Clan Stewart
Crest badge
Clan member crest badge - Clan Stewart.svg
Crest: A pelican Argent, winged Or, in her nest feeding her young, Proper.
Motto: Virescit vulnere virtus
Region Highlands
District Galloway
Plant badge Thistle
Gaelic name Stiùbhard
Clan Stewart has no chief, and is an armigerous clan

A Victorian era, romanticised depiction of a member of the clan by R. R. McIan, from The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, published in 1845.

Clan Stewart Gaelic: Stiùbhard) is a Highland Scottish clan. The clan is recognised by Court of the Lord Lyon, however it does not have a clan chief recognised by the Lord Lyon. Because the clan has no chief it can be considered an armigerous clan; however the Earls of Galloway are now considered to be the principal branch of this Clan,[1] and the crest and motto of The Earls of Galloway's arms are used in the Clan Stewart crest badge. The Court of the Lord Lyon recognises two other 'Stewart' clans, Clan Stuart of Bute and Clan Stewart of Appin. Clan Stuart of Bute is the only 'Stewart' clan at present which has a recognised chief.

History[edit | edit source]

Origins of the clan[edit | edit source]

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 an ancient 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.

Clan Stewart tartan, as published in 1842 in the dubious Vestiarium Scoticum.

In 1141 Walter accompanied King David I to retire in Scotland on promises made to him by the Scottish monarch which were faithfully fulfilled. His brother William however remained in England and was rewarded by Empress Maud's son, King Henry II of England.

In Scotland Walter obtained from King David I of Scotland large grants of land and property in Renfrewshire as well as in many other places, together with the hereditary office of Senescallus Scotiae, Lord High Steward of Scotland. From this title Walter's grandson, also called Walter, took the name Stewart, which was forever afterwards retained by the family. This Walter was also rewarded lands by King Malcolm IV of Scotland. Walter is celebrated as the founder of Paisley Monastery in 1163 in the barony of Renfrew. Walter married Eschina de Londonia, Lady of Moll, in Roxburghshire. Walter died in 1177, he was succeeded by his son Alan Stewart.

Alan died in 1204 leaving a son called Walter who was appointed by King Alexander II of Scotland as justiciary of Scotland in addition to the hereditary office of high steward. This Walter died in 1246 leaving four sons and three daughters. The third son called Walter was Earl of Menteith. The eldest son, called Alexander married Jean, the daughter and heiress of James Lord of Bute. In her right their son James Stewart seized both the Isle of Bute and Isle of Arran.

Wars of Scottish Independence[edit | edit source]

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.

ye principal clovris of ye clanne Stewart tartan, as published in 1842 in the dubious Vestiarium Scoticum.

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.

Royal House[edit | edit source]

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.

Mary, Queen of Scots, with her only adult son, James VI

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.

Sauchieburn and Prince James Stewart[edit | edit source]

The Battle of Sauchieburn was fought on June 11, 1488, at the side of Sauchie Burn, a brook about two miles south of Stirling, Scotland. The battle was fought between as many as 30,000 troops of King James III Stewart and some 18,000 troops raised by Scottish nobles who favoured the King's then-15-year-old son, Prince James. Prince James ascended to the throne, and reigned as James IV for twenty-five years.

In 1489 John Stewart, 1st Earl of Lennox rebelled against King James IV of Scotland. James responded by bringing the cannon Mons Meg from Edinburgh, and bombarding Crookston Castle seat of the Earl of Lennox, virtually destroying its western end, and ensuring a quick surrender.

In 1497 some of the Clan MacLaren stole cattle from the Braes of Lochaber from the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch. The MacDonalds followed them and overtook them at a place called Glenurchy where a battle took place. The MacDonalds won and recovered their cattle. However the MacLarens then looked for assistance from Dugel Stuart of Appin. Another battle then took place where the MacLarens were now joined by the Stuarts against the MacDonalds. During the battle Dugel, the chief of the Clan Stewart of Appin and the Clan MacDonald of Keppoch chief were both killed.

