On This Day: Fire at Mount Stuart

03 December 2017

The Mount Stuart we know and love today is the second house built for the Bute family on the island, the first, commissioned in 1716 by James Stuart 2nd Earl of Bute, burned down in a fire on 3rd December 1877.  The family were luckily not at home at the time and no one was injured.

The 3rd Marquess of Bute’s Coming of Age celebration with the Bute tenantry; only 9 years later, the fire broke out.

A Telegram from [ ] MacKinlay in Rothesay to the Thomas Hotel in Berkeley Square, London, where Lord Bute was staying on 3 December at 4.30 p.m., describes the scene:

‘Have just returned from Mount Stuart house…completely ruined…the wing with chapel just burst into flames…Pictures valuables plate & furniture saved…house not habitable…complete wreck.’ 

Although from the telegram it seems the fire started in the wing which houses the Burges Chapel this room was spared from the fire along with all the contents of the house and its façade. After the fire the 3rd Marquess made the decision not to rebuild the house as it was but to start afresh and create a neo-Gothic masterpiece with his architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson.

Mount Stuart after the fire