The Second Marquess of Bute was John Crichton-Stuart. He was born at Dumfries House, Ayrshire in 1793 and died at Cardiff Castle in 1848. He was a great landowner, owning over 100,000 acres of land. This land was mainly in Scotland but including large estates in Glamorgan, where he owned the Cardiff Castle estate.
Bute was 10 years old when he inherited the estates of his maternal grandfather, Lord Dumfries. At the age of 21, he succeeded his paternal grandfather, the First Marquess of Bute.
In 1818 he married Maria, the daughter of the third earl of Guildford. She, along with her two sisters, was co- heiress of her father’s estates. She was childless when she died in 1841, and in 1845 he married Sophia Frederica Christina Hastings. They had one son who became the Third Marquess of Bute.
Bute was famed as a passionate improver of his estates, and was deeply interested in land improvement and economic development. It was on his Glamorgan estates that this was most evident. Here he took steps to encourage the development of the South Wales coalfield that lay under much of his land. Bute realised this wealth mainly thought leasing the mineral rights. In order to charge as much as possible for the leases, he invested in the facilities necessary for the successful exploitation of the mineral deposits. These included railway lines and, most importantly, the dock facilities in Cardiff. The first of five Bute docks opened in 1839.
The docks contributed to the rapid growth of Cardiff in the nineteenth century. From 6,342 in 1801, when it was the 25th largest town in Wales, Cardiff’s population soared during the nineteenth century. By 1871 it had become the largest town in Wales with a population of 71,301. The Second Marquess was widely hailed as its creator.