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National Library of Wales
Bute Estate, records

Reference code(s): GB 0210 BUTE

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Bute Estate Records

Short Title: Bute Estate, records

Creation date(s): 1319-1936 (accumulated 1547-1936)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 6.046 cubic metres (500 boxes, 143 vols, 4 outsize rolls)

Name of creator(s): Bute estate


Administrative/Biographical history: John Stuart, lord Mountstuart (1767-1794), was the eldest of the seven sons and two daughters of the first marriage of John Stuart, 1st marquis of Bute (1744-1814), to Charlotte Jane, daughter and eventual sole heir of Herbert Hickman-Windsor, viscount Windsor. In 1792, Mountstuart married Elizabeth (1772-1797), the daughter of Patrick Mackdowall-Crichton, 6th earl of Dumfries (1729-1803), and heiress to about 64,000 acres in Ayrshire and Galloway. Mountstuart died in 1794, leaving a baby son, John Crichton-Stuart (1793-1848). John spent his infancy in the care of his mother and her parents at Dumfries House. After the death of his mother in 1797 and of his grandmother in 1799, Windsor, as he was then known, came into the charge of his grandfather Bute. When his grandfather Dumfries died in 1803, Windsor inherited his titles and lands. The Windsor estate and the titles were strictly settled, and passed to Dumfries on the death of his grandfather Bute in Geneva in 1814. However, the 2nd marquis was able to dispose of his substantial purchases as he pleased. Between 1780 and 1814, he had purchased lands with a rental of £1,415 in south Wales. The 1st marquis had left almost all of his personal estate to his second wife, with the remainder to her son, Lord Douglas Coutts Stuart; Bute bought back this estate for £32,000. His father having died before signing his will and marriage settlement, the 2nd marquis inherited almost all of his landed possessions in fee simple. On his marriage in 1818 to Maria North, he restricted his freedom by granting his estates in Wales and England to trustees. The marquis made further extensive purchases of land in Glamorgan. After the death of his wife, in 1845, he married Sophia, daughter of the 1st marquis of Hastings. When his wife was pregnant, Bute drew up an elaborate will bequeathing his Glamorgan estate to the heir of his body and placing two trustees in charge of it. Bute died in 1848, and it was under the powers in his will that the estate was to be administered during the long years of the 3rd marquis's minority. John, 3rd marquis of Bute (1847-1900), was an infant on the death of his father. His mother died in 1859, having recommended he become the joint guardianship of Lady Elizabeth Moore and General Charles Stuart. A quarrel regarding the guardianship arose and the boy was smuggled into Scotland. Following the dispute General Stuart was made sole guardian. Bute was received into the Catholic church in 1868, and in 1872 married Gwendoline, daughter of Edward Fitzalan Howard, first baron Howard of Glossop, linking the Stuarts with the most eminent Catholic house in Britain. He was president of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion from 1890 until his death. He redecorated Cardiff Castle and created Castell Coch. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the Bute estate spent £200,000 on land purchases in Glamorgan, and received a similar amount in land sales. The sale consisted of £159,323 received for the 57 acres of Cathays Park, and over £40,000 for land sold to railway companies and other public utilities. The 3rd marquis also received the Pwllypant estate from W. E. Williams as a bequest in 1870; he accepted the property and divided the personal estate amongst Williams's relations. Bute died in 1900, by which time the Glamorgan estate amounted to 22,000 acres. A number of the 3rd marquis's estates were divided among his children. The Glamorgan estate was divided unequally between John, 4th marquis (1881-1947) and Colum, the youngest son, who received most of the Bute property in the Vale of Glamorgan. During the 4th marquis's lifetime the Bute family lost a number of their interests in Glamorgan. This began with the sale of urban land in 1909, followed by the sale of the Bute collieries and, in 1923-1924, many of the farms and other freehold properties within the coalfields were sold. In 1922, the Bute docks and the Cardiff Railway Company were absorbed by the Great Western Railway. In 1926, the remaining Bute property was incorporated under a private family company called Mountjoy Ltd. In 1938 Mountjoy sold its leasehold interests to the Western Ground Rents Company, and in the same year, mineral reserves were nationalized. Therefore, the major departments of the estate administration had been extinguished before the Second World War. By Bute's death in 1947, his son's inheritance in the county consisted of no more than Cardiff Castle and Sophia Gardens. Later in 1947, John, 5th marquis (1907-1956), presented the castle and park to the city of Cardiff.


