ROTHESAY, Buteshire

"ROTHESAY, town and parish in Isle of Bute. The town stands on half-moon bay 1 1/2 mile wide, immediately within south-east end of Kyles of Bute, 18 miles south-west of Greenock; arose and prospered around a famous ancient castle; gave to the eldest sone of Robert III., and gives now to the Prince of Wales, the title of duke; ranks as a favourite watering-place, a retreat of invalids, a seat of manufacture, a seaport, the centre of a fishery district, a royal burgh, and the capital of Buteshire; enjoys so fine a climate as to have been long reputed the Montpellier of Scotland; commands charming views both from its front, and especially from Barone Hill immediately behind it; comprises a compact mass of streets at the bay's head, and handsome outskirts and lines of villas along the shores to the bay's mouth; underwent improvement of its sanitary condition by extensive works in 1871-77; acquired a tramway to Port Bannatyne in 1882; publishes 3 weekly newspapers; and has a head post office with all departments, 3 banking offices, 5 hotels, county buildings, public halls, an aquarium, a band pavilion, an excellent harbour, 3 Established churches, 3 Free churches, United Presbyterian, Baptist, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic churches, an academy, and 2 primary public schools. The Castle stands within a compact part of the town; was founded in 1098 by Magnus Barefoot of Norway to secure his hold on the Hebrides; underwent enlargement to become a palatial fort of the Lords High Stewards of Scotland; figured in the invasion by Haco of Norway, and in wars of the Succession; was an occasional residence of several of the Scottish kings, and the death-place of Robert III; suffered injury by Cromwell and ruination in 1685 by the Earl of Argyle; and was so extensively and tastefully restored in 1873-74 as to be rendered eminently picturesque. The County Buildings are a castellated structure of 1832. The public halls were completed in December 1879, cost upwards of about 12,000, and have an elegant main circular apartment with accommodation for 1367 persons. The aquarium was formed in 1875-76 at a cost of about 12,000, is a crystal palace contiguous to the sea, and includes a promenade and concert-hall. One of the Established churches adjoins the ruined choir of what was for some time the cathedral of the diocese of Argyle and the Isles; and two of the Free churches are modern structures with conspicuous spires. The harbour was formed in years from 1822 till 1873 at a cost of about 22,000. Real property of the burgh in 1880-81, 55,704. Pop.8291."

[From The Gazetteer of Scotland, by Rev. John Wilson, 1882.]

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