"BUTESHIRE, a county in the S.W. part of Scotland, consisting of the islands of Arran and Bute, with the smaller ones of Great Cumbray, Little Cumbray, Inch Marnock, Lamlash, and Pladda. It is situated in the Firth of Clyde, between the counties of Argyle, on the N. and W., and Ayr on the E., and is estimated to comprise an area of 257 square miles. But a small part of the surface is under cultivation, although much has been done to improve the methods of farming and the condition of the farmers, and to drain the lands, by the principal proprietors, the Marquis of Bute and the Duke of Hamilton. Land is commonly let on lease for 19 years. The climate is damp, but temperate and healthy. The herring fisheries employ between 2,000 and 3,000 persons, and about 550 boats. The cotton manufacture is carried on to some extent at Rothesay, which is the county town. It returns one member to the imperial parliament for the county and the royal burgh of Rothesay, which is the place of election. Before the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832, this county returned one member alternately with the county of Caithness. Buteshire contains six parishes, five of which are in the synod of Argyle, and one in the synod of Glasgow and Ayr. There are places of worship belonging to the Establishment, Free Church, United Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Scottish Episcopal Church, Congregational Union, and the Roman Catholic Church. Sheriff courts are held weekly at Rothesay. Quarter sessions are held on the first Tuesday of March, May, and August, and on the last Tuesday of October. Population in 1851, 16,608; in 1861, 16,188. The principal seats in the county are Mount Stewart, that of the Marquis of Bute, situated on the S. coast of Bute; Kames, of the Hamiltons; Braes, of the M'Kinleys; Millport, and Ascog. [See Arran, BUTE, ROTHSAY, CUMBRAY, &c.]"
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)