Scope and content/abstract: Records mainly of the Glamorgan estate of the marquesses of Bute and of their predecessors, the earls of Pembroke. These include letters, 1588-1855, including letters of the Herbert family of Cogan Pill, 1588-1719, but primarily the personal and estate correspondence of John, 2nd marquis of Bute, 1804-1855, (including letters relating to Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire (Kirtling: Lady Bute's property) and County Durham estates); deeds, [1319]-1937; surveys, 1570-1842; rentals of the Glamorgan estate, 1728-1893, and the Cardiff estate, 1842-1895, estate and manorial accounts, 1573-1873; manorial records and deeds of over seventy manors, mainly in Glamorgan, [?1373]-1847; family settlements, [early 17 cent.]-1902; family probate records, 1612-1900; legal and case papers, 1642-1921; correspondence of Alice, Lady Windsor, 1757-1776; a substantial number of copies of Acts of Parliament, relating mainly to Glamorgan roads, canals, docks and harbours, railways, public works and utilities, 1771-1928; and miscellaneous records. The archive illustrates the history of Glamorgan; the corporate life of the boroughs of Cardiff, Cowbridge and Llantrisant; the urbanization of the South Wales valleys, especially Merthyr Tudful and Aberdare; the Glamorgan Commission of the Peace; the county militia and yeomanry, 1815-1837; the development of the coal and other industries (it includes papers relating to minerals and ironworks, 16th-early 20th cent., accounts of coal shipped from Neath etc., 1626-1682, quarry and lime kiln accounts, 19th cent., Cardiff railway, dock and harbour papers and plans, 19th-20th cent.); labour and political unrest, including Chartism, Scotch Cattle, Rebecca riots and Truck wages; early trade unions; and the history of Cardiff castle, 16th-19th cent., including inventories, 1581, 1585, estimate of repairs, 1590, and plans of grounds.


Language/scripts of material: English, Latin

System of arrangement: The archive was preliminary arranged in 1955, based on the estate solicitor's lists of the contents. Part of the archive, including most of the manorial records, was later calendared on index cards and added to the preliminary schedule of the 1955 arrangement. An arrangement of the whole archive was completed in 1998, replacing the call numbers in the 1955 schedule. The archive is now arranged into the following groups: estate administration, manorial records, deeds, legal papers, Acts of Parliament, official records, schedules, books, artefacts and miscellaneous.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogue are available at NLW, HMC, the Glamorgan Record Office and Mount Stuart. The catalogue is also available online. Further details relating to manorial records within the archive are available on the Manorial Dovcuments Register, available online at


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at NLW have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited by John, 5th marquis of Bute, in July 1950.


Related material: Further papers relating to the Bute estate in Wales are Glamorgan Record Office, DA (Bute) and DB (Bute Glamorgan estates), and Cardiff Central Library, Bute Documents and Cardiff MSS (passim). Copies of the catalogues to all four collections are available on the open shelves at NLW; microfilm copies of most of the Cardiff MSS are also available at NLW. A further collection of letters, 1841-1845, of Lieutenant F. Dornford, dockmaster at the Bute docks, is Glamorgan Record Office, DXJO. Records of Scottish and English estates include Durham County Record Office, D/CG 6,19-20; Durham University Library, PD/CB Bute; Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Record Service, Z486; and a collection in the possession of the Bute family. The personal papers of the first marquis are in the Harrowby collection at Sandon Hall. Some estate maps are in NLW, Map Collections.

Publication note: Charles, B. G., 'Deposited collections, 24, The Marquess of Bute collection', National Library of Wales Journal, vol. vii (1951-52), pp. 246-58; Davies, John, Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute (Cardiff, 1981).


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Complied by Mair James. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Principal family and estate collections L-W (London, 1999); Davies, John, Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute (Cardiff, 1981); NLW, Schedule of Bute Estate Records.

Rules or conventions: This description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) Second Edition; AACR2; and LCSH.

Date(s) of descriptions: April 2001

Bute Estate (Wales) | Archives
Cardiff (Wales : Borough) | Records and correspondence
Cardiff Castle (Cardiff, Wales) | Records and correspondence
Chartism | Wales, south
Coal mines and mining | Wales | Glamorgan
Cowbridge (Wales: Borough) | Records and correspondence
Crichton-Stuart family, | Marquesses of Bute | Archives
Estate administration | Wales | Glamorgan
Harbours | Wales | Cardiff | Records and correspondence
Industrial Revolution | Wales | Glamorgan
Industrialization | England | Durham (County)
Industrialization | Wales | Glamorgan
Iron mines and mining | Wales | Glamorgan
Labour disputes | Wales, South
Llantrisant (Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales). | Borough | Archives
Manorial courts | Wales | Glamorgan
Manors | Wales | Glamorgan
North family, | of Kirtling | Archives
Railways | Wales | Cardiff
Rebecca Riots, 1839-1844
Trades unions | Discipline
Trades unions | Wales, South
Truck system | Wales | Glamorgan
Urbanization | Wales | Glamorgan

Personal names
Bute , John Crichton-Stuart , 1793–1848 , Marquess of
Crichton-Stuart family , Marquesses of Bute
Herbert family , Earls of Pembroke
Herbert family , of Cogan Pill
North family , of Kirtling , Cambridgeshire
Windsor , Alice , 1705-1776 , Lady Windsor
Windsor family , Barons Mountjoy

Corporate names
Bute Estate (Wales)
Cardiff (Wales : Borough)
Cardiff Castle (Cardiff, Wales)
Cogan Pill Estate (Wales)
Cowbridge (Wales : Borough)
Kirtling Estate (England)
Llantrisant (Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales : Borough)


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