The Stuart of Bute's are descended from Sir John Stewart, natural son of King Robert II. He was known as The Black Stewart to distinguish him from his half-brother, Sir John Stewart of Dundonald, who was called The Red Stewart. The Black Stewart was heritable Sheriff of Bute about 1385. Sir James Stuart was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1627. In 1703 the 3rd Baronet was elevated as Earl of Bute. The 4th Earl was created Marquis of Bute in 1796.