Bute History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient name Bute is a Norman name that would have been developed in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This name was a name given to a nickname for the Middle English word butt meaning "thicker end" or "stump," in other words a name for a thickset person. Alternatively the name could have been derived from the Middle English word "butt" or the Old French word "but" which both meant a target or mark for archery. In this latter case, the name would be ascribed to one who lived near archery butts or perhaps an archer. [1]

Saint Buite (d. 521), was the son of Bronach, and was descended from Tadhg, son of Cian, and therefore belonged to the Cianachta. "Buite, with sixty companions, set out for the country of the Picts of Scotland. Here King Nectan, whom he is reported to have raised from the dead, bestowed on him the castrum or fort in which he lived, and the memory of the gift is perpetuated in the name of the place Carbuddo (Cathair-Buiti), near Dun-Nechtain, now Dunnichen, in Forfar. Crossing over Scotland, he reached the Irish Sea, and embarking arrived at Dalriada, in the north of the county of Antrim, the territory of the Cruithni, or Picts of Ireland, of the same race as those among whom he had been labouring. Here having, we are told, raised the king's daughter from the dead, he received a gift of land, on which he built a church." [2]

Early Origins of the Bute family

The surname Bute was first found in the village named Butt in Normandy where William Bot was listed in 1195-1198 [3]. Another source claims the name was derived from "the name of several places in the arrondissement of Falaise." [4] The earliest records of the name in England include Robertus filius But who was listed in 1137 and Godlambus filius But who was listed in Norfolk in 1133-1160. [1] A few years later, Walter Botte was listed in Oxfordshire in the Rotulus Pipe Rolls in 1189 [3] and Roger But who was Viscount of Southampton in 1203 (Magn. Rotulus).

Much further to the north, the Isle of Bute is in the county of Bute, in the Frith of Clyde. [5]

Early History of the Bute family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bute research. Another 62 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1203, 1486, 1545, 1684, 1748, 1733, 1738, 1738 and 1748 are included under the topic Early Bute History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bute Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Bute were recorded, including Butt, But, Butte and others.

Early Notables of the Bute family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir William Butts (c.1486-1545), a member of King Henry VIII of England's court who served as the King's physician. Robert Butts (1684-1748), was bishop successively of Norwich 1733-1738, and of Ely 1738-1748...
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bute Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Bute family to Ireland

Some of the Bute family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Bute migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Bute arrived in North America very early:

Bute Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Bute, who arrived in Virginia in 1666 [6]
Bute Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Henry Bute, who is recorded as having landed in Philadelphia in 1819
  • George Henry Bute, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1819 [6]
  • Mateo Bute, who landed in America in 1827 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bute (post 1700) +

  • John Stuart Bute (1713-1792), Scottish statesman


The Bute Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Possunt quia posse videntur
Motto Translation: They conquer who believe they can


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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