Clan Stuart of Bute

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Clan Stuart of Bute
Clan member crest badge - Clan Stuart of Bute.svg
Motto Nobilis Est Ira Leonis (The Lions Anger is Noble)[1]
Region Highland
District Argyll
Plant badge Unknown
Blason John Stuart de Bute (1713–1792).svg
John Crichton-Stuart
7th Marquess of Bute[1]
Seat Rothesay, Argyll and Bute

Clan Stuart of Bute is a Highland Scottish clan and is a branch of the larger Clan Stewart.[2]


Origins of the clan

The Stewards or seneschals of Dol in Brittany came to Scotland through England when David I of Scotland returned in 1124 to claim his throne.[2] In Scotland they rose to high rank, becoming High Stewards of Scotland.[2] Through a marriage to Marjory, daughter of king Robert the Bruce, the Stewarts acquired the throne of Scotland when David II of Scotland, only son of Robert the Bruce died.[2]

Robert Stewart who reigned as Robert II of Scotland gave to his younger son, John, the Isle of Bute, the Isle of Arran and the Isle of Cumbrae.[2] The king conferred these lands into a county and made his son the sheriff.[2] This was confirmed in a charter by Robert III of Scotland in 1400.[2]

15th century

James Stewart was sheriff of Bute between 1445 and 1449.[2] He was succeeded by his son, William, who was also keeper of Brodick Castle on Arran.[2] His son was Ninian Stewart who was confirmed in the office of sheriff of Bute as well as the lands of Ardmaleish, Greenan, the Mill of Kilcatten and also Corrigillis.[2] Ninian Stewart was created hereditary captain and keeper of Rothesay Castle on Bute in 1498 by James IV of Scotland, an honour still held by the family today, and shown in their coat of arms.[2]

16th century

Ninian Stewart married three times.[2] In 1539 he was succeeded by his son James Stewart.[2] James suffered during the feud between the Earl of Arran who was regent of Scotland and the Earl of Lennox.[2] James Stewart was succeeded by his son, John, who attended the Parliament in Edinburgh as the Commissioner for Bute.[2] The family favoured the spelling of the name as Stuart, which was introduced by Mary, Queen of Scots, and is still used by the present chiefs.[2]

17th century and Civil War

Rothesay Castle was held by the chiefs of the Clan Stuart of Bute in the 15th century and during the Scottish Civil War of the 17th century.

In 1627 Sir James Stuart of Bute was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I of England.[2] During the early part of the Scottish Civil War he garrisoned Rothesay Castle and raised soldiers for the king at his own expense.[2] Stuart was appointed royal lieutenant for the west of Scotland.[2] He decided to take possession of Dumbarton Castle but two frigates that were sent to assist fell foul of stormy weather, with one being completely wrecked.[2] As a result Sir James Stuart was forced to flee to Ireland.[2] When Oliver Cromwell was victorious Sir James was forced to pay a substantial fine to redeem his estates that had been sequestrated.[2]

Sir James Stuart's grandson was another James Stuart who upon the forfeiture of the Earl of Argyll in 1681, was appointed as colonel of the local militia.[2] This James Stuart supported the accession of William of Orange and his wife, Queen Mary Stuart.[2]

18th century and Jacobite risings

During the reign of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, James Stuart was made a Privy Councillor and a commissioner for the negotiation of Treaty of Union.[2] He was created Earl of Bute in 1703 as well as Viscount Kingarth and Lord Mount Stuart, Cumra and Inchmarnock.[2] However by 1706 the earl was convinced that a union with England would not work and withdrew his support when he realised that Parliament would vote in favour of the alliance.[2] Stuart married the eldest daughter of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh.[2]

After the succession of George I of Great Britain, James Stuart, 2nd Earl of Bute, was appointed as Commissioner for Trade and Police in Scotland, Lord Lieutenant of Bute and also lord of the bedchamber.[2] During the Jacobite rising of 1715 he commanded the Bute and Argyll militia and kept that part of the country peaceful.[2]

John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute was a tutor to Prince George and when the prince became George III, the Earl of Bute was made a Privy Councillor, First Lord of the Treasury and eventually Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1762. [2][3] He concluded a treaty with France in 1763 which brought to an end the Seven Years' War.[2] He was succeeded by his son, John Lord Mount Stuart who married the heiress of Patrick Crichton, Earl of Dumfries.[2] In 1796 his rank as Earl of Bute was advanced to Marquess of Bute.[2]

Modern history

John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute was a noted industrialist who is largely responsible for developing the docks in Cardiff to rival those in Liverpool.[2] By 1900 Cardiff had become the greatest coal port in the world.[2] John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute rebuilt Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle as tributes to the high art of the Middle Ages.[2]

Clan chief

The present chief of the Clan Stuart of Bute is John Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute who is better known as the racing driver, Johnny Dumfries.[2] He succeeded his father, John Crichton-Stuart, 6th Marquess of Bute who had a passion for Scottish heritage, received a knighthood for his efforts before he died in 1993[2]

Clan castles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Clan Stuart Profile Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 Way, George and Squire, Romily. Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). Published in 1994. Pages 330 - 331.

See also