16th century, Anglo-Scottish Wars[edit | edit source]

During the 16th century the Anglo-Scottish Wars took place under the reign of the Stewarts. England and Scotland had fought during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries including the Wars of Scottish Independence at the beginning of the 14th century. In most cases, one country had attempted to take advantage of weakness or instability in the other. For example, King James II of Scotland had attempted to regain Berwick during the Wars of the Roses in England. Battles with England from this time included: the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542, the Battle of Ancrum Moor in 1545 and the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547.

16th century, Scottish Civil Wars[edit | edit source]

Patrick Rattray, chief of Clan Rattray was intimidated into giving up the Barony by John Stewart, who was then the Earl of Atholl. Through the marriage of Patrick’s niece into the family, the Earl took control of the Barony of Rattray and also took control of her sister. Thus Patrick was driven from his estate in 1516. He began the construction of Craighall a grand building perched on a 200 feet rock above the River Ericht. The stronghold of Craighall could not protect him from John Stewart the Earl of Atholl though and he was murdered in 1533.

Sir John’s son Patrick defended Castle Rattray against the Stewarts of Atholl but was forced to burn the Castle and escape in the confusion. The Rattrays then withdrew to Kynballoch, where Patrick was later murdered by the 3rd Earl of Atholl’s men whilst claiming sanctuary in his own Chapel.

Also in the 16th century an internal Scottish Civil War took place between the Royal House of Stuarts and Mary, Queen of Scots. The Battle of Langside, fought on May 13, 1568, was one of the more unusual contests in Scottish history, bearing a superficial resemblance to a grand family quarrel, in which a mother fought her brother who was defending the rights of her infant son. In 1567 Mary Queen of Scots' short period of personal rule ended in recrimination, intrigue and disaster when she was forced to abdicate in favour of James VI, her infant son. Mary was sent into captivity in Loch Leven Castle, while her Protestant half-brother, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray was appointed Regent on behalf of his nephew. In early May 1568 Mary escaped, heading west to the country of the Clan Hamilton, high among her remaining supporters, with the determination to restore her rights as queen.

Sir John Rattray's third son Silvester succeeded his murdered brother, Stewart of Atholl continued to intimidate the family however and Silvester petitioned the king for legal recognition as heir. He was succeeded by his son, David Rattray of Craighall. George The laird’s eldest son was also murdered in 1592.

In 1600 Archibald MacAlister, chief of Clan MacAlister along with Angus Og MacDonald, a MacDonald chief carried out an attack on the inhabitants of the Isle of Bute against the Clan Stuart. A year later and Archibald MacAlister and Angus Og MacDonald were accused of being rebels, charged with treason against the royal house and hanged in Edinburgh Tollbooth.

Clan Stewart were bitter enemies with the infamous Red Douglas, of Clan Douglas.

17th century and the Civil War[edit | edit source]

The Wars of the Three Kingdoms of 1644–50 was part of wider conflict known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which included the Bishops Wars, the English Civil War and Irish Confederate Wars. The war was fought between Scottish Royalists — supporters of Charles Stuart I, under James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, and the Covenanters, who had controlled Scotland since 1639 and allied themselves with the English Parliament. The Scottish Royalists, aided by Irish troops, had a rapid series of victories in 1644–45, but were eventually defeated by the Covenanters.

However, the Scottish Covenanters themselves then found themselves at odds with the English Parliament and backed the claims of Charles Stuart II to the thrones of England and Scotland. This led to the Third English Civil War, when Scotland was invaded and occupied by the Parliamentarian New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell was later defeated in Scotland.

Sir James Stuart of Bute was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles I in 1627. Early in the civil war, he garrisoned the Castle of Rothesay, and at his own expense raised soldiers for the king. He was appointed royal lieutenant for the west of Scotland, and directed to take possession of Dumbarton Castle. Two frigates sent to assist him fell foul of stormy weather, and one was completely wrecked. Ultimately, Sir James was forced to flee to Ireland when the forces of Cromwell were victorious. His estates were sequestrated, and he was forced to pay a substantial fine to redeem them. His grandson, Sir James Stuart of Bute, was appointed to manage the estates and to be colonel of the local militia on the forfeiture of the Earl of Argyll in 1681.

