The Stewart family records its traditional descent from Banquo, Thane of Lochaber, who makes an appearance as a character in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Historically, however, the family appears to be descended from a mediaeval family who were seneschals of Dol in Brittany, the earliest recorded being Flaald.
They acquired lands in England after the Norman conquest, and moved to Scotland with many other Anglo-Norman families when David I ascended to the throne of Scotland. The family was granted extensive estates in Renfrewshire and in East Lothian and the office of High Steward of Scotland was made hereditary in the family.
Walter, the son of Alan or Fitz-alan was the founder of the royal family of Stewarts. He was the first of the family to establish himself in Scotland. Walter’s elder brother called William was the progenitor of the family of Fitzalan who were the Earls of Arundel. Their father who was a Norman married soon after the Norman Conquest. He married the daughter of Warine, sheriff of Shropshire. He acquired the manor of Ostvestrie or Oswestry on the Welsh border. On the death of King Henry I of England in 1135 Walter and William supported the claims of Empress Maud and in doing so raised themselves high in the favour of her uncle King David I of Scotland.
Alexander Stewart had two sons, James and John. The elder, James would succeed Alexander as chief of the clan. During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Stewart gave much support to King Robert the Bruce. Alexander’s second son, known as Sir John Stewart of Bonkyll, was killed at the Battle of Falkirk (1298), fighting in support of William Wallace.
Alexander’s second son, John, who was killed at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 had seven sons. The eldest was Sir Alexander who was the ancestor to the Stewarts who were Earls of Angus. The second son was Sir Alan of Dreghorn whose family became the Earls and Dukes of Lennox. The third son was Walter whose family were the Earls of Galloway. The fourth son was Sir James whose family were the Earls of Atholl, Earl of Buchan and Earl of Traquair. The fifth son Sir John Stewart was killed at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333. The sixth son Sir Hugh Stewart fought in Ireland under Edward Bruce, the younger brother of King Robert the Bruce. The seventh son was Sir Robert Stewart of Daldowie (NOT the Lanarkshire Daldowie).
James Stewart, the eldest son of Alexander Stewart, succeeded as the fifth high steward in 1283. On the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, James Stewart was one of six magnates of Scotland chosen to act as regents of the kingdom. James died in the service of Robert the Bruce in 1309. James’s son Walter became the sixth high steward. This Walter Stewart at the age of just twenty-one years commanded the left wing of the Scottish army, along with Sir James Douglas at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Robert the Bruce and his wife Isabella’s only child, Marjorie Bruce, married Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland (1293–1326), and from him the Royal House of Stewart are descended.
A chief of the Clan Stewart Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland married Marjorie Bruce daughter of King Robert the Bruce, this began the Royal House of Stewart. Walter Stewart’s son called Robert the seventh lord-high steward had been declared heir to the throne of Scotland in 1318. However the birth of a son to Robert the Bruce in 1326 interrupted Robert Stewart’s prospects for a time. Robert Stewart received from his grandfather large amounts of land in Kintyre. During the long and disastrous reign of King David II of Scotland, Robert Stewart acted a patriotic part in the defense of the kingdom. On the death of King David II without issue on 22 February 1371 Robert Stewart, at the age of fifty five, succeeded to the crown of Scotland as King Robert II of Scotland. He was the first of the Stewart family to ascend to the throne of Scotland.
The royal line of male Stewarts continued uninterrupted until the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary’s son James VI and descendents, monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland from 1603 to 1714, continued to use the surname Stuart as they were descended from Mary’s second husband, Henry Stewart a member of the clan Stewart of Darnley. It was around this time that the second and interchangeable spelling of the name Stuart became common allegedly through the French influence of Mary’s upbringing.
The Stuarts held the throne of Scotland and after the Union of the Crowns in 1603 they held the throne of England too. This was held until the death of Queen Anne of Great Britain in 1714, the last monarch from the House of Stuart. Anne was succeeded by her cousin, King George I of England and Elector of Hanover of the House of Hanover. The present Royal Family still has Stuart blood links.
Queen Anne of Great Britain died in 1714, the last monarch from the House of Stuart. Anne was succeeded by her own cousin King George I of Great Britain of the House of Hanover.
The Jacobite Uprisings of the 18th century were led by Charles Edward Stuart who was the exiled claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, commonly known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. Charles was the son of James Francis Edward Stuart also known as the Old Pretender. James Francis Edward Stuart was in turn the son of King James II of England and Ireland, who had been deposed in 1688. After his father’s death Charles was recognised as “King Charles III” by his supporters but his opponents referred to him as “The Young Pretender”.
This resulted in the Jacobite Risings which first began in the late 17th century but did not gain momentum until the 18th century. The Clan Stewart fought at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. Their prowess in battle is celebrated by the fact that the present Duke of Atholl maintains the Atholl Highlanders as the only private army in the United Kingdom.
Although many Stewarts and Stuarts fought for the Jacobites, many also remained peaceful.
The next major Jacobite uprising during the 18th century was known as the ‘Forty Five’. See Main article: The ‘Forty-Five’. During this rising the Jacobites led by the Stuarts gained much success and support, winning many victories including the Battle of Prestonpans and the Battle of Falkirk (1746). However their success ended at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last major battle on mainland Britain, where the Jacobites were defeated and the British government remained with the House of Hanover.
Charles Stewart of Ardsheal led the men of Clan Stewart of Appin during the rising of 1745, and many fell at the grim field of Culloden, having first gained glory by breaking the Redcoat ranks. Colin Campbell of Glenure, ‘the Red Fox’, was placed as government factor on the forfeited Stewart estates. His murder in 1752 has been immortalised by Stevenson in the novel, Kidnapped. After the chief suspect, Alan Breck Stewart, made his escape, James Stewart, the half-brother of the chief, was tried by a jury composed entirely of Campbells at Inverary presided over by Argyll himself, and, perhaps not surprisingly, was convicted and hanged.
• Gaelic Name: Stiùbhard.
• Motto: Virescit vulnere virtus (Courage grows strong at a wound).
• Plant badge: Thistle.
• Lands: Renfrewshire, Teviotdale and Lauderdale.
• Origin of Name: From the High Steward of Scotland.
• Pipe Music: Bratach Bhan nan Stiubhartach (The white banner of the Stewarts).
Stewart: Boyd, Denniston, France, Francis, Lennox, Lisle, Lombard, Lyle, Mentieth, Moodie, Stuart, Young.
Stewart of Atholl: Conacher, Crookshank(s), Cruickshank(s), Duilach, Garrow, Gray, Larnach, MacGarrow, MacGlashan
Stewart of Appin: Carmichael, Clay, Combich, Combie, Conlay, Donlevy, Leay, Levac, Livingston(e), Lorne, MacColl, MacCombe, McCombich, MacDonLeavy, MacLeay, MacLew, MacMichael, MacNairn, MacNucator, MacRob, Mitchell, Mitchelson, Robb, Walker
Stuart of Bute: Ballantyne, Caw, Fullerton, Glass, Hunter, Jamieson/Jamison/Jameson/Jimerson, Lewis, Loy, MacCamie, MacCaw, MacCloy, MacKirdie/McCurdie/McCurdy/McKirdie/McKirdy, MacElheran, MacKerron, MacLewis, MacLoy, MacMunn, MacMurtrie, Malloy, Milloy, Munn, Neilson, Sharpe, Sharp
Stewart of Galloway: Carmichael, MacMichael
Years Attended: 2011
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