E.) from Rothesay; containing, with the villages of Kilchattan Bay, Kerrycroy, and Piperhall, 931 inhabitants. This parish takes its name from the promontory of Garroch Head, forming… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Bute [1] — Bute (Bjuht), schott. Insel zu der gleichnamigen Grafschaft gehörig. an der Südküste von Cowal, 15 engl. Meil. lang, 3 breit. mit 9900 E., im Norden gebirgig und rauh, im Süden eine niedrige Sandfläche, doch fruchtbar und angebaut, mit Trümmern… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Buteshire —    BUTESHIRE, a county, on the western coast of Scotland, consisting of the isles of Bute, Arran, InchMarnock, and Great and Little Cumbray, in the Firth of Clyde; separated on the north from Argyllshire by the straits called the Kyles of Bute,… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Kilchattan-Bay —    KILCHATTAN BAY, a village, in the parish of Kingarth, Isle and county of Bute, 6 miles (S. by E.) from Rothesay; containing 167 inhabitants. This village derives its name from the fine bay on the southeast of the island, opening into the Frith …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Newton —    1) NEWTON, a village, in the parish of Great Cumbray, Isle and county of Bute; containing 444 inhabitants. It is seated at the head of a capacious and finelysheltered harbour, called Kames bay, where vessels of considerable burthen may have… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • Stevenston —    STEVENSTON, a market town and parish, in the district of Cunninghame, county of Ayr, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Irvine, and 14 (N. N. W.) from Ayr; containing 3791 inhabitants, of whom 1432 are in that portion of the town of Saltcoats which is… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

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