The town of Rothesay is the principal town on the Isle of Bute, in the council area of Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It can be reached by ferry from Wemyss Bay which offers an onward rail link to Glasgow. At the centre of the town is Rothesay Castle, a ruined castle which dates back to the 13th century, and which is unique in Scotland for its circular plan. Rothesay lies along the coast of the Firth of Clyde.
The ferry journey from Rothesay pier to the mainland port of Wemyss Bay takes about 45 minutes.
Rothesay Old Parish Registers cover the years 1691 to 1854 for baptisms and marriages. There are no records for deaths or burials. The burial register for Rothesay did not start until 1882.
Rothesay was the county town in the civil parish of Rothesay in county of Bute, which included the islands of Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae and Arran. The county buildings, now partially closed down, overlook the castle.
During World War II Rothesay Bay was the home port of HMS Cyclops, the depot ship for the 7th Submarine Flotilla. HMS Cyclops and the 7th Submarine Flotilla served as the training facility for virtually all British submariners who saw service during the war. Bute at War
The war memorial (1922) is by Pilkington Jackson.
The bauhaus-inspired pavilion of 1938, stands-out on the seafront.
From the 1960s onwards, with the advent of cheap foreign package holidays, Rothesay's heyday was largely over. The Winter Gardens closed and lay derelict for many years. However in the 1990s, it was redeveloped and is now a tourist information and exhibition centre.
Duke of Rothesay
The heir to the British throne is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland. This practice was begun by Robert III, who regularly resided at Rothesay Castle, and first granted the title to his son David in 1398. The title was given to the heir of the Scottish throne until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Unlike the equivalent English title of Duke of Cornwall, there is no land attached in the form of a Duchy. The main landowner on the island is the Marquess of Bute, whose principal seat, Mount Stuart, is located a few miles to the south.