Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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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 .

William Herbert ,

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 m., 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, d. in 1814 . His eldest son, John , lord Mountstuart , having d. in 1794 , he was succeeded by his grandson, John , 2nd marquess of Bute , who was b. 10 Aug. 1793 .

JOHN ( 1793 - 1848 ), 2nd marquess of Bute , ‘the creator of modern Cardiff,’ 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 cent. ; the commercial prosperity of the town was greatly accelerated as the result of the opening, 5 Oct. 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 d. suddenly at Cardiff castle , 18 March 1848 , and was succeeded by his son, JOHN PATRICK CRICHTON STUART ( 1847 - 1900 ), 3rd marquess of Bute , whose 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 d. 9 Oct. 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 Oct. 1900 .

The 3rd marquess was succeeded by JOHN , 4th marquess of Bute ( 1881 - 1947 ); b. 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 , d. 25 April 1947 .

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


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • The Annual Register a record of world events (Harlow) , 221;
  • Cardiff A Commercial and Industrial Centre (1910) ;
  • NLW MSS 6583, 6591, 6598-6600;
  • John P. Grant , Cardiff Castle Its History and Architecture (Cardiff, 1923) ;
  • J. Ballinger , ed., Cardiff An Illustrated Handbook (Cardiff, 1896) .


Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959