Scottish Philanthropy Snippet – John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute

Thursday 28 February 2019

John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute (1847-1900)

Background: Influential Victorian patron and philanthropist John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, was born on 12th September 1847. Continuing a long line of noblemen, politicians and industrialists, his family’s wealth originated from a combination of marriages and industries: his great-great grandfather John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, married the heiress Lady Mary Wortley; his great grandfather John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute married two heiresses, Honourable Charlotte Hickman-Windsor and subsequently Frances Coutts, daughter of Thomas Coutts the founder of banking house Coutts & Co; while his father, John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute, invested heavily in industrial developments in Cardiff.

Image: John Patrick Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquis of Bute.

While John Patrick inherited his Marquessate along with the family fortunes and estates at the young age of six months, he only took full control in 1868, when he turned 21. At that point, he became the wealthiest man in Britain, with an annual income of £300,000 (equivalent to nearly £40 million today).

Philanthropy: Throughout his life, John Patrick used his family wealth to fund various religious, scholarly, political and architectural interests in Scotland and Wales.

In 1892, he was elected Rector of the University of St Andrews, a post he held till 1898. In charge of overseeing the management of the University and serving as the President of the University Court, he strongly encouraged the acceptance and advancement of women at the University, particularly in the sciences, and paid for the appointment of the University’s first female lecturer. Alongside, he gave £1,000 towards the construction of a Union building, initiated construction of the Bute Medical building, and personally endowed the Bute Chair of Anatomy (now the Bute Chair of Medicine) to improve medical education.

Beyond St Andrews, John Patrick paid for the restoration of Dunblane Cathedral and Falkland Palace. At the University of Glasgow, he gifted the funds for the completion of Bute Hall. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, this was originally decorated on the basis of Marquess of Bute heraldic colours of red, blue, silver and gold. Constructed between 1878 and 1884, the Hall cost an estimated £70-80,000 to build and continues to be used for examinations, graduations and other university events. Working with renowned Victorian architect and designer William Burges, he also restored and remodelled Cardiff Castle and Cardiff Coch, both regarded as two of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. In total, it is estimated that he funded over 60 major building projects by a dozen architects.


Bute Medical School – Image based on a photo by Emma Dickson and Steph Haywood
John Patrick Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquis of Bute – Photo taken by George Rodger Berwick, 1895,


Cant, R.G. (2002) The University of St Andrews: a short history, St Andrews: Strathmartine Trust.
Hannah, R. (2012) The Grand Designer: Third Marquess of Bute, Edinburgh: Birlinn.
Rawson, H. (2012) 600 years in the making: highlights from the museum collections of the University of St Andrews, Oxford: Shire Publications Ltd.
Wintersgill, D. (2008) The rectors of St Andrews University, 1859-2005, Edinburgh: Dunedin.
University of Glasgow (2015) The University of Glasgow Story: Bute Hall. [Online] Available at:

Drawing on findings from our How Philanthropy shapes Scotland project, our monthly Scottish Philanthropy Snippet explores the spectrum of people, places and practices that have contributed to the history of philanthropy in Scotland.

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