Restoration of the Stewart Monarchy[edit | edit source]

After the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, the factions and divisions which had struggled for supremacy during the early years of the interregnum reemerged. Monck, who had served Cromwell and the English Parliament throughout the civil wars, judged that his best interests and those of his country lay in the Restoration of Charles II. In 1660, he marched his troops south from Scotland to ensure the monarchy's reinstatement. Scotland's Parliament and legislative autonomy were restored under the Restoration, though many issues that had led to the wars; religion, Scotland's form of government and the status of the Highlands, remained unresolved. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, many more Scots would die on both sides, over the same disputes in Jacobite rebellions.

18th century and Jacobite risings[edit | edit source]

In 1703 Sir James Stewart of Bute was created Earl of Bute, Viscount Kingarth and Lord Mount Stuart, Cumra and Inchmarnock. But by 1706, the earl was convinced a union with England would be a disaster for his country, and he opposed it vehemently. When he realised that Parliament would vote in favour of the alliance, he withdrew from politics entirely. He married the eldest daughter of Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, the celebrated Lord Advocate and heraldic writer. After the succession of George I, the Earl of Bute was appointed Commissioner for Trade and Police in Scotland, Lord Lieutenant of Bute and a lord of the bedchamber.

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.

Coat of arms of The Earl of Galloway,[2] considered to be the principal branch of Clan Stewart.[3]

undiffered arms of stewart
Stewart of Stewart
Arms of Stuart of Albany
Stuart of Albany
Arms of Stuart of Buchan
Stuart of Buchan
Arms of Stewart of Barclye
Stewart of Barclye
Arms of Stewart of Garlies
Stewart of Garlies
Arms of Stewart of Minto
Stewart of Minto
Arms of Stewart of Atholl
Stewart of Atholl
Arms of Stewart of Bute
Stewart of Bute
Arms of Stuart of Bute
Stuart of Bute
Arms of Stewart of Ardvorlich
Stewart of Ardvorlich
Arms of Stewart of Physgill
Stewart of Physgill
Arms of Stewart of Rothesay
Stewart of Rothesay

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 'Fifteen'[edit | edit source]

During the rising of 1715 Sir James Stuart of Bute commanded the Bute and Argyll militia at Inveraray, and through his vigilance kept that part of the country peaceful. His second son, having inherited his mother’s estates of Rosehaugh, took the surname Mackenzie. He became a Member of Parliament and later envoy to Sardinia, Keeper of the Privy Seal and Privy Councillor.

The first major Jacobite Uprising became known as 'The Fifteen'. See main article: The 'Fifteen'. This resulted in the Battle of Preston (1715), the Battle of Sheriffmuir and the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719.

The 'Forty-Five'[edit | edit source]

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.

Branches[edit | edit source]

  • The Clan Stewart of Atholl are directly descended from one of the most notorious Stewarts of the fourteenth century Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, more commonly known as 'The Wolf of Badenoch'. In 1822 an estimate was recorded that there were upwards of 4,000 Stewarts living in the province of Atholl, all descended from one individual, Alexander Stuart the Wolf of Badenoch.

Tartan[edit | edit source]

The Royal Stewart tartan is worn by the regimental pipers of the Scots Guards and was referred to by King George V of the United Kingdom as "my personal tartan". Known as the "Royal Tartan", it is still traditionally the official tartan of the Royal House of Scotland. Stewart setts or patterns also include 'Hunting Stewart','Stewart of Appin' and 'Stewart of Atholl' as well as 'Stewart of Ardshiel','Stewart of Galloway' and numerous 'dress setts' and an apparently ancient pattern which supposedly predates the 'Tartan revival' of the early 1820s.

Clan profile[edit | edit source]

Stewart Plant Badge: Thistle

Septs[edit | edit source]

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

Dundonald Castle

Doune Castle

Earl's palace

Lochranza castle

Castles[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Nelker, Gladys P., The Clan Steuart, 1970.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. ^
  2. ^ The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales; comprising a registry of armorial bearings from the earliest to the present time, by Burke, Bernard, Sir, 1814-1892
  3. ^
  4. ^ *Stewarts of Balquhidder webpage

External links[edit | edit source]

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