This is an extract of a very long history of the island. Click on the link below to download full document.

(spelling below is exactly as published in 1864)

During the period of the occupation of the castle on the Little as a royal residence the Hunters were the custodiers till year 1515 (28th Oct), when Hugh Lord Eglinton who had already made keeper of Rothesay Castle and Justiciary of Bute Arran was appointed "fiar, correkar and supplear of the isle of Litill Comerey", to resist and punish those destroying "the wild and grand of the samin quhil the King's (James V) perfite age of fifteen years because Robert Huntare of Hunterstone, forester of heritage of the said isle, may nocht resist because he is nocht of substance and power without supplie and help", reserving certain rights to Hunter. This took place during the troubles consequent upon the death of John Hunter of Hunterston who was killed at the Battle of Flodden and when Robert was a minor.

Robert afterwards, however married Janet Montgomery and in 1527 procured a charter from James V, conferring upon him and his spouse the full posession of the island; but in 1532 Robert son and heir of William. Lord Semple got a feu charter of the King's land of Little Cumbray. That grant however was revoked by James V in 1534 when the property was again conferred upon Hunter confirming the grant formerly made to him; and shortly after he sold it to the Earl of Eglinton who made up his title on the resignation of Robert Hunter of Hunterston by a Crown charter from James V, 16th March 1535, and since that time it is said to have been possessed by his heirs and was occupied for a period of time by the Sheriff of Bute.

Upon the occasion, however of the marriage of Sir John Sempil of Beltrees at Holyrood on 5th March 1565, Mary Queen of Scots before her marriage with Darnley, among other grants to the young couple preparatory to their espousals, conveyed to them the isle of Little Cumbray in the Shire of Bute which grant passed the Great Seal. This matter was brought forward afterwards by the Regent Morton, who urged that the gift was null and void as Crown lands could not be alienated. Beltrees answered that it was a plain deed of gift under the Great Seal and could not be recalled.

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