The Stuarts of Bute are the descended from Sir John Stewart, born between 1345 and 1390. Sir
John Stewart was the son of Robert II of Scotland. He was known as ‘The Black Stewart’, some
say due to his dark complexion or because his brother, John of Dundonald was known as ‘The
Red Stewart’. The lands of Bute, Arran and Cumbrae were made into a county by Robert III and
Sir John was made hereditary sheriff to the lands, as set out in a Royal Charter of 1400.
James Stewart was sheriff of Bute between 1445 and 1449, being succeeded by his brother
William, who was also keeper of Brodick Castle on Arran.
William’s grandson was Ninian Stewart, inheriting the title of sheriff and was named the
inherited captain and keeper of the royal Castle of Rothesay in 1498. The honor is still held by
the family to this day and is represented in the Coat of Arms.
In 1539, James, Ninian’s son was named his successor, who was then succeeded by his own son
John in 1570. John was Commissioner for Bute as well as being sheriff. He was known for
attending Parliament in Edinburgh under this title. Around this same time the family adopted the
French spelling of the name ‘Stuart’, which was introduced by Mary, Queen of Scots.
Sir James Stuart of Bute was made a Privy Councilor under the reign of Queen Anne and became
Earl of Bute, Viscount Kingarth and Lord Mount Stuart, Cumra and Inchmarnock in 1703. He
was also named Commissioner for Trade and Police in Scotland and Lord Lieutenant of Bute. In
1715 he was promoted to commander of the Bute and Argyll militia at Inveraray.
The third Earl of Bute, John Stewart, was actually the friend and the tutor to Prince George.
When the young Prince became George III, John was made a Privy Councilor and First Lord of
the Treasury. In 1763 he finalized a treaty with France, bringing the Seven Year’s War to an end.
John Stewart’s successor, John Crichton-Stuart became Earl of Bute in 1792 and 2nd Marquess
of Bute. He went on to build and establish the docklands in located Cardiff and after the Bute
Docks opened in 1839, soon after this Cardiff became one of the world’s largest coal ports.
The 3rd Marquess, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart worked with the architect William Burgess on
the extensive repair of Castle Coch and Cardiff Castle.
The 7th Marquess and current Chief is Johnny Bute, who is also known as Johnny Dumfries,
enjoyed a successful career as racing driver. You may know his name from winning the Le Mans
The clan “home” or established seat of Stuart of Bute is at Mount Stuart. This is a beautiful
gothic mansion which was rebuilt by the 3rd Marquess in the 19th century after being heavily
damaged by fire in 1877.