After the Treaty of Perth in 1266, Little Cumbrae became Crown property and was maintained as a hunting ground for the king by the Hunters of Hunterston. In 1577 the island eventually became the property of the Earls of Eglinton. It remained part of the Eglinton estates until 1913 when the island was purchased by Evelyn Stuart Parker for £5,000. It was inherited by his son Ian in 1936.
The island has been sold several times lately. In 1960 it was bought by Peter Kaye of Highland Engineering Ltd, in 2002 by Mr Steven and Mrs Rhoda Worrallo of Holt Enterprises and lastly by Sarwan and Sunita Poddar in 2009 to use as a meditation and yoga retreat.
Little Cumbrae Castle
The castle of Little Cumbrae sits on a tidal island (Castle Island) adjacent to Little Cumbrae House on the east side of the island. It is a plain keep of the 14th century and comparible in the style to nearby Law, Fairlie and Skelmorlie Castles.
The ground floor is vaulted and entrance to the castle is by ladder to the first floor - a good defensive feature. Externally it has ashlar quoins, checkered corbelling and projecting parapet and castellation. Internally the ground floor has two basement rooms, the first floor is also vaulted with a great hall and kitchen. The second floor has one large room and garderobe.
The first lighthouse on Little Cumbrae sits on the very top of the island. It was constructed in 1757 and was the first lighthouse to be built on a Clyde island. It measured 28 feet in height and had a coal fire on its roof to serve as its navigation light.
The second lighthouse was built on the west side of the island in 1793 and was installed with 32 whale oil lamps and reflectors. These were replaced with 15 Argand lamps in 1826. Today the lighthouse has electric solar-powered lamps.
Little Cumbrae House
The 'big' house was originally the farm house of the island which Evelyn Stuart Parker enlarged shortly after buying Little Cumbrae. He also had a Red and Gold garden planted by the famed garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. The house was again altered in the late 1920s with the addition of the square tower and an upper floor.
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