New documentary to examine the 3rd Marquess of Bute - the Richest Scot in the Empire

Andrew MacLean, the family historian for the Marquesses of Bute, at their ancestral home Mount Stuart.
Andrew MacLean, the family historian for the Marquesses of Bute, at their ancestral home Mount Stuart.

The BBC will broadcast a documentary this week based on one of Bute’s most famous sons - the 3rd Marquess of Bute.

The Richest Scot in the Empire, broadcast at 9pm on Thursday on BBC Two, will explore the life and ambitions of the 3rd Marquess, John Patrick Crichton Stuart.

John Patrick Crichton Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute.

John Patrick Crichton Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute.

As the title suggests, Stuart was among the wealthiest men in the world, with an annual income of £150,000 (the equivalent of about £15m today).

He used his vast wealth, much of it inherited from the industrialist 2nd Marquess, to pursue his numerous and varied interests, especially architecture.

The documentary, presented by Phyllis Logan, will examine the world of Lord Bute and the connections between Cardiff, where the 2nd Marquess built his fortune, and Bute, the seat of his family’s power.

John Patrick Crichton Stuart was born at the family’s ancestral home Mount Stuart in 1847, and he inherited the title of Marquess - and a vast fortune - at only six months old when his father the 2nd Marquess died.

In his 53 years of life, Bute went on to make an impact on the worlds of religion, the occult, linguistics, philanthropy and architecture, with his legacy on Bute being the Gothic Mount Stuart house that still stands today.

After transforming Cardiff Castle alongside architect William Burges, he set about rebuilding the house he was born in after it was destroyed in a fire in 1877.

His own designs played a large part in the new imposing Gothic palace, and though the full cost has never been revealed, it was rumoured to be the first £1m house in Scotland.

Mount Stuart remains an architectural showpiece, and this week’s documentary will examine this and numerous other aspects of the Marquess’ relatively short but eventful life.