THE LADY ISLE.
The Lady Isle
is part of the Fullarton Estate,
and as such, belongs to the Duke of Portland.
It is three miles from Troon, and makes a very
pleasant afternoon or evening sail. The Geo-
graphical Collections relating to Scotland, Vol.
1, p. 412/3 say, "The Lady Isle, which belongs
to the Earle of Dundonald by gift from one of
the Scottish Kings, lays west from Corsbie about
3 or 4 miles of sea, where is the mines of ane
old chapell with an excellent spring of water,
abounds with rabels, plenty of all sorts of water
foull and whyt fish in good store about it."
I very much doubt if there is
any truth in the
"old chapell", and the "spring of water".
There are no ruins to be seen; there are no
ruins mentioned in any other book and there
is no fresh water. I think the Lady Isle is first
mentioned in the title of William Fullarton of
that Ilk, in his Charter under the Great Seal by
King William III, dated 9th December, 169S,
which included "the five pound land of Aldtoun
containing the little isle, opposite the lands of
Corsbie, called the Lady-isle". Aldtoun was the
old town of Corsbie, and has been called Alton
for many years. However, if Crosbie included
the Lady Isle, as some authorities suggest, then
it must have been in the possession of the Fullar-
tons, from about the 14th Century. On examining
the Duke of Portlands title in the office of Messrs.
Melville & Lindsay, his disposition states "All
and whole the twenty pound lands of old
extent of Corsbie, whereof the little Isle lying
opposite to the said Lands called the Lady Isle,
lying in the West Sea, is part and pertinent, with
the Tower and fortalice of Corsbie".
It is very difficult to walk
on the Isle, as it is
covered with boulders and stones of all shapes
and sizes, so that it is quite easy to cripple
oneself if one walks carelessly. The Isle is about
one mile in circumference.
I have no real authority for
saying it, but one
of my Gaelic speaking friends suggests that the
name "Lady" is derived from the Gaelic word
meaning a "Ship's course", and this
could well be. Assuming no Ballast Bank and no
high buildings in Troon, which there weren't in
the old days, then it follows that as Troon is so
low lying it would be very difficult for a navigator
coming from seawards, to pick up Troon Point.
That the Lady Isle was important to navigators
is shown by the fact that in the 17th Century, the
Magistrates of Glasgow built two stone pillars
on the Isle, and getting these in line on the east
side of the Isle gave a good anchorage from a
North West gale. One of these pillars still stands
and is in excellent condition, but the lighthouse
is built on the site of the other pillar.
Statistical Account of Scotland of 1791,
under the Article on the Parish of Ayr, it con-
firms that the Isle is inhabited by rabbits, and it
also says that it is "supposed to afford good
anchoring ground on its east side, and therefore
has of late years had two pillars erected on it for
The Pillar on
the Lady Isle. The lighthouse is on the site of the other pillar.