BUTE, marquesses of Bute, Cardiff Castle, etc.

This note will concern itself only with the Welsh associations of this influential family, whose main seat is in the Island of Bute, Scotland.


The son and heir of Richard Herbert of Ewyas, by Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir Matthew Cradock of Swansea, was created baron Herbert of Cardiff and earl of Pembroke in 1551. The Herberts earls of Pembroke (of the second creation) accumulated large estates and wielded great power in Wales; for details see the article Herbert, earls of Pembroke (second creation). The first two earls were presidents of the Council in Wales and the Marches, and their successors held seats on the Council. The 4th earl was also earl of Montgomery and thereafter the two titles continued together. The family also had the estates of the abbey of Wilton in Wiltshire. After the Restoration their interest and influence in Wales declined. Much of their Welsh property was sold, and the remainder passed to THOMAS, 1st viscount Windsor (1699) and baron Mountjoy (1712), second son of the 1st earl of Plymouth (1682), upon his marriage to Charlotte, the only child of the 7th earl of Pembroke (and Montgomery), and widow of the 2nd baron Jeffreys. Viscount Windsor sold some of the family's Monmouthshire lordships, but the Glamorgan estates descended to his granddaughter, CHARLOTTE JANE, co-heiress of the 2nd viscount. She married, 1766, JOHN, LORD MOUNTSTUART (1744 - 1814), son and heir of the 3rd earl of Bute, who was prime minister from 1762 to 1763. In 1776 lord Mountstuart was created baron Cardiff of Cardiff Castle, and, in 1796, viscount Mountjoy, earl of Windsor, and marquess of Bute.

The 1st marquess, who had begun to renovate Cardiff castle in order to make it more habitable, died in 1814. His eldest son, John, lord Mountstuart, having died in 1794, he was succeeded by his grandson, John, 2nd marquess of Bute, who was born 10 August 1793.

JOHN 2nd Marquess of Bute (1793 - 1848), 'the creator of modern Cardiff'

He was educated at Eton and Christ's College, Cambridge (M.A. 1812). He was lord lieutenant of Glamorgan. He is the lord Bute who had so much to do with the rapid growth, commercial and otherwise, of Cardiff and surrounding districts during the first half of the 19th century; the commercial prosperity of the town was greatly accelerated as the result of the opening, 5 October 1839, of the first (i.e. the West) Bute Dock. (The East Bute Dock, opened in 1859, the Roath Basin, 1874, and the Roath Dock, 1887, belong to the period of his successor). Lord Bute was F.R.S., F.S.A., and F.R.A.S.; he was also vice-president of the Royal Cambrian Institution.

The 2nd marquess died suddenly at Cardiff castle, 18 March 1848, and was succeeded by his son

JOHN PATRICK CRICHTON STUART 3rd marquess of Bute (1847 - 1900)

His career is described in the D.N.B. He was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford. He became mayor of Cardiff, 1890, president of Cardiff University College, 1890, and was in many other ways closely identified with the cultural life and commercial prosperity of Cardiff. He was a president of the national eisteddfod held at Rhyl, 1892. A man of scholarly tastes, he was the author of an English translation of the ' Breviary,' 1879, with numerous historical and critical notes; On the ancient language of Teneriffe (London, 1891); and, with J. R. N. Macphail and H. W. Lonsdale, of The Arms of the Royal and Parliamentary Burghs, 1897; he was also the translator of Seven Essays on Christian Greece, by D. Bikelas, 1890. He was responsible for much excavation, restoration, and rebuilding at Cardiff castle. He died 9 October 1900. Fuller details relating to his connection with Cardiff and South Wales are given in a long obituary notice in the South Wales News for 10 October 1900.

The 3rd marquess was succeeded by

JOHN, 4th marquess of Bute (1881 - 1947)

Born 20 June 1881. In his time much restoration work was done at Cardiff castle and at Caerphilly castle, another Bute possession. He disposed of the greater part of his South Wales estate in 1938. The 4th marquess, who, like his father, was a Knight of the Thistle, died 25 April 1947.

The collection of Glamorgan manorial and other records accumulated by the family is now at the N.L.W.


Published date: 1959

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