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Mount Stuart Castle

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Mount Stuart House, site of the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Isle of Bute
Mount Stuart House, site of the 2014 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on the Isle of Bute

Mount Stuart House is a Neo-Gothic country house with extensive gardens located on the east coast of the Isle of Bute, Scotland that took 20 years to build. It has been described as an architectural masterpiece and one of the world's great houses and site of the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, the 2014 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and the 2014 WOWSA Awards. Mount Stuart was designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson for the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the late 1870s, to replace an earlier house by Alexander McGill, which burnt down in 1877.


The house is the seat of the Stuarts of Bute, derived from the hereditary office "Steward of Bute" held since 1157. The family are direct male-line descendants of John Stewart, the illegitimate son of King Robert II of Scotland, the first Stuart King, by his mistress, Moira Leitch. By virtue of this descent, they are also descendants of Robert the Bruce, whose daughter Marjorie was mother of Robert II by her marriage to Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland.


The original house was built in 1719 by the 2nd Earl of Bute, but rebuilt by the 3rd Marquess of Bute following a fire on 3 December 1877. After his earlier creations of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch in Cardiff, the Marquess imported many of the builders and workman he had already used in South Wales. The main part of the present house is a flamboyant example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture built in a reddish brown stone. Mount Stuart's major features include the colonnaded Marble Hall at the centre of the main block and the Marble Chapel, which has an elaborate spired tower which is the tallest part of the building (not visible on photo right). Two earlier wings in a strikingly different style survive. They are much smaller in scale, have Georgian style sash windows and are painted white.

Much of the furniture was custom-designed for the house by Robert Weir Schultz in the early years of the 20th century. He also laid out many sections of the gardens.

The Mount Stuart House contains the world's first heated pool in any house and was the first home in Scotland to be lit by electricity.

During the First World War the house was volunteered by the Augusta Lady Bute to the Admiralty for use as a Naval Hospital. The hospital operated from 1915–1919 and the Lord and Lady Bute were recognized by the Admiralty for their generous contributions.

Present day[edit]

A major programme of renovation and refurbishment was carried out by the late 6th Marquess By various contractors including Master-stonemasons Bob Thompson - Leith Masonry Ltd before the house was opened to the public in 1995. The incumbent 7th Marquess of Bute, known as Johnny Bute, opened an award-winning contemporary visitor centre in 2001 that tells the story of the family and estate. The grounds and interiors host a programme of contemporary visual arts from May to September.

The Gardens[edit]

The gardens were recently voted one of the top ten in the world. They reflect a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry. The formal areas exude a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape, while the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world.


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