Mother’s will gifts children £3m Scottish island

The Isle of Ulva is in the Inner Hebrides. Picture: Creative Commons
The Isle of Ulva is in the Inner Hebrides. Picture: Creative Commons
Share this article
Have your say

A WIDOW has gifted the £3 million Scottish island that she owned to her children in her will.

Jean Howard inherited the tiny isle of Ulva in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Mull, more than 30 years ago from her mother who bought it for just £10,000.


Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

She lived on the island, which has no roads, no cars, no hotels or restaurants, until her death aged 91 in February last year.

Her recently published will reveals she had a fortune of £3,908,703 million at the time of her death.

The island and its estate, which made up the bulk of her wealth, was valued at £3,135,000.

It has been bequeathed to her son Jamie, 57, who has acted as the island manager for 30 years, and daughter Rose.

The island has a population of less than 20 but has a regular ferry crossing to Mull and is a popular tourist destination.

It also has famous literary connections. Visitors to the island have included Beatrix Potter, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson and Walter Scott who used it as the inspiration for his poem Lord of the Isles.

Mrs Howard also had a stocks and shares portfolio worth more than £400,000 and a £150,000 life insurance policy.

Her household contents and jewellery from the house where she lived on the isle was valued at £3,250.

She had also had a Ford Fiesta car with 50,000 miles on the clock worth £600.

Gifts of £10,000 were left to her other son John, her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

She also left cash gifts totalling £11,000 to current and former residents on Ulva.

Mrs Howard inherited Ulva in the 1970s from her mother, Edith, Lady Congleton, granddaughter of Lord Strathcona.

She had bought it just after World War II for £10,000 with money from a fortune amassed by her grandfather, who had worked on the Pacific Railway in Canada.

Mrs Howard’s husband Henry Howard, who died in 2000, was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the army who previously owned the neighbouring island of Gometra.

In 2010, guests at former Army officer Jamie’s wedding on the island were told to bring their own tents to the nuptials.

He married radio presenter Tessa McGregor and their friends and relatives had to camp out as the island has no hotels and only a few houses.

Jamie has previously told how continuing to attract tourists is key to the island’s survival.

He said: “We could see that farming was becoming less and less viable every year and the leisure industry, we could see, was expanding.

“In the end we thought tourism was something we had to get on to as it was expanding.

“Ulva could lend itself to eco-tourism, people could come and enjoy the environment, we have got eagles and otters and we are very close to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles.”In the early 19th century, before the Highland Clearances, Ulva was home to some 600 people who made a living from the kelp industry.

It was the stronghold of the MacQuarries and Lachlan MacQuarrie, the last MacQuarrie chief to live on the island, claimed his clan had possessed Ulva since the ninth century.


• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use