Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Origins of the Stewarts

STEWART, STUART, or Steuart, the surname of a family which inherited the Scottish and ultimately the English crown.

Their descent is traced to a Breton immigrant, Alan the son of Flaald, which Flaald was a brother of Alan, steward (or seneschal) of Dol in Brittany. This elder Alan, whose name occurs in Breton documents before 1080, went on crusade in 1097, and was apparently succeeded by his brother Flaald, whose son, the younger Alan, enjoyed the favour of Henry I, who bestowed on him Mileham and its barony in Norfolk, where he founded Sporle Priory.

By the daughter of Ernulf de Hesdin (in Picardy), a Domesday baron, he was father of at least three sons: Jordan, who succeeded to the family office of steward of Dol; William, who inherited Mileham and other estates in England, and who founded the great baronial house of Fitz Alan (afterwards earls of Arundel); and Walter, who was made by David I, steward (dapifer) or seneschal of Scotland. The Scottish king conferred on Walter various lands in Renfrewshire, including Paisley, where he founded the abbey in 1163.

Walter, his grandson, third steward, was appointed by Alexander II. justiciary of Scotland, and, dying in 1246, left four sons and three daughters. The third son, Walter, obtained by marriage the earldom of Menteith, which ultimately came by marriage to Robert, duke of Albany, son of Robert II.

Alexander, fourth steward, the eldest son of Walter, third steward, inherited by his marriage with Jean, granddaughter of Somerled, the islands of Bute and Arran, and on the 2nd of October 1263 led the Scots against Haakon IV, king of Norway, at Largs. He had two sons, James and John.

The latter, who commanded the men of Bute at the battle of Falkirk in 1298, had seven sons: (1) Sir Alexander, whose grandson George became in 1389 earl of Angus, the title afterwards passing in the female line to the Douglases, and in 1761 to the duke of Hamilton; (2) Sir Alan of Dreghorn, ancestor of the earls and dukes of Lennox, from whcm Lord Darnley, husband of Queen Mary, and also Lady Arabella Stuart, were descended; (3) Sir Walter, who obtained the barony of Garlies, Wigtownshire, from his uncle John Randolph, earl of Moray, and was the ancestor of the earls of Galloway, younger branches of the family being the Stewarts of Tonderghie, Wigtownshire, and also those of Physgill and Glenturk in the same county; (4) Sir James, who fell at Dupplin in 1332, ancestor of the lords of Lorn, on whose descendants were conferred at different periods the earldoms of Athole, Buchan and Traquair, and who were also the progenitors of the Stewarts of Appin, Argyllshire, and of Grandtully, Perthshire; (5) Sir John, killed at Halidon Hill in 1333; (6) Sir Hugh, who fought under Edward Bruce in Ireland; and (7) Sir Robert of Daldowie, ancestor of the Stewarts of Allanton and of Coltness.

James Stewart, the elder son of Alexander, fourth steward, succeeded his father in 1283, and, after distinguishing himself in the wars of Wallace and of Bruce, died in 1309.

His son Walter, sixth steward, who had joint command with Sir James Douglas of the left wing at the battle of Bannockburn, married Marjory, daughter of Robert the Bruce, and during the latter's absence in Ireland was entrusted with the government of the kingdom. He died in 1326, leaving an only son, who as Robert II. ascended the throne of Scotland in 1371.

SOURCE: "Stuart Stewart," Encyclopedia Britannica (1911) Vol. 25, p. 912. References for the article itself include: Sir George Mackenzie, Defence of the Royal Line of Scotland (1685), and Antiquity of the Royal Line of Scotland (1686); Crawfurd, Genealogical History of the Royal and Illustrious Family of the Stuarts (1710); Duncan Stewart, Genealogical Account of the Surname of Stewart (1739); Andrew Stuart, Genealogical History of the Stuarts (1798); Stodart, House of Stuart (privately printed, 1855); An Abstract of the Evidence to Prove that Sir William Stewart of Jedworth, the Paternal Ancestor of the Present Earl of Galloway, was the Second Son of Sir Alexander Stewart of Darnley (1801); Riddell, Stewartiana (1843); W. Townend, Descendants of the Stuarts (1858); R. W. Eyton, History of Shropshire (1858), vol. vii.; Bailey, The Succession to the English Crown (1879); Skelton, The Royal House of Stuart (1890); J. H. Round, Studies in Peerage and Family History (1901); and S. Cowan, The Royal House of Stuart (1908). The best chart pedigree of the house is that which was prepared for the Stuart Exhibition by W. A. Lindsay.

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