1902 Encyclopedia > County of Bute, Scotland

County of Bute, Scotland

COUNTY OF BUTE, is composed of three groups of islands which lie in the Firth of Clyde, betwixt the coasts of Ayrshire on the east, and Argyllshire on the north and west, viz., Bute, from which the county takes its name, with Inchmarnoch, a mile to westward; the two Cumbraes, less than a mile apart; and Arran, with the Holy Isle and Pladda islet, separated from each other by about a mile; the groups themselves being divided by channels from five to eight or ten miles in width. The area of the county is about 225 square miles. Before the application of steam to navigation and the introduction of the radway system, the voyage from Glasgow to Bute, Cumbrae, or Arran was always tedious and disagreeable, and sometimes fraught with peril, being performed in small and generally open sail-boats, often occupying days, and occasionally even weeks; now, by rail and steamer, the several islands can be reached in an hour and a half or two hours from Glasgow. In consequence of those facilities, and their acknowledged salubrity of climate, beauty and sub-limity of scenery, and scientific and historic interest, the chief islands of Buteshire have for years attracted increas-ing numbers ef tourists, artists, and men of science from all parts of the world. Buteshire, with the exception of some half-dozen small estates, is in the hands of four great proprietors. Arran, Holy Isle, and Pladda belong to the duke of Hamilton, and Bute and Inchmarnoch to the noble marquis who derives his title from the former. The Larger Cumbrae is the property of the earl of Glasgow and Lord Bute; and the Lesser Cumbrae, with its single farm, belongs to the earl of Eglinton. The proprietors'of Bute and the Larger Cumbrae,—-whose residences are respectively Mount Stuart, a few miles from Bothesay, and the Garrison, a handsome marine villa in the heart of Mill-port,—have given every encouragement to feuing and to all public improvements; consequently the beautiful water-ing-places in their vicinity have grown rapidly in population and importance. The census of 1871 gives the resident population of Buteshire at 16,977, 7623 males and 9354 females. Of these 10,094 were in Bute, 5259 in Arran, and 1624 in the Cumbraes. Since then the numbers are known to have largely increased, and in summer the popula-tion must be vastly greater. The electoral roll, which grows of course with the growth of the better class of feuars and householders, numbers at present 1150 voters. Brior to 1832 Buteshire, alternately with Caithness-shire, sent a member to Parliament,—Bothesay enjoying at the same time the privilege of sharing a representative with Ayr, Campbelton, Inveraray, and Irvine. On the passing of the Beform Bill of 1832, Bothesay was merged in the county, which since then has had a member to itself. Buteshire and Benfrewshire form one sheriffdom, with a sheriff-substitute resident in Bothesay, where are also situated the county buildings, including the court-house, prison, and public offices. The circuit courts are held at Inveraray.

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