Letters of the Marquesses of Bute

Scope and Content

The material is composed of: a letter from John Steuart (1744-1814), 4th Earl of Bute and 1st Marquess of Bute, to Mr. Chalmers, taking a stiff attitude in the matter of Counsel employed in the Rosehaugh Cause, 1800; a note signed by John Crichton-Steuart (1793-1848), 2nd Marquess of Bute, requesting that the bearer be allowed into the Gallery of the House of Lords, 1835, also a book-plate belonging to Sophia Frederica Christina Hastings, Marchioness of Bute and Countess of Dumfries, and a letter to Blagg, interesting himself in the apparent failure of the St. Albans Savings Bank, 1837; and, a letter, 1877, from John Patrick Crichton-Steuart (1847-1900), 3rd Marquess of Bute, to Mr. Grant, one portion of which refers to the burning down of his home, and Irish immigration, and an undated letter.

Administrative / Biographical History

The lineage of the Marquessate of Bute descends from both John Steuart, a son of King Robert II of Scotland, who around 1385 became Sheriff of a new County of Bute, Arran and Cumbrae, and from Sir Robert Crichton of Sanquar who was created Lord Crichton of Sanquar around 1488.

John Stuart, 4th Earl of Bute, was born on 30 June 1744. He became the 1st Marquess of Bute on 27 February 1796. He died in Geneva on 16 November 1814 and he was succeeded to the Marquessate by his grandson, John Crichton-Stuart. His son John, Lord Mount Stuart, born on 25 September 1767, had died on 22 January 1794.

John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute and 7th Earl of Dumfries, was born on 10 August 1793, and was only a year old on his father's death. He succeeded first to the Earldom of Dumfries at the age of ten and on the death of his maternal grandfather, Patrick, Earl of Dumfries, 7 April 1803, and then to the Marquessate in 1814 on the death of his paternal grandfather. He married firstly Maria (d. 1841), daughter of George Augustus, 3rd Earl of Guildford, in 1818, then secondly Sophia, daughter of the 1st Marquess of Hastings, in 1845. Their only son was John Patrick. The 2nd Marquess was Lord Lieutenant of Glamorganshire and the County of Bute. He was also Recorder of Banbury and Keeper of Rothesay Castle. John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute and 7th Earl of Dumfries , died on 18 March 1848.

John Patrick Crichton-Stuart (1847-1900), 3rd Marquess of Bute, was born on 12 September 1847. He married Gwendolen Mary Anne FitzAlan Howard, daughter of 1st Lord Howard of Glossop, in 1872. The 3rd Marquess was Hereditary Sheriff and Coroner of the County of Bute, Hereditary Keeper of Rothesay Castle, Lord Lieutenant of Buteshire, Lord Rector of St. Andrews University in 1892 and 1895, Mayor of Cardiff 1891, and Provost of Rothesay 1896-1899. John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, died on 9 October 1900.

The present head of the Bute family is Johnny Bute (b. 1958) who has been a successful motor racing champion. He had been British Formula 3 Champion in 1984 and then went on to drive in Formula 1 in the 1986 season winning, with Jaguar, the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1988. He succeeded to the Marquessate on the death of his father John Crichton-Stuart (1933-1993), 6th Marquess of Bute.

The hereditary home of the Marquesses of Bute is Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute. Since 1993, Johnny Bute has overseen, amongst other projects, the completion of the Chapel decoration scheme at Mount Stuart and other restoration projects.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Material purchased among miscellaneous letters of Scottish interest, E. Hall, May 1976, Accession no. E76.21, and E. Hall, later in 1976, Accession no. E76.32.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Burke, Sir Bernard. and Burke Ashworth P. A genealogical and heraldic history of the peerage and baronetage, the Privy Council, and knightage. 87th edition. London: Burke's Peerage Ltd., 1929.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show various references to material relating to the Marquesses of Bute (check the Indexes for more details): letter of John Steuart, 4th Earl and 1st Marquess, to Sir William Musgrave about the living in the parish of Luton, 1793, at Gen. 1952/2/6; franked postal cover from John Crichton-Steuart, 2nd Marquess, to J. Meek, 1836, at Dk.6.29/3; letters of John Patrick Crichton-Steuart, 3rd Marquess, to Sir W. Muir, 1891, at Dk.2.14, p.21, and to Sir C. J. Pearson, 1895, at gen. 756, no.64.

In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes several locations of material relating to the title-holders of the Marquessate of Bute.