John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess Of Bute


  • Richest of the Rich position: 147
  • Birth/Death: 1847-1900
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £4.609m
  • Net National Income: £1.075bn
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.42%
  • In Today’s Money: £4.661 billion

Though he was described as ‘the richest man in the world’ in the nineteenth century, this was not quite accurate. He may not have been the Bill Gates of his day, but the huge coal seams in Wales and Ayrshire certainly made the Butes enormously wealthy. The 2nd Marquess, described as the ‘maker of modern Cardiff’ died suddenly in 1847 of a heart attack, leaving his huge inheritance to his six-month old son, who became the 3rd Marquess.

With a passion for history and antiquarianism, he was later to use his coal revenues to transform the Georgian Cardiff Castle, one of his residences, from 1865 onwards into a medieval-style nobleman’s home. Among his treasures was an elaborate bed, richly sculpted and inlaid with minerals, which was recently discovered after disappearing in 1949. Bute’s total acreage in 1882 was computed at 116,668 by Bateman in ‘The Great Landowners of Great Britain’.

He died in 1900, leaving just over £2m in his will. But at the time Bateman did his work, his total land and personal wealth was around £4.6m, representing 0.42% of the then £1.075bn net national income. Today’s equivalent would be over £4.6bn.

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