Work starts on historic Bute Mausoleum restoration

The Bute Family Mausoleum, located in Rothesay Cemetery, in the grounds of the United Church of Bute.
The Bute Family Mausoleum, located in Rothesay Cemetery, in the grounds of the United Church of Bute.

A major conservation project on one of Bute’s most historic buildings got under way on Monday.

Work on the Bute Family Mausoleum at the former High Kirk - now the United Church of Bute - in Rothesay is expected to last some six weeks.

The mausoleum’s historical significance stretches far beyond the shores of Bute; the fact that it is the final resting place of the 3rd Earl of Bute – the first Scottish Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – makes it of national importance.

John Stuart, who lived from 1713 to 1792, served as Prime Minister under George III from 1762 to 1763. He was the first Scottish Prime Minister following the Acts of Union in 1707.

The mausoleum was built for the Bute family, but following the construction of Mount Stuart, the Family (Shore) Chapel superseded the Mausoleum as the final resting place of the Butes. It is intended that the Chapel will undergo a similar restoration programme in the very near future.

Alistair McIntyre, head of buildings and facilities at the Mount Stuart Trust, said: “This late 18th century building has long been recognised as being of national historical significance, and this comprehensive programme of works will ensure that it is preserved for the foreseeable future.

“The extensive conservation and stabilisation works to be undertaken over the next few weeks will include stone, render and roof repairs, with the specialist conservation contractors and local sub contractors paying particular attention to the original architecture and detailing throughout the structure.

“The mausoleum has for some time been the subject of restoration proposals, and after extensive consultation with conservation architect Brian Park of Page\Park, Mount Stuart Trust is very pleased to embark upon this important conservation project.”

Glasgow architects Page\Park are also responsible for the design of Mount Stuart Trust’s Masterplan Phase 2.

Once the project has been completed, the mausoleum will be removed from Historic Scotland’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register.