Bute Family Timeline
The Stewards or Stewarts were an Anglo-Norman family who came to Scotland in the 11th century and took their name from the office of Hereditary Stewards to successive Scottish Kings. In the 18th century the Bute Family adopted the French spelling of the name – Stuart.
In 1315, Walter Steward, married Marjorie, daughter of King Robert the Bruce, and their son succeeded to the throne as Robert II, the first Stuart King in 1371. The Stuarts of Bute are thus directly descended from the victor of Bannockburn, as well as other Scottish monarchs including Margaret, the only Scottish Queen to be canonised.
Robert II is said to have fathered at least 21 children, including Sir John Stewart (died circa 1449) who was created Sheriff of Bute and Arran in around 1385.
In September 1498 Ninian Stewart, Sheriff of Bute (died around 1539) was made Hereditary Captain and Keeper of the strategically important Royal Castle of Rothesay by King James IV - a key appointment in the King’s power struggle against ‘The Lords of The Isles’.
In 1603 King James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth I to the English throne thus uniting the crowns of the two kingdoms. John Stewart, Sheriff of Bute (died circa 1612) serves as his Gentlemen of the Bedchamber.
Sir James Stewart, Sheriff of Bute, is made a Baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia in 1627. He married Grizel Campbell, daughter of Sir Dugall Campbell of Auchinbrek in around 1635.
Sir James Stewart, Sheriff of Bute (died 1710) was created 1st Earl of Bute in 1703. He was a member of the last independent Scottish Parliament and was opposed to the Union between Scotland and England in 1707. His first wife – Agnes, daughter of the infamous judge Sir George Mackenzie, or ‘Bluidy Mackenzie’ on account of the amount of criminals he sent to the gallows – predeceased him and he subsequently married Christian Dundas.
James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Bute (died 1723) married Anne Campbell, only daughter of the 1st Duke of Argyll in 1711. They built the original Mount Stuart in 1716.
John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-1792), became the first Scottish Prime Minister of Britain in 1762 and is a major figure in the reign of King George III. A patron of artists and architects, as well as being a skilled botanist, he eloped with and married Lady Mary Wortley-Montague, daughter of the famous writer of the same name, in 1736.
Sir Charles Stuart (youngest son of the 3rd Earl of Bute) and Lord Moira (later the 1st Marquess of Hastings - grandfather of the 3rd Marquess of Bute) are both officers commanding units of the British Forces during the American War of Independence, 1775.
John Stuart, 4th Earl of Bute (1744-1814) was created 1st Marquess of Bute in 1796. He married Charlotte Windsor (1746-1800), heiress to an extensive estate in South Wales, in 1766.
John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute (1793-1848) succeeds to the title after the death of his grandfather in 1814. The 2nd Marquess (whose own father, Viscount Mount Stuart, died in a horse riding accident in 1794) adopted the additional surname of Crichton in 1805 after inheriting the Earldom of Dumfries from his mother, Penelope Crichton.
The 2nd Marquess of Bute was one of the great figures of the Industrial Revolution, opening the first Bute Dock in Cardiff in 1839. The subsequent growth of Cardiff – which became the largest coal port in the world and eventually the capital of Wales – was remarkable and led to the 2nd Marquess being nicknamed ‘the creator of modern Cardiff’.
John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute (1847-1900). Scholar, heraldist, linguist, theologian, archaeologist and the greatest individual architectural patron of the age. Amongst his numerous building projects were the restoration of Falkland Palace in Fife, Bute Hall at the University of Glasgow, and the creation of three of the finest of all the Gothic Revival masterpieces: Cardiff Castle, Castell Coch and Mount Stuart.
John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute (1881-1947). A great collector and artistic patron, he inherited his father’s passion for building and was responsible for the restoration of Caerphilly Castle in Wales and Robert Adam’s north side of Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. He became the largest foreign landowner in Morocco and purchased other properties in Spain, Gibraltar and South America. He was also “the man who sold a city” when he disposed of his estate in Cardiff and surrounding area in 1938.
Amongst the casualties in the First World War (1914–1918) was Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart, brother of the 4th Marquess, who was killed at the Battle of Loos in October 1915. A Member of Parliament for Cardiff he is still remembered in the city where he is commemorated with a statue and in the name of the former home of Cardiff City FC, Ninian Park.
John Crichton-Stuart, 5th Marquess of Bute (1907-1956), was a keen ornithologist and purchased St Kilda in the 1930s after the last inhabitants had left this remarkable island group. St Kilda was later gifted to the National Trust of Scotland and is today recognised as a World Heritage Site.
John, Earl of Dumfries, later the 5th Marquess of Bute, serves as an officer in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. After the war he established the company that would later become Bute Fabrics in order to give employment to demobbed service personnel.
The 5th Marquess gifts Cardiff Castle to the City of Cardiff in 1947.
John Crichton-Stuart, 6th Marquess of Bute (1933-1993), was a major figure in Scottish public life. He served as Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland for 15 years and was a key figure in the creation of the Museum of Scotland. An inspirational patron of artists and designers he began the restorations that saw the rejuvenation of Mount Stuart as we see it today.
The present head of the family is John Bute, 7th Marquess of Bute, who - as Johnny Dumfries - enjoyed a successful career in motor racing. In 1984 he was British Formula 3 champion and runner up in the European Formula 3 championship. He drove for JPS Team Lotus in Formula 1 during the 1986 season. In 1988, he won the 24 hours of Le Mans for Silk Cut Team Jaguar - one of the great British sporting achievements of the decade. Driven off the track too he has, alongside his siblings Anthony and Sophie Crichton-Stuart, directed Mount Stuart, the Bute Estate and the other family business interests forward into the 21st century.